The MEREDA index, which covers both commercial and residential real estate markets, ticked up 4 percent by the end of the summer compared with the end of 2014.
The index tracks nine seasonally adjusted measures in commercial and residential transactions and construction activity and is considered a good measure of the broader real estate market in Maine.
The index reached 100 for the third quarter last year, hitting the baseline for the index, which was established in 2006.
That marks a decline from highs of 120 reached in late 2007 and also in the second quarter of 2014, but an uptick from the prior year at the same time and above the lows recorded from 2008 to 2012 during the recession and bursting of the housing bubble.
Of the major components of the index, commercial real estate was volatile but fairly strong over the past year, although off from highs reached in 2014. Construction activity was flat, but the residential real estate market rose 9 percent over the end of 2014.
“Commercial real estate activity continues to be a strong driver for the positive index trends, but, for the first time, residential activity was a big contributor as well,” said Michael O’Reilly, president of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association. “Given the relatively small scale of the Maine real estate market, larger commercial transactions are still having a big effect on the index.”
Sales and lease rates for commercial space were both up through the third quarter last year, O’Reilly said, and residential sales of existing properties was up 14 percent, passing the base year of 2006 for the first time. Median prices, mortgage originations and residential building permits were also heading up, he said, but construction employment numbers are lagging.