May 22, 2013

Surge in housing demand sparks Portland bidding battles

Available houses dwindle and prices rise as the city's housing market sees 'a very big change.'

By J. Craig Anderson
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Matthew Kennedy stands in front of his newly purchased home on Beckett Street in Portland on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Maine's residential real-estate market is heating up.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

Another factor driving down supply in the Portland area is a flow of baby boomers from rural and suburban areas to urban centers, Yarnold said.

"Portland is having a great resurgence because of the baby boomers," she said.

Portland Board of Realtors President Ed Gardner said the housing market has heated up especially in the past two to three months. Because of the shrinking supply, prospective buyers who were unsure have felt a sense of urgency to buy before prices go up even more.

"It's created a frenzy with multiple offers on properties that had been sitting on the market for a while," said Gardner, of Ocean Gate Realty in Portland.

As an example of how supply has diminished, Gardner said, just 94 condominiums are listed for sale in Portland now, compared with the typical number of 250 to 270.

Kevin Robert, manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Saco, said much of the inventory from foreclosures and short sales has been sold off, with far fewer new distress sales to replenish the supply.

He said buyers' competition for homes is likely to increase statewide, but not to the extent seen from 2003 to 2005, when the housing market was booming.

Robert said home prices still haven't increased as much as one might expect with such a short supply. That means homes perceived to be overpriced still aren't selling.

"There's inventory out there," he said, "but what's disappearing is quality inventory that's priced correctly."


J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

Twitter: @jcraiganderson


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