Newsletter :: October 2016
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Strength Through Simplicity 

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”                                             
                                                                      :: Hans Hoffman - German Expressionist Painter

Sometimes we feel pressure to demonstrate our "sophistication" to clients, co-workers, and ourselves in the strangest ways. You might be familiar with a few: Long meetings in which we talk too much, complicated marketing plans with charts and overblown jargon, and a preponderance for gadgets which we spend more time configuring than actually using.

Over-complication is frequently a symptom of insecurity or anxiety about value. While we may feel confident in our approach, we feel the need to dress-up our competency to reinforce our worth. Ironically, the value of a professional often lies in making a complex experience or process appear to be quite simple.

Simplicity also drives productivity. Part of productivity is about streamlining your systems. "Nothing but the essential" is a good guideline to follow, as is the adage, "Great design is about taking away, not adding." While there's no harm in learning about new systems and new ways of approaching old problems, there's nothing more important than recognizing when something is truly useful versus when it "appears" to be useful.

It is quite possible to impress with simplicity. Look for ways to allow "the necessary to speak."

With that ....... enjoy this month's newsletter.
Faster Horses
Welcome to the October Newsletter 

Join Laura as she introduces are most current newsletter and provides a brief recap of today's real estate market. 
Play Video

According to Diode Digital, video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined and 60% of website visitors will first watch a video before reading any text. Forrester Research determined that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words of content.
September Real Estate Sales Update
Sales Improve Following Two Month Slowdown

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. 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. 
Featured Listings
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We Live in a Place Unlike Anywhere Else
Creating A New Video Series Connecting Agents & Clients

At Maine Home Connection we are pioneering the use of video in real estate.  Our newest project is aimed at creating visual connections between our brokerage, our agents, the communities where we live and work and the homes we sell for our valued clients. 

Each film will feature our professionals and the neighborhoods they serve in the greater Portland area. Below is a small sampling of our direction. 
$150 Million Graduate Center in Portland
UMaine To Expand Educational Commitment
The University of Maine System has unveiled an ambitious $150 million business plan to create a new graduate center for business, law and public policy in Portland. The plan includes a $93.6 million new building to house Maine Law School and the Muskie School of Public Service and a collect a $45 million endowment. 

USMTo make this plan become a reality, two major things must happen.  In Phase 1 the plan will outline a 2 to 3 year timeline to reach fund-raising milestones while at the same time requiring the UMaine and USM MBA programs to be fully integrated by 2017. 

Phase 2 envisions consulting with foundation partners, Maine's professional community, the universities and the UMaine board to make sure the financial support and essential programs are in place to proceed with building the new Maine Center facility in Portland. If all goes according to the business plan's timetable, the Maine Center building would open in 2021. It is expected to achieve a 600-student enrollment in its graduate programs by 2024.
Sales of Distresses Properties Declines
Lowest Level Since 2008

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report revealing that distressed property sales accounted for 4% of sales in September. This is down from 7% in 2015, and is the lowest figure since NAR began tracking distressed sales in October 2008.

Below is a graph that shows just how far the market has come since January 2012 when distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales.
In September, 3% of sales were foreclosures and 1% were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15% below market value in September versus 12% in August, while short sales were discounted 11% (14% in August).
Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize
The Making of Blonde on Blonde in Nashville

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature last week.  Who knew!  In this 2007 piece from Oxford American, writer Sean Wilentz gives a detailed account of the evolution of Dylan’s 1966 album “Blonde on Blonde,” the songs of which “are rich meditations on desire, frailty, promises, boredom, hurt, envy, connections, missed connections, paranoia, and transcendent beauty.” 

A memory from the summer of 1966: Across the Top 40 airwaves, an insistent drum beat led off a strange, new hit song. Some listeners thought the song too explicit, its subject of wild lunacy too coarse, even cruel; several radio-station directors banned it. Despite the controversy over the lyrics about madness and persecution, or more likely because of it, the record shot to No. 3 on the Billboard pop-singles chart.

For more ......... Read Article
Halloween Movie Update
Scary vs Creepy? 

The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them. - Alfred Hitchcock

Is there a difference between scary and creep?  Just wondering .... as this year's effort includes both. It's been a while since we updated our Halloween movie list, so here is this year's version - with a little twist.

Since 2006 there have been enough horror remakes and sequels to last a century. But after careful research, we have actually identified some terrifying new entries into the genre.  As we await the likes of Lights Out and The Woods (both rumored to be nightmare-inducing), later this year, the top-ten list below looks back at movies made during the last decade only.

So, without further ado, here we go:
  • [Rec] - 2007
  • You're Next - 2011
  • The Last Exorcism - 2010
  • Conjuring - 2013
  • Insidious - 2000
  • Let the Right One In - 2008
  • The Witch - 2015
  • The Babadook - 2014
  • Paranormal Activity - 2007
  • It Follows - 2014
While not part of this list, we suggest you check out The Ring.  You will never watch television the same way again!
Premium Real Estate Service
Thinking of Selling?
Imagine More

Consider if Apple or Nike sold homes - what would that look like?  Our goal at Maine Home Connection is to deliver a level of premium marketing services that set a new standard in our local market.

Engaging HD videos, outstanding HDR photography, uncompromising online exposure, community networking, business relationships - all combine to deliver a customized and integrated marketing effort.

If you are thinking about taking advantage of current conditions and putting your home on the market, let's discuss how we can help you.  Or visit ......... My Home's Value
At Maine Home Connection
We Believe ........

............. that clients deserve more - more expertise, more care and more focus. We believe that real estate should be about you.  We believe in giving back.  We believe marketing should be memorable and meaningful.  We believe in premium coffee and premium real estate service.  We believe we can change real estate in Maine for the better - and every agent in our company is committed to these ideals.

Laura & Michael Sosnowski
Brokers | Owner
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Maine Home Connection
19 Commercial St | Portland ME 04101 | 207.517.3100

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