Members of the Magnusson Balfour team recently attended the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s 2017 Annual Forecast Conference & Member Showcase in Portland, where we spent the day hearing from economic and industry experts regarding the economic outlook on the Maine real estate market. The conference is also a great opportunity for us to network with other real estate industry professionals. It is a day spent learning about the trends driving Maine’s real estate market, and, as a result, the growth of our economy.
A strong understanding of the economic shifts occurring in the local and statewide market is a key component to our effectiveness as commercial real estate and business brokers. One of the most helpful aspects of the Conference are the forecasts that are provided, broken down by region as well as by business sector. This information is tremendously helpful to us as we advise clients regarding their investment in or relocation of their business.
We know the real estate market has been recovering steadily in Maine, and different regions are growing strongly, many within specific real estate type. The Biddeford/Saco and Lewiston/Auburn area have traditionally been more industrial and commercial, but they are now growing rapidly in the hospitality/food and retail sectors. The renovation of empty mill buildings is offering high-end housing, and revitalized streetscapes. Geographic areas with convenient proximity to mass transportation and border access are expanding in distribution facilities. Once a struggling community, the re-purposing of the Brunswick Naval Base is demonstrating the impact of creative adaptive design and mixed-use buildings. This revitalization is seeing expanding office and retail businesses, as well as residential growth, making the area highly desirable for both businesses and residents.
It is a seller and landlord-friendly market in most places, as vacancy rates are dropping for their 6th straight year, currently at less than 2% in Portland. Buyers and lessees are in need of qualifying properties, raising prices to a premium and making it a hot race to get a contract on strong listings. While interest rates are expected to creep up some more in 2017, rates are still historically low and continue to support strong market growth.
Commercial real estate and successful business brokerage has a significant impact on our communities, and our state’s economy. What is happening in the real estate market influences curricula and workforce training programs at our colleges and schools. Small business growth and expanding industries in a community means a growing workforce that requires other businesses and services, as well as adequate housing. It is very exciting to see growth in new market sectors, rehabilitation of vacant buildings bringing new businesses to areas, and our graduates finding the education and career opportunities they are looking for here in the state building a strong workforce of the future. The outlook continues to be bright, and continued growth is predicted – all good news for our clients!
The Maine Real Estate & Development Association
The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) is an organization whose mission is to promote an environment for responsible development and ownership of real estate throughout the State of Maine. MEREDA publishes the MEREDA Index quarterly, an invaluable tool that summarizes key measures of activity in the Maine commercial and residential real estate markets, for both new development and existing properties, as well as construction employment.
FMI about MEREDA:
The MEREDA Index is available to the public and can be viewed at: