Newsletter: December 2015
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Happy Holidays

“Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.”       - Ebenezer Scrooge

Charles Dickens reportedly said that he had initially written A Christmas Carol as a "pot-boiler," (i.e. for money), but that it was the only one of his works that made him laugh and cry. While clearly a story of redemption (with a political edge), it near returned the financial rewards its author had envisioned.

Published on December 19, 1843 A Christmas Carol was an immediate success with the public, selling out its initial print run of 6,000 copies by Christmas Eve. But the cost of producing the book, published on a commission arrangement between Dickens and Chapman and Hall, was so high that once the publishers had tabulated their expenses, there was very little left over for the author himself. The principal reason: Dickens's own insistence on a lavish format for what was to become his most famous holiday book.

Included was a fancy binding stamped with gold lettering on the spine and front cover; gilded edges on the paper all around; four full-page, hand-colored etchings; half-title and title pages printed in bright red and green; and hand-colored green endpapers to match the green of the title page. Given all the costs, Dickens had only cleared £726, even after sales approached 15,000 copies within one year.

Today, the original manuscript can be found at Pierpont Morgan Library in New York where it has been digitized in its entirety.  It can be viewed at: The Collection. Dickens would no doubt be delighted by this magnificent online project, but it is no small irony that for this instantly classic Christmas tale of greed and beneficence, Dickens received none of the millions that Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge continue to generate every year in form of different productions around the world.

On behalf of everyone at Maine Home Connection we would like to wish you a happy holiday season.  Enjoy this month's newsletter!

Maine Home Connection

December Newsletter 2015

November 2015 Newsletter | Maine Home Connection

Home Sales Remain Strong

November Year-To-Date Results 

While recording their lowest level since April, single family home sales of 1,205 still remain 22.3% ahead of 2014.  Similarly, the median home price of $180,000 represented the first monthly decline in ten months, yet based strong results of prior months, YTD pricing is still ahead of last year. In November, the amount discounted from list price reached its lowest level since February at 92.2%.  After months of strong selling prices there appears to be some gradual retreat.

Not surprisingly, sales results were stronger in Cumberland County.  Monthly and YTD both exceeded prior year results by more than 10%.  Additionally, the median price in November increased for the third consecutive month and has been over $250,000 for six straight months.  This type of sustained price consistency has not been achieved for a long time.  The only real outlier has been January 2015, when the monthly median price was $210,000, due to the mix of homes sold.  More importantly, the YTD median price is up 2.3%, reflecting a better representation of where we are right now in regard to pricing.

We also track the number of new listings that become available each month. In November, the number of new properties reflected 9.1% of all homes available for sale – the lowest of 2015 – and lower than the 11.1% mark recorded in November 2014.

As always, the chart below includes YTD results and comparisons for several local communities.  While there is a general trend of increased volume and pricing, there are certainly a number of surprising anomalies. 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. 

Another Hotel in Portland

Ocean Gateway Area Development Planned

Ocean Gateway Garage and a nearby vacant lot have been sold, more than eight years after city officials and developers celebrated the garage's groundbreaking as the start of a project expected to transform Portland's eastern waterfront. 

Ocean GatewayThe project, however, never materialized beyond the garage – but now another plan is being developed to build a hotel and condos on the property. This announcement follows less than 30 days after the overwhelming defeat of the view restriction referendum that would have severely limited development in the city.

Portland Norwich Group purchased the 1.3 acre parcel (abutting the Grand Trunk building) and garage for $20 million and subsequently sold the garage for $13.1 million to a local investor.  Development plans include construction of a 150-room AC Hotel by Marriott with 16 condominiums and roughly 4,000 square feet of restaurant or retail space on half of the vacant lot. The other side of the lot (on India Street) will be used for future development.

Interestingly, the initial development eight years ago was to include 100 condos.

The Planning Board must still hold a public hearing before approving the hotel and mixed-use plan.  According to paperwork filed with the city, Citizens Bank has agreed to provide a loan of approximately $30 million to help finance the estimated $46 million project.

Skynet Becomes Self-Aware

Indexing the Entire World's Conversations

Did you know that Facebook owns a patent which claims that when an individual applies for credit a lender can examine the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network. 

Skynet Takes OverWithin the last few months Facebook upgraded its search capabilities.  The site has indexed more than 2 trillion posts, and the search function enables users to seek out a specific post from any public profile, whether or not the two are friends on the site.  This is a considerable change - Nothing is private!

This new feature has led to concern that posts which many would rather stay hidden will now be revealed to the world. With some users having over a decade of past posts indexed on the site, it is possible that  many will not remember which posts were made with which privacy settings, which could lead to some uncomfortable posts resurfacing.

It might be time to revisit your privacy settings. If you believe in Machiavellian plots, this articles might be of interest to you: Cyberdyne Attacks.
Lewiston Maine - May 1965
Few people can or do actually change the world.  Even if you are not a sports fan, let alone a boxing fan, there is probably no one on the planet who does not know of Muhammad Ali.

Davis Miller is often considered to be the definitive reporter on Ali. His books and stories on the famous boxer are considered to be among the best sports journalism of the twentieth century. His latest book, Approaching Ali: A Reclamation in Three Acts, was published in November. SBNation has published an excerpt, which is included in the link below. It's fantastic……..and worth a read.
Renting vs Homeownership

Assuming that you are not living in your parent’s basement rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either it’s yours or your landlord’s.  Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter. 

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.
Absorption Rate

Seriously Local Real Estate

Taking Home Search to a New Level

If you’ve been finding it difficult to get accurate, complete and current MLS lists of homes for sale in Maine - then look no further.  At Maine Home Connection we offer one of the most comprehensive sources of listing data in the greater Portland area and southern Maine.

According to a New York Times report, broker sites can be as much as 37% more accurate than sites like Zillow and Trulia. It’s one very compelling reason to use the home search tools available at Maine Home Connection.  

Most buyers don’t know that sites like Trulia and Zillow have only indirect access to local MLS data. These real estate portal sites are not licensed Maine real estate agents or brokers and therefore are not authorized by our local MLS to directly access listing data.  Each brokerage individually decides whether they will submit listings to these companies – and many do not – or do so inconsistently.

To lean more about how we compare: Hyper Local Search.
Premium Coffee and Premium Service
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

About Maine Home Connection

We Believe....... 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.

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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