We are now 5 years into the housing downturn and it has been more than 3 years since the dramatic meltdown in late 2008 – early 2009. During this time there have been substantial declines in sales volume and median pricing across the country and in Maine. There are some differences worth noting, however, as recent Maine pricing results performed better than the many other parts of the country.
Nationally, home prices are monitored by the S&P Case-Shiller Index, which was developed in the 1908’s. The index is actually a composite of several, which measure changes in the prices of single family homes in major metropolitan areas.
At the end of January 2012 the most current report S&P Case-Shiller report was made available. According to November’s report home prices fell sharply in November as 19 of 20 cities included in the index recorded price declines.
Prices are down 3.7% from a year ago and are down 32.8% since they peaked in the summer of 2006. In a published statement, David Blitzer, a spokesman for S&P stated “Despite continued low interest rates and better real GDP growth in the fourth quarter, home price continue to fall.”
Phoenix, one of the hardest hit metro areas in the country, was the only place to record a gain in November. Prices there rose 0.6% month-over-month but are down 3.6% from a year ago. Home prices in Chicago posted the steepest decline of any city on the index, falling 3.4% month-over-month. Atlanta prices were down 2.5% and Detroit prices fell 2.4%.
Closer to home, Boston is the city closest to us included in the 20 that make up the index and in the most recent report prices dropped 1.6%. This represented the third consecutive month of declining values and brings the region’s home prices to the level they were in April 2003.
Maine Real Estate Sales
Our year end reports compare all of 2011 with 2010. In the month of November the median price of a home in Maine was $167,950 compared to $168,500. For Cumberland County the median price also increased marginally from $219,000 in October to $220,000 in November.
Through January, Maine has recorded six consecutive months of median price increases.