Bangor Area Strong Finish

Maine’s real estate market closed out 2015 with a very healthy report. According to Maine Listings (MLS) data, sales of single-family existing homes increased 10.97 percent when compared to 2014. The median sales price for the 15,672 homes sold last year was $180,500—a 3.14 percent increase from last year below the regional Northeast sales increase which were up 11.9%.
Penobscot County saw home sales increase to 1428 from last year’s 1218, a 17 percent rise.
The Bangor Area (Bangor, Brewer, Hampden, Hermon, Holden, Glenburn, Orrington, Orono, Old Town and Veazie) lead the way, beating regional, county, and state numbers with 766 homes sold, a 19.6 percent increase over 2014.
The average sale price of homes sold in Penobscot County rose 5.2% to $144,000 where the Bangor Area home prices remained nearly the same as last year at $161,400.
According to Ed Gardner, 2016 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, “The annual numbers are very positive for the real estate market in Maine, likely due to continued low interest rates, and confidence in the economy. For the most part, prices were stable and increasing for the year.
Area Realtors point to consumers’ confidence their home purchase is a sound investment and their recognition of the stability of the real estate market in Eastern Maine.
In the regional Northeast, sales were up 11.9 percent and the regional MSP rose 5.3 percent to $255,700. According to Ed Gardner, 2016 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, “The annual numbers are very positive for the real estate market in Maine, likely due to continued low interest rates, and confidence in the economy. For the most part, prices were stable and increasing for the year. Some markets are experiencing tight inventory at certain price points and ‘days on market’ has decreased over data from a year ago. Only Maine’s most rural counties experienced slight sold price declines.” Gardner, Broker/Owner of Ocean Gate Realty LLC, added, “Overall the data shows a confidence in the stability of the market and buyers are making sound investments in residential real estate.” Below are two charts showing statistics for Maine and its 16 counties. The first chart lists statistics for the month of December only, statewide. The second chart compares the number of existing,

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Realtor’s Chief Economist Forecast 2016

Following the housing market’s best year in nearly a decade, existing-home sales are forecasted to expand in 2016 at a more moderate pace as pent-up buyer demand combats affordability pressures and meager economic growth, according to National Association of Realtors, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
Despite his forecasted increase in sales, Yun cites rising mortgage rates, home prices still outpacing wages and shaky global economic conditions as headwinds that will likely hold back a stronger pace of sales.
“This year the housing market may only squeak out 1 to 3 percent growth in sales because of slower economic expansion and rising mortgage rates. furthermore, the continued rise in home prices will occur due to the fact that we will again encounter housing shortages in many markets because of the cumulative effect of homebuilders under producing for multiple years. Once the spring buying season begins, we’ll begin to feel that again.”
Yun expects total existing-homes sales to finish 2015 up 6.5 percent from 2014 at a pace of around 5.26 million —the highest since 2006, but roughly 25 percent below the prior peak set in 2005 (7.08 million). The national median existing-home price for all of 2015 will be close to $221,200, up around 6 percent from 2014. In 2016, existing sales are expected to grow between 1 and 2 percent (5.30 to 5.40 million) and prices between 5 and 6 percent.
The National Association of Realtors®, is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

More Americans Say “It’s A Good Time To Sell”

An improving financial picture prompted more consumers to say that they believe now is a good time to sell a home, according to Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index, which capped off its strongest year so far. The share of consumers who reported their income was significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 9 percentage points on net in December.
“Consumers ended the year on an improved note with regard to their income, job security, and overall economic outlook,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Brightening economic prospects, if sustained, should stimulate demand for home ownership. However, continuing upward pressure on rental prices and constrained housing supply, particularly for starter homes, may mean prospective first-time home buyers could face affordability constraints.”
Fannie Mae’s survey found that 40 percent of 1,000 respondents surveyed said they are confident home prices will rise this year.
Also, their financial picture is improving too. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they are not concerned about losing their job, which ties an all-time survey high. What’s more, the number of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago increased 9 percentage points to 15 percent in the survey.

Source: Fannie Mae

December Housing Market Cools

A recent analysis of December housing data on Realtor.com indicates that the residential housing market is following the normal holiday cool down, with less demand, reduced inventory and slower market velocity in most markets.
Median listing prices show a slight decrease over November 2015 to $228,000, but still represents an increase of 9 percent year over year. Realtor.com traffic continues to show solid year over year growth reflecting the same strong and consistent demand growth seen throughout 2015.
Home sales for December in the Bangor Area market (Bangor, Brewer, Hampden, Holden, Hermon, Orrrington, Orono, Old Town and Veazie) reached 114 compared to 112 for the same period last year with a dollar volume of $16.1 million.
Statewide homes sold in December of 2015 increased 11.4% to 2748 from December of 2014 sales of 2426.