Since its inception, MEREDA has continued to make progress on behalf of the development community addressing the challenges and issues relating to Maine’s real estate activities. MEREDA’s strength has always come from the support and participation of its valued members. While we look forward to the beginning of a new fiscal year, it is important that we take a moment to look back and reflect on our accomplishments, and take time to thank you, MEREDA’s members, (330+) for your investment in the Association over the year. Your continuing support is critical to our ability to maintain and increase our advocacy work, programs and related services, which are all vital to development interests in Maine.
It’s been a very busy year, and we are excited to share with you our “Year in Review 2018 – 2019”.
MEREDA’s Three Overarching Priorities. MEREDA continues to serve its members’ mutual interests in responsible development by advocating for fair and predictable regulation, hosting events rich with educational and industry insight, all the while providing opportunities to network with a diverse group of real estate professionals.
MEREDA Legislation Receives Unanimous Vote to Advance from the Environment and Natural Resources Committee – MEREDA submitted LD 550 to correct a technical error in a law that created a waiver from subdivision review for projects dividing a building into three or more dwelling units. LD 550 corrects an erroneous statutory reference to restore the original intent of the law, which is to allow those projects to receive a waiver from subdivision law so long as they have been approved under a municipal site plan review ordinance.
On May 30, 2019, Governor Mills signed into law LD 550, An Act to Amend the Definition of “Subdivision” in the Laws Governing Planning and Land Use Regulation for Subdivisions and a Provision Excepting the Division of a New or Existing Structure from Those Laws Beginning July 1, 2018. LD 550 is chaptered law at 2019 Public Law, Chapter 174, and will take effect 90 days from the date of final legislative adjournment.
MEREDA Work on Non-Residential Property Transaction Disclosure for Abutting Roads – This session, two bills were submitted dealing with the non-residential property disclosure enacted in 2018 as part of a law dealing with discontinued roads. The law enacted in 2018 requires the seller of non-residential real property to disclose to the buyer information, if known, regarding the existence and maintenance (including the existence of any responsible road association) of abandoned or discontinued town ways, the existence of public easements and the existence of any private roads located on or abutting the property. MEREDA submitted a bill, LD 1181, proposing to repeal all the required disclosures for non-residential property transactions. The Maine Association of Realtors (MAR) submitted a bill, LD 848, that proposed to narrow the non-residential property disclosures to mirror residential property disclosures as they relate to public ways and maintenance of the public ways. Ultimately, the Committee adopted LD 848 as a compromise measure. This new law will limit the scope of non-residential disclosure to information, if known, describing the means of accessing the property by a public way, and to information related to the maintenance of the public way, or to any relevant road association. It will remove the requirement to disclose the existence of abandoned or discontinued town ways and public easements. The new law was signed by the Governor on May 23 and is chaptered at 2019 Public Laws, Chapter 142. It will take effect 90 days from the date of legislative adjournment – sometime early this fall.
MEREDA’s Legislative Reception on March 13, 2019 at the Senator Inn was well-attended by legislators from a number of committees, including Environment and Natural Resources, Taxation, Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business, and Labor and Housing. Members of the MEREDA Board as well as other members were on hand to greet legislators, share information about the commercial real estate and development industry, and get updates on the events under the dome.
Education & Insight
Morning Menu Meetings, Networking Events, Conferences – MEREDA has held nearly 20 events this past year – topics ranging from AIA Contracts, Workforce Development, Opportunity Zones, among others. MEREDA’s breakfast and social events held throughout the state bring together highly-regarded experts.
DevelopME continues to develop its “Lunch & Learn” series aimed at drawing on the expertise of MEREDA’s seasoned members and sharing their experiences with this group of emerging professionals, as well as a mentorship program, walking tours, and other special projects to cultivate and connect MEREDA’s future leaders within the organization.
Successful Forecast and Spring Conferences – MEREDA’s signature event, the annual Forecast Conference and Member Showcase in January attracted 1000+ attendees, and this year’s spring conference saw 300 attendees. Each year, MEREDA works hard to find forward thinking, trend-worthy topics for the annual spring conference, and each year seems to amaze us! This year our goal for the spring conference focused on the Future of Housing in Maine and brought together industry leaders to collaborate and innovate on finding solutions for the housing challenges Maine faces.
MEREDA Index – MEREDA is always keeping its finger on the pulse of the state’s real estate market. The Spring 2019 MEREDA Index reflects a solid performance in the real estate market coming in at 100.1.
With increased construction costs impacting projects statewide, there are many questions as to how the real estate market will be affected. While the Index showed a slight 2% ebb primarily because of declines in the commercial market, Index commentators see vibrant, active markets with plenty of opportunities in the future.
“I’ve always found the MEREDA Index to be an extremely valuable tool,” says Tim Soley of East Brown Cow Management, Inc. “Not only is it a great source for measuring changes in our industry over time, but it is also a wellspring of information from industry leaders sharing their insights,” continues Soley.
The Maine Real Estate Insider –Published by Mainebiz, this weekly e-newsletter provides a valuable source for all things real estate in Maine – including recent transactions, promotions and valuable and informative content for you and your business. It is MEREDA’s pleasure to support our members and the health of this important Maine industry by continuing to provide weekly content to this online newsletter which features news and information from MEREDA as well as from Maine’s real estate community.
MEREDA relies on members like you to help us provide the weekly content for MEREDA’s sidebar. We encourage all members who have an interest, to contact us with any questions or story ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles should be informational / educational items, trends, etc. that pertains to real estate and that would be useful to the membership or general reader.
Build Maine – Again this year, MEREDA supported “Build Maine: a tactical approach to growing Maine towns and cities” in its new venue at the Royal Oak Room & Iron Horse Court in Lewiston with a day-long program of dynamic, nationally renowned speakers. Build Maine brings together all people participating in the act of building our cities. The builders, funders, elected officials, engineers, lawyers, planners, finance institutions, and rule-makers converge annually to share best practices and aspirations for moving Maine forward within the political and economic climates of today. MEREDA is pleased to be able to support and participate in this annual event.
The opportunity to connect with a diverse network of real estate professionals and related service providers is a valued benefit of the MEREDA membership. Over the years, many beneficial business relationships have begun at one of our annual social events, conferences, breakfast forums, and even through committee work. We held 3 annual networking events, along with providing separate socializing time at our annual Forecast & Spring conferences, Bowl-a-Thon, and breakfasts, which give our members several opportunities to get to know one another.
Annual Strikes for Scholars – On May 23rd, MEREDA hosted its 7th Annual “Strikes for Scholars” Bowl-a-Thon Fundraising Event at Bayside Bowl in Portland. MEREDA members put together 24 teams to raise money and fund scholarships for Maine students enrolled in the building trades and business programs at the Maine Community College System or the College of Science, Technology & Health at USM. Again this year, MEREDA will be able to provide sixteen $1250 scholarships to students throughout the State. Since the fundraiser’s inception, MEREDA is proud to have raised and donated over $107,000 in scholarships helping over 78 Maine students by making it a little easier for them to achieve their goal of obtaining a college credential.
Thank you to our faithful members! Your continued support ensures that we can continue to provide value and remain the most active nonprofit helping to promote responsible development in Maine. We wish you an enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing you back here this fall for more great events beginning in September.