Portland, ME At a downtown Portland conference hosted by the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), more than 800 real estate professionals from across the state celebrated the marketâ€™s return to pre-recession, 2006 levels. The latest numbers from The MEREDA Index, an economic metric meant to gauge activity in commercial real estate, residential real estate and construction, came in at 100.
While slightly lower than its immediate predecessor, â€œthe latest number is reflective of the strong real estate economy, and is a very solid indicator of the strength of Maine's real estate market,â€ said MEREDA president Michael Oâ€™Reilly.
â€œCommercial real estate activity continues to be a strong driver -- but, for the first time, residential activity was a big contributor as well,â€ continued Oâ€™Reilly. â€œIn fact, residential saw sales of existing units up 14% and eclipsing the base year of 2006 for the first time. Median â€‹price, â€‹mortgage â€‹originationsâ€‹ and â€‹residential â€‹permits were also trending upward.â€
The annual conference also featured about a dozen experts, forecasting future market activity by property type and geography.
Top trends and predictions included: â€¢ Increasingly, Portland and southern Maine industrial space used for medical marijuana and brewery operations; â€¢ Lack of construction workers is driving up price for new construction; â€¢ Multi-family and single family sales in Portland are very hot, with the luxury home trend waning and demand for smaller footprint, more conscientiously built properties on the rise; â€¢ Medical office space, entertainment corridor, and urbanization are strong trends in the Bangor-area market; â€¢ Portlandâ€™s lifestyle accolades drive high hotel occupancy and rates; â€¢ Central Maine (including Lewiston-Auburn) is showing gradual positive trend; and â€¢ Renyâ€™s is moving to Windham, a large vacancy in Biddeford will be filled thanks to a new FexEx location and an L.L.Bean call center is on tap for Bangor.
â€œWe are optimistic about this important sector of Maineâ€™s economy. Many of the promising accomplishments of 2015 continue to trend upward as we enter 2016,â€ said Oâ€™Reilly.