Real estate market in Maine.
Since COVID came into our day to day living, what’s happening post pandemic in the Maine real estate market? Like most news reports about a hot topic, what you read and hear does not always tell the whole story. Hard to sum up in a few words or learn much from a quick headline or clever sound bite. And the news article from a half a year ago or more deserves a return feature update to be current and factual information.
Let’s face it. Buying and selling real estate in Maine is big deal in any market. It’s the largest single investment most of us ever make, real estate. The buying and selling of Maine real estate is affected by supply and demand, the local economy where the property listings are located. And the push from out of state real estate buyers to buy a piece of Maine when COVID locked down city living.
This blog post takes a snapshot look at the real estate market in Maine post COVID pandemic.
Just how buyers and sellers are adapting to the COVID pandemic, and how does the Maine real estate property listings come in to play. To begin with, the small town local Mainers approach to day to day living is loaded with common sense and practicality. Early on in life, our children are taught valuable skills on just how to make and manage their own money. Saving for dips in the road and those rainy days means to expect setbacks and delays. So we never go that far out on the limb and saw it off without a lot of thought before hand.
Mainers are used to economizing and have pretty good impulse control on the spending. Taught early on to work hard, take care of whatever is purchased and don’t spend money like a fish drinks water. A simple approach to living with emphasis on not living in excess and more independent, self sufficient and a solid piece of the local small town fabric.
In January of 2020, the state off Maine had a total house listing inventory of slightly over 13,000 units.
This past January 2021 the supply number was not much over 3,000 units. As kids, we all played musical chairs and know what happens when where to sit in a hurry is at a premium.
Other than a handful of cities, Maine’s vast number of small town communities had an ample supply of affordable housing before COVID hit. The absorption rate of that low cost Maine housing supply is causing bidding wars. I recently sold a modest country Maine log home with nine real estate contracts of sale. The seller took her pick and ended up with $20,600 more than the listed price of $64,500. Lose out a number of times bidding until it hurt when you need a Maine home causes stress.
The buyers can be demanding, edgy and expecting quick easy real estate closings.
When the local Maine bank mortgage lenders and lawyers doing the title work are pushed to the max like a MASH unit field hospital, a line for services grows longer. Take a number, have a seat.
A cash buyer able to close quickly trumps the home buyer bogged down by the bank loan process.
Cash is still king. And as real estate in Maine inventory shrinks and nine months supply becomes three and dropping, desperation sets in.
The Maine home is affordably priced but needs a new heating system, exterior paint, a new roof to replace the one now leaking. But banks selling the mortgage paper to secondary market investors do not want to finance homes with large job jars attached.
The deficiencies to a place are why the property is in the low price bracket it is.
The buyer who wants to take his time fixing a place up is sadden to learn lending on no or low down program picky loan programs don’t work that way. Repairs, a visit from the real estate appraiser to make sure the loose ends are tied up take money and time for the corrections. All needed before a real estate closing can take place.
Home sellers in Maine don’t have to wait and many other buyers are in the wings flush with cash to take over where a bogged down bank mortgage home buyer leaves off when no more contract extensions is announced.
In the real estate market pre-COVID pandemic, many Maine property buyers with just enough money for the down payment and closing costs are stuck.
They looked to the seller to help out and save the day but in today’s real estate market in Maine boom, the property owner does not have to for tickets to a closing. So many buyers leaving expensive city living loaded with money, many with cash and ready, willing and able to close on cheaper Maine homes.
It makes it hard for local home buyers with meager savings to buy the house they can afford that is not up to par to pass muster with bank lending mortgage underwriting standards. Some are lucky to have support but many lack parents to help the offspring obtain their own nest competing with COVID caused migration into Maine from outside cash buyers.
Just go out and build if you can not find an existing Maine house for sale to call home you say?
Well, whoa, hold up and hot so fast. At the same time that existing affordable housing supply inventory is hammered hard post COVID pandemic, the cost of construction materials to build your home Maine home spiked thirty percent and higher. Plus try to get a carpenter, plumber, electrician and the guys and gals pushing the Earth moving machine levers to create a building site with all the amenities. Those tradesmen are all right out straight and it never let up like it typically does over a Maine winter lull to catch your breath thanks to the post COVID real estate market in Maine.
The Maine real estate market before the COVID headlines started was already a healthy, robust one.
The virus just threw the conveyor belt into warp factor five speeds. Like someone hit the nitrous blue button in the center console of a fast and furious car movie. Bidding wars, like the multiple offer situation shared above is very common. They used to only happen around Maine waterfront properties that are never in large enough supply. The real estate market in Maine is always anemic in the number of listings bordered by water. But that same faster than most buyers need for time to buy a new to the market home listing is just not there.
The new listing appearing for sale this morning is gone by sunset.
Off market and waiting for a closing, wearing a sale pending, under contract sign rider.
Low interest rates, the affordable housing in Maine combined with our simple outdoor approach to four seasons living.
It is not hard in a rural state as vast and unspoiled as Maine to keep your six feet apart CDC directive. The COVID numbers are low, the Maine population is way ahead in vaccine inoculation compared to our Canadian cousins across the International border. In Maine, we already were socially distant and love the peace and quiet of space out on the water paddling a kayak. Biking a trail at Acadia or hiking on on Mount Katahdin. All that was found in real estate online Internet searches about how lucky we are to live in Maine. Maine, the way life should be right? If you are going to be stuck in a state during COVID, Maine is pretty hard to beat for no or low cost outdoor recreation.
Folks already working from home remotely thanks to the COVID pandemic restrictions in a city saw a chance to make a run for it.
But where? Hey, I heard good things about Maine. Liked it on vacation and why not Maine? Cash in and sell for big dollars whatever you own in a hot urban high priced real estate market. And then take your same online job to Maine to telecommute and buy a property outright for cash to avoid the strings attached and time delay caused by a home mortgage. That is what I see happening over and over in current Maine real estate market sales scenarios post COVID pandemic. Many in the audience are retiring early, opting to take the watch and the golden parachute benefits package to high tail head to Maine. Police offices in groves are retiring as early as possible or looking for safer places to protect and serve.
Maine already had a pretty good reputation for vacations, for raising a family in wholesome fashion and where the village has a hand shaping the individuals in a good way.
No one spoiled, everyone pitches in for the common good and has a vital role living in small town Maine. There is a good work ethic and favorable discrimination when someone from Maine gets picked over someone that is not in a job interview. Our connection is stronger, people travel smaller circles and get to know each other deeplyin small Maine towns. The telecomute to Maine with your online job means keep pushing that last mile of Internet.
Populations of small Maine towns will increase if a job you already had out of state can follow you to your new small town community.
The new home buyer likes the sounds of 4th lowest for crime, no gangs, no violence or crowded highways in this northern most New England state of Maine. Less restrictive living and lower cost real estate in Maine are all in the mix to where to move.
But what happens if the supply of affordable Maine homes dwindles, if the cost to build new ones to sell with reasonable price tags can’t happen due to high priced building materials?
Enter the new generation hybrid homesteaders. The micro farmer and folks that used to have one primary job skill and hired everything out beyond that. They are being forced out of their comfort zone in society. If you own everything around you, life is not so scary. The passion, if what excites you is no cost, not a latest model gadget that soon is outdated and loses its artificial luster. When being outdoors in Maine is possible without the long drive over the big green bridge. Control of your finances, empowered to be more hands on and involved in your day to day destiny. Neighbors helping each other, bartering skills takes place on a regular basis. Money is not so important or valuable when removed from the daily living up here in rural Maine.
Small town living in Maine makes a person feel worthwhile and a part of the community because they truly are.
Those people and all their individual talents and willingness to pitch in to improve the area are the community. Not the empty buildings on Main Street or the map rows of streets and road. The community needs people who want to be here. Especially after living in a high cost city landscape. Those folks appreciate Maine even more than a local who has lived here most or all their life. Many out of state home buyers are from Maine but left for higher paying job opportunities. COVID just sharpened the focus of everyone that did the soul searching. Asking the question of where am I best off living? Maine?
Even though there is a say Connecticut blue vehicle plate, this Maine real estate broker often learns this is a native returning home.
And they always intended to when they left but some returning to help elderly parents early. Or because of COVID or to just retire early because the Maine economy is much cheaper to stretch the fixed income.
For Maine real estate buyers it starts with find a piece of land for low cost camping vacations and then in time, much more.
Hard work but self inflicted by choice to reduce, reuse, make a smaller carbon footprint up in Maine. Winter can be sobering. But with global warming, that time around the end and beginning of the calendar is way gentler than I remember as a kid. Winter in Maine is easy when prepared and expecting it, embracing it. Mainers are year round happiest outdoors creatures. Just with a change in wardrobe and the number of clothing layers worn or not.
The real estate market in Maine is strong coming out the other side of the pandemic.
Because people feel safe, worthwhile, hands on in Vacationland. COVID, the election, lots of factors make Maine popular for a popular real estate buying state these days. Multi-generation Maine real estate buyers are on the increase too.
I just listed a 1434 acres Kingdom lot that would be ideal for even the largest multi generation family planting roots in Maine.
Do it yourself. If it is to be, it is up to me thinking.
Hardships experienced early in life temper a person, broaden their resiliency and deepen their passion.
Kids raised in that simple rural environment learn what is important in life. Not what is the result of highly effective marketing to create the carrot to attract the masses. Since COVID, the Maine real estate market has flourished. Local schools, businesses, community members embraced the challenge to not let COVID negatively effect their life. They did not have time to whine and complain or sink into pits of despair. Like most obstacles in life, with a little patience and lots of creative experience to draw from their upbringing. True Mainers come out the other side happy and grateful.
Many who owned seasonal properties in Maine have been like spider monkeys converting them to year round real estate use.
That’s why the best thing Maine leaders can do is invest in Internet. Tap into all the available funding out there to hammer away at that last mile of fiber or copper. Or boost those wireless tower signals to make the connection long and strong. Thank you for following our Me In Maine blog posts and hope this inside look at the local real estate market was a worthwhile read.
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MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730 USA