MAINE HOMES LOST A QUARTER OF THEIR VALUE FROM SPRING 2006 THROUGH FALL 2009.
BUT THE STATE KNOWN AS VACATIONLAND COULD RECOVER ALMOST AS QUICKLY.
First American CoreLogic predicts a U.S.-leading 8.7-percent increase in the state’s median sales price
for existing homes in the 12-month period ending this September. It has room to grow: Maine’s 2009
median existing-home sales price of $164,000 was less than that of the Northeast ($238,200) and the
This affordability and livability remain attractive to second-home buyers and telecommuters. Although
the state Department of Labor hasn’t collected reliable data about telecommuters’ prevalence, comparisons of payroll and tax records indicate close to 10 percent of Maine’s non-farm workers could be
working for out-of-state companies.
According to a Brookings Institution study, Maine’s fiscal success relies on attracting people to its
quaint communities, stunning scenery and diverse recreational opportunities. As of mid-February, the
Maine Legislature was considering an act to cultivate economic development by protecting and promoting the state’s intrinsic assets. The bill would give preference to economic-development projects that
promote historic downtowns, vibrant waterfronts and other “quality of place” investments.
Existing-home sales in Maine increased by 10. 4 percent from 2008 to ’09, according to the Maine Association of Realtors. This jump was more than double the national growth rate and accompanied an
8.9-percent drop in median sales price. All counties saw a price decline, and all but three experienced
sales increases. Nonetheless, Maine still outperformed the nation’s 12.4-percent price depreciation as
well as the Northeast’s 10.6-percent slide in that period.
Existing-Home-Sales Change: 2008-2009
Maine: • 10.4%
U.S.: • 4.9%
Northeast: • 2.2%
Less than 0.5 percent of in-state
housing units received a foreclosure notice this past year, according
to Realty Trac. Only eight states had
lower foreclosure percentages. One
in every 219 Maine housing units
received a foreclosure notice in ’09
compared to one filing per 45 housing units nationwide.
PERCENTAGE OF PROPER TIES WI TH FORECLOSURE NOTICES
Maine’s unemployment rate historically has trailed U.S. levels. That
didn’t change during the recent
downward cycle. But with 12,000
more unemployed workers this
past December compared to December ’08 and the Maine Center
for Economic Policy reporting 7,000
to 10,000 jobs at risk from possible
state budget cuts, payroll figures
likely won’t boost borrower confidence any time soon.
Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Darrick Meneken is an associate editor at Scotsman Guide. Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or email@example.com.
3 Regions to Watch
PORTLAND METRO AREA
It’s Maine’s most-populous region, and it’s relatively stable. With 39. 5 percent of state residents, the area experienced a 4-percent drop in
its median sales price for existing homes from
fourth quarter ’08 to ’09, according to the National Association of Realtors. Its foreclosure filings also decreased 2 percent in ’09 compared
to ’08, according to Realty Trac. Of 203 U.S. metros ranked by foreclosure rate in ’09, the Portland area placed among the lowest 30.
WASHINGTON COUNT Y
The easternmost county in the contiguous U.S.,
Washington had the state’s second-lowest
countywide foreclosure rate in ’09, according to
Realty Trac. Only 18 properties received foreclosure filings this past year, or one filing per 1,269
YORK COUNT Y
A consortium of towns here received a
$500,000 federal stimulus grant in mid-February to establish a revolving fund for energy-efficiency loans. Homeowners could borrow as
much as $10,000 at 3-percent interest, according to Seacoastonline.com. The first loans could
be approved by August.
WHAT THE LOCALS SAY
“There are so many self-employed individuals
throughout Maine, and those people are the
ones being completely taken out of the market.
They have a great downpayment, a history of
always paying their bills and great credit, but
they can’t get involved in this market because of
all the rules [for self-employed borrowers].”
— LIZ MONAGHAN, OWNER
MONAGHAN MORTGAGE & FINANCE
Sources: The Brookings Institution, DownEast.com, First American
CoreLogic, Maine Association of Realtors, Mainebiz.com, Maine
Center for Economic Policy, Maine Public Broadcasting Net work ,
Mortgage Banking, National Association of Realtors, Realty Trac,
Seacoastonline.com, U. S. Census Bureau, U. S. Department of Labor,