Newsletter :: September 2016
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From Modesty to Mastery 

“A man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it's dark”                                             
                                                                                                                  :: Zen Proverb 

Too often in this life we make assumptions about our talents and interests. Sometimes this is out of fear and sometimes this is out of habit. We may have had a childhood experience which convinced us we were introverts, or "not much of a writer," or that we lacked an aptitude for sports. Parents and peers can have a lasting impact about the narrative we tell ourselves, too, and these stories often shut down areas of tremendous potential. 

But why do we artificially narrow our lives?  Too often we say "no" when we should say, "I don't know." It's true …… there are some dreams which may be a bit beyond us. You might not find yourself an Olympic ice skater any time soon or knocking one out of Fenway Park, but that doesn't mean you can't revisit your interest in ice skating, or a local softball league. 

What's more, you may have a genuine knack for something you've never tried. Perhaps you have a musical ear, but you've never had an opportunity to take a few lessons. The point isn't that you'll become the best in the world -  it's that something new might bring a richness to your life previously overlooked. We could all use a little renewal now and again. 

You'll never know until you get past "no." Something begun in modesty might lead you to the deep satisfaction of mastery. 

With that ....... enjoy this month's newsletter.
Busy Times in Portland
Welcome to the September Newsletter

On Thursday of this week Portland, Rockland, Bar Harbor and Eastport are all welcoming cruise ships of all sizes, making it the largest one day visit to the state ever – a total of  7,622 tourists – many right outside of our office!
August Real Estate Sales Update
Slowdown in Sales Growth - As Predicted

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. 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
9 Pumpkin Lane
9 Pumpkin Lane
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15 Thomas St
51 Thomas St
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22 Union Avenue
22 Union Ave
Old Orchard Beach
View Details
58 Fore St Project Moving Forward
Developer Presents Master Plan
This week, CPB2 LLC, the company developing 58 Fore St, unveiled its ambitious plan for a $250 million redevelopment that will transform Portland's eastern waterfront.

58 Fore St

The master plan for the more than 1 million square foot development includes 638 residential units for sale and for rent, 132 hotel rooms, 59,873 square feet of retail space and 123,917 square feet of office space.  Also included is a 13-acre marina which would consist of 220 boat slips, 80 of which would be designated for visiting vessels.

The project has been in development for more than two years.  Initially it ran into stiff opposition as neighbors on Munjoy Hill were concerned about losing their ocean views. After the City Council rezoned the land to allow taller buildings and more uses, residents in the area forced a citywide vote to protect the view along upper Fore Street. That ballot measure failed by a large margin and allowed the project to continue.

The next step in the Master Development Plan process includes a neighborhood meeting slated for October 4th followed by Planning Board and Historic Preservation Board workshops later in the month.

The plan also includes more than 223,000 square feet of public open space on the ground level, including plazas between buildings, waterfront access through a 50-foot-wide easement and view corridors at Kellogg, Waterville, St. Lawrence and Atlantic streets. There are an additional 72,000 square feet of vegetative rooftop terraces for private use. 
2016 Bubble Watch Redux
Providing a Longer Historical Perspective

As a follow up to our report from last month regarding the question - are we approaching a real estate bubble - the graph below looks at national sales data going back to 1990..

Why the concern?

Some experts and pundits are focusing their gloomy predictions by making comparisons between last three years and the three years just prior to the housing bubble. 

However, if we go further back in history, we can see the real picture. After taking out the “boom & bust” years, the pace of sales is growing at a relatively natural pace.

Additionally, new construction continues to be below historic levels (63% of the fifty-year average) and speculation, fueled by loose credit, in not a major factor in the market.

Market Prices:

What if the bubble & bust didn’t occur?  Let’s assume that instead of the rise and fall in home prices that we experienced last decade, we just had normal historic appreciation from 2000 to today. According to a recent analysis by Home Price Expectation Survey, normal annual appreciation for residential single family homes from 1987 to 1999 was 3.6%.

Starting with the median home price in 2000, adding this 3.6% to each year since then results in the graph above – reflecting that without the bubble, normal price appreciation would have exceed the actual price levels of today.
We're the Only Plane in the Sky
Aboard Air Force One on 9-11

There is certainly no lack of quality journalism surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001, especially as the nation just honored the 15th anniversary of that tragic day this month. 

This piece from Politico, however, stands out for its simplicity. The report follows the day's events through the unique perspectives of those in the company of President George W. Bush, who, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, spent nearly eight hours in empty American airspace aboard Air Force One.

Nearly every American above a certain age remembers precisely where they were on September 11, 2001. But for a tiny handful of people, those memories touch American presidential history. 

Regardless of your political persuasion, this article includes some very interesting and unknown insight that can be appreciated:  Read Article
Seriously Local Real Estate
When Your Homesearch Moves Beyond a List of Homes for Sale

Understanding what makes communities and neighborhoods different - and unique - is critical to any home buying decision - and your lifestyle.  As an independent brokerage, it is not our goal at Maine Home Connection to be the biggest or have the most agents. Rather, we focus on being the most professional, the best prepared, the most technologically skilled and most importantly – the most knowledgeable in our local market.
The History of the Harley
Black Leather Required! 

Harley-Davidson is the most iconic motorcycle brand in the US, and they’ve been at it for over 100 years. 

Within 20 years of William Harley creating his first blueprint of an engine for a bicycle, Harley-Davidson was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. That must have been an intense 20 years for Harley, who was only 21 when he made those first designs.

During WWII Harley-Davidson stopped producing for the general populace because the government decided that all motorcycles made in the country had to go to the war effort. In those four years the company made nearly 90,000 bikes for the military.

Since then, Harley-Davidson has come out with many new models, most of which have been quite popular, and has expanded operations to Brazil.:

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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