Maine experts still proclaim Portland “hot,” see growth expanding north

The residential real estate market remains hot statewide, with single family sales very solid, according to experts who reviewed trends in the last year of Maine real estate as part of MEREDA’s annual conference, featuring a sold-out crowd of more than 750, and more than half a dozen forecasts of future market activity by property type and geography. Other sectors, including office and retail, also seem to be faring well.

Brit Vitalius, broker with Vitalius Real Estate Group, noted that multi-family sales, especially in southern Maine, are “exceedingly popular,” saying that if you want to sell your two-, three-, or four-unit, “you ought to be packed and ready to go.”

Vitalius noted that low inventory levels have left multi-family sales relatively flat in Portland, but that there is increased activity in Saco, South Portland, Biddeford, and Westbrook – all up. Vitalius noted that this is a remarkable change from 2008, as an example, when Lewiston-Auburn had “over 29 months of inventory on the market.” That is no longer the case, he reported.

“If you have that typical four bedroom, two bath, attached garage on a cul de sac, it might be a good time to put it on the market,” noted David Marsden with The Bean Group, who offered a forecast on the single family market. He said that other trends, such as micro-living and being close to downtown amenities are very hot right now.

Many agreed that micro-units close to a downtown or with eco-friendly options are on the horizon. This is especially true in Portland, though experts noted that Augusta, the Twin Cities, Brunswick, and Bangor are seeing new investment and revitalization as well.

Additionally, the demand for access to downtown city centers coupled with low unemployment rates have increased the demand for office space, especially in the premium categories, and especially close to walkable amenities. Nate Stevens, of CBRE | The Boulos Company, noted that the “office space vacancy rate dropped from over 14% in 2011 to about 3% in 2016,” with 80% of transactions in the Class A category.

“There is almost no space available for new retailers,” echoed Peter Harrington with Malone Commercial Brokers, remarking that a mix of local and national tenants has created a renaissance on the Middle Street corridor.”

Experts from Maine’s Twin Cities, the Queen City, the Midcoast, and Central Maine were also on hand, as were experts from Maine’s hospitality sector and industrial categories. Full presentations are available for perusal by anyone interested in learning more about the subject matter. Visit and scroll to the bottom.

MEREDA’s spring conference will focus on the topic of embracing development on May 18; visit for details and registration.

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