Latest Posts

10 Feb 2017

2016 Sales | Year in Review

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

Maine home sales set a new record in 2016 as 17,632 single family homes were sold, representing an increase of 11.1% over 2015. Sales in both Cumberland and York counties established new records as well, up 2.5% and 11.2% respectively. All of Maine’s 16 counties experienced increases in 2016 vs 2015. Across the state, total sales volume has improved each year from 2011 to 2016.

This sustained level of growth, however, was tempered in some communities in the greater Portland area. While Portland sales exceed 600 units sold for the first time in history, other towns fell back from 2015, as the attached graph illustrates. This was a direct reflection of low inventory levels and record setting sales performances in the prior year.

Focusing on Cumberland County, where growth was the lowest in the state, monthly sales exceeded those of 2015 in only six months. Comparatively, in 2015 monthly sales exceeded those of the prior year in ten months.

In York County, where sales growth was much stronger in 2016, sales were higher in 22 of the last 24 months, compared to the previous years.

Download a Complete Report at: Maine Home Sales Report – 2016

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

26 Jan 2017

Maine Year-End Unemployment Rate

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

The Maine Department of Labor released year-end unemployment estimates for December showing the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.8%, down slightly from 4.0% in November and 4.1% from a year ago.  By comparison, The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.7% was little changed from 4.6% in November and down from 5.0% one year ago.

The New England unemployment rate averaged 3.5%. Rates for other states were 2.6% in New Hampshire, 3.1 % in Vermont, 2.8% in Massachusetts, 5.0% in Rhode Island and 4.4% in Connecticut.

Non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates ranged from 2.6% in Cumberland County to 5.5% in Somerset County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.

The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland (2.6%), Lewiston-Auburn (3.0%) and Bangor (3.3%).

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

23 Nov 2016

October Maine Home Sales

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

Across the US, home sales increased in October for the second straight month and eclipsed June’s cyclical sales peak to become the highest annualized pace in nearly a decade, according to the monthly report prepared by NAR.  All major regions of the country experienced monthly and annual sales increases in October.

Total existing home sales grew 2.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in October from an upwardly revised 5.49 million in September. October’s sales pace is 5.9% above a year ago (5.29 million) and surpasses June’s pace (5.57 million) as the highest since February 2007.

October existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 1.4% to an annual rate of 750,000, and are now 1.4% above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $255,500, which is 2.9% above October 2015.

Maine Sales Results

Maine home sales in October were 4.4% ahead of 2015 while year-to-date results are up 10.6%, exceeding both regional and national results –and are poised to establish a new annual record.  The median selling price of $192,500 in October represented the fifth time in 2016 that the $190,000 threshold was exceeded and the YTD price of $189,900 is 4.9% ahead of last year.

In Cumberland County, the sales results continued to be mixed.  Many communities in the greater Portland area continue to experience YTD sales decreases compared to 2015, and as a result overall single-family homes sales are only up .9% in 2016 vs 2015.  The chart below highlights many nearby communities through October.  As a point of contrast, sales in York county have been above 2015 results for the last four months and 9 out of 10 so far this year.

The median selling price, however, while declining the last two months, is still 6.3% ahead of last year – well above the national average.  In all but two communities that we track regularly, 2016 prices are above 2015.

Homes priced above $500,000 were up 27.9% in October compared to the same month of 2015 and are up 12.2% year-over-year.  Interestingly, pricing in this segment is down 1.3%.

MaineHomeConnection.com is updated each month with the latest sales statistics.  You can access this information by town at Local Communities, or try our Interactive Sales Chart. If you don’t see what you are looking for, we can prepare a custom report for you.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

21 Nov 2016

Move Your Home, Change Your Life!

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

Feeling like you need a sanctuary from the stress and hustle-bustle of modern life? You might consider moving to a 7 house. Maybe you want stability and security as you get older – then a 4 house is just the ticket. Looking to manage financial matters and maybe even start a home business? Find an 8 house and snap it up! You can change the energy surrounding your life by changing your address, thanks to a basic understanding of numerology.

Numerology is a metaphysical science that considers the vibration of numbers to be not just perceivable but actually usable in practical ways. The digits 1 through 9 are part of a symbolic language – once you learn the basics of that language, you can make choices that perhaps shore up a personal weakness, help you get unstuck from an unrewarding position, or support a future vision for your life. The number that is so prominently posted on your home creates an energy that permeates all activity within that home, and being aware of the advantages and challenges of your home’s number can have practical applications that will enrich your life!

How do you determine your home’s number? It comes from the address. Single digit addresses are easy – 2 Main Street is a 2 house. Many house numbers are longer than that, so you must simply add all the digits of your address, and every time you get a sum, again add the digits until you are left with a single number. For example, 2850 Green Street is a 6 house. Here’s how it works: Add 2 + 8 +5 +0 = 15. Add 1 + 5 = 6. Voila! Here’s an even longer one: 18497 Broadway is a 2 house. Add 1 + 8 + 4 + 9 + 7 = 29. Add 2 + 9 = 11. Add 1 + 1 = 2.

Energy in Your Home:

So what does each digit mean for the energy of a house? A 1 house is about independence and leadership. Choose a 1 house if you want to foster new beginnings, self-reliance and determination. Are you ready to be number 1? Be aware, however, you might feel isolated or alone in a 1 house – it’s an excellent choice if you value independence, not so good if you crave company. For the more socially inclined, you might consider a 2 house – like the number itself, 2 is about partnership, harmony, and cooperation. Peace, warmth and sharing permeate the 2 house. It’s a great choice for a couple, but if there’s conflict or discord, the residents will end up critical of one another. Balance is key in a 2 house. In a 3 house, brace yourself for fun and creativity. Happiness, friendships, and positive energy are the hallmarks of 3 energy. Enthusiasm abounds – sometimes too much, so watch out your energies don’t get scattered. The creative chaos of a 3 house can lead to lots of enjoyment in life.

The 4 house builds a solid foundation where steadiness and practicality are key. Common sense, hard (but rewarding) work, and order make the 4 house down-to-earth and wholesome, a great place to put down roots. There may be work required to maintain the 4 house, so be flexible and loosen up to really enjoy the stability of the 4 energy. The 5 house is all about change – if you’re feeling stuck, this is the house for you. A 5 house may be a hub of activity where life is far from dull, and those who value variety and risk taking will feel right at home here. Beware of making snap decisions, and know that there might be a high turnover rate in a 5 house, due to the prevailing energy of change. A 6 house is great for raising a family, tending to pets or a garden, and for feelings of nesting. Love is the prevailing energy in a 6 house, with lots of giving and nurturing going on. The 6 energy is warm and caring, fostering close relationships. Be aware you could end up giving too much and feeling too much responsibility, even duty, in this energy, but the lessons you would learn would be well worth it.

A 7 house is a heaven house – a retreat, perfect to rest, contemplate, and heighten intuition. Solitude and divine inspiration are part of the 7 energy, so consider this number if you want to go inward and explore. This is not a great energy for material advancement, but in this sanctuary of a home, spiritual studies will be highly enhanced. If you desire more material wealth, find an 8 house and watch your power in the world grow. Success, achievement and abundance mark the 8 energy, but be aware that money can go out of an 8 house as quickly as it comes in. With wise management of finances, the 8 house is perfect for working at home or getting recognition and respect from the community. The 9 house brings wisdom and intense humanism to its residents, inspiring philanthropy and passionate feelings of selflessness. This a great house for broad-minded people who want to focus on the larger picture. People and money will be drawn to the compassion of the 9 house residents, but watch that feelings don’t get too intense. The 9 energy marks the end of a cycle, and can be the launching point for evolving to the next level of understanding.

To Recap:

  • 1 is the energy of independence
  • 2 is the energy of partnership
  • 3 is the energy of creativity
  • 4 is the energy of stability
  • 5 is the energy of change
  • 6 is the energy of love
  • 7 is the energy of the divine
  • 8 is the energy of abundance
  • 9 is the energy of evolution

Moving to a new home often creates new challenges, but having an awareness of the dominant energy that house carries can inspire you to overcome those challenges and find undiscovered strengths, practical life lessons, and real-world strategies to enhance your life. The energy of numbers is all around us – let numerology help you find the perfect home or harmonize with the home you’re in. It’s all in the numbers!

About the Author

The article was provided to us by MK Wolfe, whose lyrics were featured in the musical Mesmerized, performed by Snownlion Repertory Company in Portland in 2012.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

27 Oct 2016

September Home Sales Improve

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

Nationally, existing-home sales rebounded strongly in September and were propelled by sales from first-time buyers, who represented 34% of the entire market – which is a level that has not been seen in more than four years..  All major regions of the country experienced increased sales last month.  These results reverse two consecutive months of lagging sales.

The median existing-home price for all housing properties in September was $234,200, up 5.6% from September 2015 ($221,700). September’s price increase marks the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year gains!

Total inventory at the end of September rose 1.5% to 2.04 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.8% lower than a year ago (2.19 million) and has now fallen year-over-year for 16 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.6 months in August.

The Maine Experience

September home sales in the Northeast jumped 5.7% to an annual rate of 740,000 units, which is unchanged from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $261,600, which is 2.1% above September 2015.

We are now three quarters into 2016, which at times is hard to believe.  Maine single-family home sales are up an impressive 11.4% while closer to home Cumberland County sales are up only 1.2% YTD. .

The graph below highlights many towns in the greater Portland area, comparing YTD 2016 vs 2015.  As you can see, several communities are reporting lower sales this year compared to the prior year.  It is important to keep in mind, however, that 2015 was a record for home sales in Maine, and nearly every community in the southern part of the state recorded annual double-digit growth.


While overall Maine sales rebounded in September and were 5.1% ahead of the September 2015, and 8 of 9 months so far this year, Cumberland County has not been as strong recently.  September represented the fourth consecutive month of 2016 sales being below those of comparable months of 2015. Homes priced above $500,000 were down 24.2% in September.

Overall Maine sales rebounded in September and were 5.1% ahead of September 2015.  This has been the case in 8 of 9 months so far this year.  Cumberland County, however, has not been as strong recently.  September represented the fourth consecutive month of 2016 with sales being below those of comparable months of 2015. Homes priced above $500,000 were down 24.2% in September.

While YTD median selling prices for both the state and Cumberland County remain ahead of last year by healthy margins, both experienced a lower result in September compared to the month before.  The statewide price of $189,000 was the lowest since April and the county result of $267,000 was the lowest since May.  As we close out the year, these are important trends that we are tracking.

MaineHomeConnection.com is updated each month with the latest sales statistics.  You can access this information by town at Local Communities, or try our Interactive Sales Chart. If you don’t see what you are looking for, we can prepare a custom report for you.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

4 Oct 2016

Maine Home Sales | August 2016

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

For the second consecutive month US home sales slowed in August, despite record low mortgage rates. According to the most recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in August from a downwardly revised 5.38 million in July.  After last month’s decline, sales are at their second-lowest pace of 2016, but are still slightly higher (0.8%) than a year ago.

The number of unsold homes on the market fell 3.3% to 2.04 million in August from July. Inventories were down 10.1% compared to a year ago. At August’s sales pace, it would take 4.6 months to clear the stock of houses on the market. A six-month supply is viewed as a healthy balance between supply and demand. One year ago it was 5.1 months.

With inventory tight, the median house price rose 5.1% from a year ago to $240,200 last month.

Our Backyard

August existing-home sales in the Northeast US increased 6.1% to an annual rate of 700,000, which is unchanged from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $274,100, which is 0.8% above August 2015.

The results in Maine, however, are a bit different.  While YTD sales are up 12.3%, outpacing many other Northeastern states, the rate of increase has slowed somewhat in the last several months.  August results were still a healthy 9.7% of prior year, especially considering that July 2016 results were actually 2.7% behind July 2015.  Maine pricing is also up significantly.  The YTD median price stands at $189,498 and is 5.3% ahead of 2015.  The median August price of $197,000 is the second highest level ever recorded.

Unit sales in Cumberland County are lower than statewide results as YTD results are only 4.0% ahead of last year’s record setting year.  The median price of $247,000 is 7.3% ahead of 2015.  August’s price of $279,900 is the second highest ever recorded and represents the 14th consecutive month where current pricing exceeds that of the year before.  That is significant and is a reflection of overall lower inventory levels.

It is worth noting that some communities experienced record-setting price levels in August.  Portland’s median price of $299,200 was the first time in history the $300,000 barrier was almost achieved.  Falmouth and Yarmouth both exceeded $500,000 (setting records) and many other towns exceeded $400,000.

In Cumberland County, the number of homes sold above $500,000 has increased a dramatic 15.5% in 2016.

Inventory & Pending Properties

Nationally, inventory levels are down about 10% from 2015.  In Maine, over the last several months, this measurement has been approximately 12% to 14%.  In Cumberland County the inventory shortage has been more acute; in some months exceeding 15% lower than the previous year.  At the end of August, it was 14.5%.  Some communities in and around Portland, however, are less than 10% lower.

The percentage of pending properties increased slightly statewide and remained flat in Cumberland County for the month of August compared to July of this year – and well ahead of prior year.

The graph below includes YTD sales results for many communities in greater Portland and southern Maine.

MaineHomeConnection.com is updated each month with the latest sales statistics.  You can access this information by town at Local Communities, or try our Interactive Sales Chart. If you don’t see what you are looking for, we can prepare a custom report for you.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

26 Sep 2016

September Newsletter Available Now

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

Each month we update our website with the latest Maine and greater Portland home sales statistics.  Our newsletter also includes this information along with other local and national stories of interest.

Down the latest copy of our newsletter at: September Newsletter.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

Categories: Newsletter, Video

15 Sep 2016

Imagine More at Maine Home Connection

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

Imagine More!

At Maine Home Connection the “same old – same old” is not part of our vocabulary.  When preparing marketing for our client’s properties we always strive to go beyond the standard real estate vernacular.

For each property we create a Storyboard that encompasses what it like to not only live in the home, but to be part of the community. Potential homebuyers want to fall in love with a property for more than its design, acreage, room count and address.

Buyers want to know what makes a property special and it is our responsibility to provide them with an intimacy that extends beyond the conventions of standard real estate marketing.  Great photography, cinematic video, community profiles, engaging story-telling and targeted social media all help to create a feeling of what it will be like to actually live in their new home and neighborhood.

Supporting this activity are blog articles & videos that range from seller interviews and light-hearted seasonal features to authoritative market analysis. This type of content is all designed to create SEO optimization and ultimately allow potential buyers to find your property online.

Maine Home Connection is a boutique real estate company that thinks and acts like a marketing organization, delivering results that can be measured and quantified. We are constantly asking ourselves and our clients to:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

31 Aug 2016

Maine Home Sales Slow in July

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

U.S. home resales fell more than expected in July after four straight months of strong gains as a lack of inventory limited choice for buyers, but further gains in prices suggested the housing market remained on solid ground.

According to The National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales declined 3.2% to an annual rate of 5.39 million units last month. June’s sales pace was unrevised at 5.57 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales slipping 0.4% to a 5.51 million-unit pace in July. Home resales were down 1.6% from a year ago.

Against the backdrop of a tightening labor market that is steadily pushing up wages and mortgage rates near historically low levels, most experts agree that July’s drop in sales is likely to be temporary.

With inventory still tight, the median house price nationally rose 5.3% from a year ago to $244,100 last month. Interestingly, rising prices were causing problems with appraisals, leading to delays in closing contracts.

Our Backyard

Single family home sales through July are up 12.8% statewide and 6.7% in Cumberland County.  The month of July represented the first time in 2016 that sales for a specific month did not exceed that of the prior year.  Unit sales were lower by 2.9%.  As a point of comparison, sales across the Northeast declined 5.7% in July.

While sales in Cumberland County are up year-over-year, July represented the second consecutive months that 2016 sales were below 2015, fueling some speculation of a small slowdown in the market.  While some parts of Maine have demonstrated a higher percentage of growth this year, Cumberland County nonetheless accounts for the largest segment of the market, representing 25.7%.  York and Cumberland Counties collectively represent nearly 44% of all sales in Maine.

YTD median prices for both Maine and Cumberland County are still ahead of 2015 results, yet both experienced a slight decline from June.  While $198,000 for Maine and $279,400 for Cumberland County, both represented the second highest level ever recorded, both experienced a decline of less than ½ of a percent.

The graph below includes sales for many local communities. Given the overall strength of the market this year, it may be a bit surprising that quite a few towns are experiencing lower sales in 2016 vs 2015.  Of course, 2016 results are being compared to record levels of sales reported in 2015, which can make this comparison somewhat difficult.

Inventory & Pending Properties

Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of July rose ever so slightly – 0.9% to 2.13 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 5.8% lower than a year ago (2.26 million) and has now declined year-over-year for 14 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace, which is up from 4.5 months in June.

In Maine, inventory increased 1.2% from June, while 18.0% below July 2015.  While 19.1% below last year, inventory in Cumberland County increased a surprising 5.5% in July 2016 versus June 2016.  In fact, the July inventory level is at its highest for all of 2016.

The percentage of pending properties, compared to inventory levels, declined in July, representing the lowest level since February 2016.  This reflects an overall slowdown in properties under contract and will impact sales in the months to come, especially if this trend continues.

MaineHomeConnection.com is updated each month with the latest sales statistics.  You can access this information by town at Local Communities, or try our Interactive Sales Chart. If you don’t see what you are looking for, we can prepare a custom report for you.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print

Categories: Sales Statistics

24 Aug 2016

2005 vs 2016 Bubble Watch

Posted by Michael Sosnowski. No Comments

The national housing market has improved dramatically since the depths of the recession.  Home prices in particular have grown significantly in recent years, nearing a full nominal recovery nationwide.  This is especially true in Maine as the median sold prices for single family homes have been at record levels during the last several months. With this significant amount of price appreciation, there has been considerable discussion about whether certain hot markets have entered into bubble territory again.  A recent study of the 50 largest markets looked into six housing trends that were fundamental to the bubble years – and compared them to today’s real estate market.   This brief article concentrates on four of “red flags”:

  1. Price to Rent Ratio
  2. Price to Income Ratio
  3. Mortgage Transactions
  4. House Flipping

All four categories were outside historical norms in 2005. Home prices were way above normal ratios when compared to both rents and incomes at the time. They explained that mortgage transactions as a percentage of all home sales were also at a higher percentage:

“Loose credit was one of the main culprits of the housing crisis. Mortgage lending expanded dramatically as unhealthy housing speculation reached its peak and was met by the highest level of credit availability as measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The index measures the overall mortgage credit condition by the share of home sales financed by mortgages. This metric does not capture credit quality, but it does set a view of the importance of financing in supporting the housing market.”

House flipping was rampant in 2005. As research points out (Keeping Matter Current):

“Heightened flipping activity is a clear indication of speculation in the real estate market. A property is considered as a speculative flip if the property is sold twice within 12 months and with positive profit. Flipping is a normal part of a healthy housing market. In an inflated housing market, expectations about short-term profit from pure price appreciation are very high; therefore, the level of flipping activity would show evidence of being heightened.”

Today Compared to 2005

Here are the categories with percentages reflecting the unrealistic ratios & numbers of 2005 as compared to the current market.  Remember, a negative percentage reflects a positive gain for the market:

Bottom Line

The analysis shows that economic growth and household formation, paired with limited inventory are causing homes in many areas to cost more, relative to rents and incomes, than in more balanced times. However, there is no evidence of the systemic risk of the mid-2000s housing bubble. In fact, what is happening now is the opposite of what occurred during the housing boom of 2004-2006 – credit remains tight; flipping is not rampant; and new construction is severely constrained. It was these factors that led to the price collapse.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Print