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Newsletter: April 2016
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Mindful Moments Matter Most 

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”       

                                                                                                                   - Thich Nhat Hanh
            
Happy Spring!  Thank you again for taking the time to read this monthly newsletter.  We recognize that your inbox is bombarded daily by countless emails from people trying to sell you stuff.  It is for that reason we treat this monthly communication with care – and it appears that with an open rate of nearly 3X the industry average, our efforts are being rewarded and you are finding it worthwhile. 

With that out of the way, we recently came across this excellent advice from Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman in his book - Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

"Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well."  (Don't do this on your smartphone. After all, staring into that bright blue-shifted light before you go to bed is more likely to distract you and keep you up. Instead, put a little notebook there and something to write with.) 

Sound hokey? Give it a chance. Seligman goes on: "Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now." 
It's an interesting exercise. With your bedtime journal in mind, you tend to keep your eyes open all day long.

Give it a go for a week and see how you feel.

What ....... Another Newsletter!

April 2016

Newsletter March 2016
Maine Home connection - A marketing company that sells real estate.
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Home Sales Results 

First Quarter 2016 vs 2015 

For the third consecutive month of 2016, single family home sales in Maine exceeded prior year results.  YTD sales are up and impressive 15.2%.  Sales in Cumberland County are up 12.9% over the same time period.  As a point of reference, sales in the first quarter of 2015 were at their highest level since 2005; and now essentially a new record level has been achieved.

The median selling price (MSP) continues to trend up as well, recording YTD gains of 5.3% and 9.0% across Maine and Cumberland County respectively. 

The graph below includes sales statistics for many communities in the greater Portland area.  Most have recorded unit increases year-over-year, with the only exceptions being South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Gorham and Harpswell.  Pricing, however, continues to be much more unstable as six towns reported MSP decreases – four of which were greater than 10%.
 
Price fluctuations by town have a tendency to confuse what is happening in the market.  Understanding the dynamics in each price segment is important to making buying or selling decisions.  For example, large price variations in Falmouth or Yarmouth are more reflective of changes in the mix of homes being sold rather than dramatic movement in the median selling price.

In Cumberland County homes priced above $500,000 increased by two in 2016 (20 vs 18) yet the MSP of these properties declined by approximately 1%. Not surprisingly, homes priced below $250,000 increased 22.8% while the MSP of those homes improved 10.4% - both above the median level for both Maine and Cumberland County. 

Inventory continues to be low.  Homes under contract in March represented 52% of all available inventory – the highest level in a very long time. New homes coming on the market, especially in the lower price segments, can expect to go under contract quickly (assuming they are market ready).  The inventory of higher priced homes is more competitive and buyers have more choices, leading to a longer time on market and more price pressure.



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. 

New Ferry Service to Nova Scotia

Someone Still Thinks This Is A Good Idea


There will be ferry service this year to Nova Scotia.  Bay Ferries Ltd, the company that operated CAT services from 2006 through 2009, said it will introduce a new high-speed service in mid-June.

The CatThe company has leased the USNS Puerto Rico from the U.S. Navy for two years.  The ship, formally known as the Alakai, will rename the ferry "The Cat." The Navy took over the Alakai and its sister ship, the Huakai, in 2012 after the high-speed ferry service in Hawaii abruptly shut down in 2009.

The trip from Portland to Canada will take 5½ hours and carry 866 passengers and 282 vehicles.  That is a considerable reduction in time and size from the Nova Star, which struggled to gain acceptance and rarely made the trip anywhere near capacity. 

The Canadian government spent $21.5 million for the service in the Nova Star’s first season in 2014. Last year, the Province limited its subsidy to $9.8 million. The service’s financial troubles led a federal court to order the seizure of the Nova Star in October after several companies complained that they were owed more than $2.2 million.

As part of the new service offering, the government of Nova Scotia has agreed to invest and addtional $23.3 million (Canadian) during its initial year, with funds going toward retrofitting the Navy catamaran, startup costs and a $10.2 million subsidy for marketing and operations during the first season.

Maine Most Comprehensive Home Search

Access All Active & Pending Properties


On our site you can view ALL properties for sale in Maine. You can search the MLS directly by any of the following methods:  Interactive Map, Advanced Detail Search, Address and MLS Listing ID. You can sort properties by town, type, price range and features - or use any of the predefined searches as well.

Creating an account is easy and no password is required. You can save multiple custom searches. Email updates will be sent to you as new properties matching your criteria come on the market.  View Homes

"People Need More Bagels"

South Portland Bakery Expands Capacity


Getting your morning bagel fix is about to get a lot easier.  Scratch Bakery, located at Willard Square in South Portland has recently announced that it will move it bagel and bread operation into a former Getty station on the corner of Sawyer Street and Broadway.

According to Sonja Swanberg, co-owner of the bakery, “People need more bagels….the mystique of standing in line on a hot July morning has worn off."

In an article in the Portland Press Herald, Swanberg went on to say that the move will increase daily bagel production by 25%.  The new site will also include a “low key” bagel and toast bar.

Swanberg also emphasized that nothing will change at the Willard Square location other than the baking of the bread and bagels being moved off-site. In fact, the pastry team at Scratch will now have a little more breathing room, she said, so they can do more.

If things go according to plan, the new location should open mid-summer.

Murder at Crufts

The Dark Side of the Show Dog World 

Best In Show
Who hasn't seen the movie Best in Show?  Well, real life is even crazier, or perhaps darker.  Jagger, a champion Irish Setter from Belgium, died of poison shortly after placing 2nd in his breed at Crufts, the most prestigious dog show on earth.

In this month's issue of Vanity Fair, Mark Seal tells stories of Jagger's death, the industry of dog-showing, and the incredibly passionate people behind the dogs
 

Virtual Staging

No Furniture - No Problem


When selling your home, excellent photography is critical to making a first good impression. For that reason, Maine Home Connection is committed to delivering the best online digital visuals - both for photography and video.

So what happens if your home is vacant?  The first idea is often to consult a stager - which is expensive.  However, there is another option - VIrtual Staging.

The examples below demonstrate what we can do.  Any empty room can be converted into an inviting living space. We have many furniture options and can create a look to match your home's overall look and feel.

Imagine More with Maine Home Connection!

He Inspired A Generation of Comedians 

Rest in Peace Gary Shandling 

Nominated for 56 Emmy awards, Gary Shandling appeared on Johnny Carson many times, as both a guest and a guest host. His first appearance, above, was in 1981.
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About Maine Home Connection

We Believe.......

.....at Maine Home Connection 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.

Sincerely,
Laura & Michael Sosnowski
Brokers | Owners

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Maine Home Connection
19 Commercial St | Portland ME 04101 | 207.517.3100
 
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