Coronovirus, the real estate market rebound, looking ahead down the road.
There is lots of buzz around that topic in circles I swim in. The local real estate market place and coronovirus. What's to come in our marketplace? Like many topics picked up by the mainstream media and wearing highly trending hash tags on social media channels, large real estate markets get the press. This blog post focuses on the coronovirus and the small Maine real estate market from a local broker's perspective. It really helps if whoever is relaying the what's it like for any small Maine topic to poll people who live there for the up close and personal.
Much like politics, the round the clock newscast heaviest focus covers New York City, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles or you spin the wheel to pick the large population pocket target.
The hot spots for the coronovirus are real estate markets where lots of people get squeezed and jammed in very tight quarters. Where there is little space to be had. Those same large real estate market areas are where land is long gone or comes at a very high price.
So we're getting there, to the how is the local real estate market now that coronovirus is picking up speed as we shelter in place to flatten the curve.
Need just a little more background to set the stage to how this blog post thread unfolds. Because every real estate market is so different. When you hear someone expounding on the real estate market, always always ask for which area. Misinformation happens because the tendency to talk for the entire country is applied. There could be nothing so different as the real estate market in one location compared to another one. The effect of the coronovirus on the real estate market is also very dependent on which area you are talking about right now. In rural Maine, real estate brokers and agents do not have nearly the hardship as ones practicing in large urban population centers.
When I visited Santa Monica California years ago, the real estate broker our family stayed with proved the point on how my market and his operated so not the same.
He flat out reported there were no empty house lots to buy and build a home. It's worse than musical chairs. At lease in that game, there is one empty seat to be had. The small rural Maine real estate market has all kinds of lots to build on now or in the future. My California real estate market counter part and wife had recently done what had to happen if you wanted to build new. People purchase existing homes and tear them down. What they construct costing large piles of money is on a teenie weenie dinky lot. Everyone fences off the little postage stamp of what they have to promote and preserve privacy. The lot sizes in Maine are measured in acres. The big city house lots are marketed in square footage amounts to sound big and exciting with lots of numbers.
Zero lot lines means the windows on the site of the house you build is looking at the grain of your neighbor's siding.
Or if lined up the same, your glass opening beams directly into any neighboring window that is not quipped with a working blind or shade. That's not for me, that's not what I see happen in the small rural Maine real estate market. Your neighbor in Maine can be many miles away and most are out of sight. Head a half mile in any direction from a small Maine town and you are in the country Chummy. We have space, low cost property prices and rural is vast, sparse not tight population clusters.
To buy a perfectly good home, then the expense to remove it on top of what you paid for the house to create an empty lot.
Crazy... and can't you find a lot a few miles down the road that is already cleared and ready for house construction? Guess living in Maine and frual living makes us too practical huh? Our kids are taught patience, how to manage money they earn themselves too. That's where we learn it from what's passed on for life skills.
So back to the real estate market and adjusting to coronovirus and rebound looking ahead.
To buy, own and enjoy large amounts of open space in these urban city real estate markets, you pay dearly. Have to purchase multiple homes already parked on the lots you collect at a high price and to remove them. When you build a large square footage house, more land is needed surrounding it to protects its value. The next buyer expects lots of landscaping to come with the sticks and bricks. The two go together like Forrest's momma drilled into his head like peas and carrots.
Which duplicate organ would you want to give up, combined with a lot of cash to make this won't last long larger than most real estate listings yours?
Pressure to buy, low supply, high demand. That describes one high priced real estate market. Now switch to the monitor showing small rural real estate market in Maine. That's more like it, feeling relaxed? It's all this space, friendly people who make eye contact and smile ... just from six feet away now. Everything is so so much cheaper in small rural Maine real estate markets. Being away from population centers make us what used to be called remote. Internet telecommuting and working remotely changed that label. The coronovirus helped the new way of looking at say Northern, Western, Eastern Maine regions. We are considered insulated, a pretty safe place to live where you don't need mountains of money to survive day to day.
When tragedy hits, the first areas to bleed out and locals to feel strapped are these large population real estate markets.
Turn off the spending spigot and everything quickly goes haywire sideways when a spike headed punk cell like the coronovirus enters your World. In small rural Maine, we live prepared for a recession or whatever is around the next corner. We're on our toes, we are hands on doing most of our own repairs and building projects. Car repairs, yup, tackle those or have a family member with the skill set that we barter for in exchange. More on frugal simple living in Maine.
The predictions of what's ahead during and post coronovirus for Maine real estate sales.
Here's the real estate market report for Maine just before it all started for a glimpse of what we had going in. We had a strong market, lots of real estate sales in the pipeline heading to closing. And today, more of the same is happening. Maine became even more attractive when you are in a city looking at blue evacuation dots to connect to head somewhere, anywhere. Folks working remotely online can bring those jobs with them. Retirement checks too follow you wherever you end up in Vacationland.
More often than not what you hear and read are from the large population area real estate market players.
The ones holding the mic and posing in front of the bright white light video camera collecting the catchy sound bite. The little markets for real estate around the country are not the ones the national news gatherers are hot to trot to learn about but in my small town, locals want to know how things shimmy and shake. We rock and roll real estate wise without the wild spikes way way high or headed the other direction. The market for real estate warms up when other areas are hopping, cool of when they are not so hot. But otherwise the Maine expression is we keep plugging along.
In Maine, we get by pretty easy. Because we live small not larger and our needs are kept simple.
And we are the lucky ones to live in Maine where natural beauty surrounds us and people are not the problem to move around or rack 'em and stack 'em in high rises needing parking garages. Maine in a word is "space." Unspoiled, pure and natural "space". You have to drive longer distances to access interior sections but when you live here, everything you need surrounds you. Or you can get by with less because so much of what you need is provided by yourself. Farming, lumbering, small business owners raise famlies very self sufficient and highly capable.
Harder longer winters, never flush with cash economies too set the pace we live by to be easy does it.
But I believe the once 8 out of 10 people living in a city exodus ratio is reversing. The sell to lots of people wanting more than a city living can deliver. Maine is wholesome, down to Earth, the 4th lowest crime state. We live without debt if we can help it and free and clear is a neat goal to achieve for your quality of life.
Now when you are a small rural real estate broker in Maine, you watch the news but know how differently the city or small town markets behave. Cause what I see flashed across the screen for copy or imagery is not accurate for Maine. It's like Hollywood touched it up the wrong way to be fact not fiction. Coronovirus or not, there are so many differences and the approach to marketing each market setting is definitely not the same.
So for the record, when someone tries to sum up the real estate market today with one size fits all approach, look deeper.
The real estate market where a person cares the most is the one operating around them. There is always a real estate market for an agent, broker, the buyer and seller to participate in on any given day. No matter if it was like the one in the early 1980's when we worked around 16.5% adjustable mortgage rates. Or when the real estate buying and selling hose develop a different kink caused by oil embargoes and high fuel costs.
The cornovirus pandemic is just one more market factor to adjust for in how you market real estate. And it depends where you are in Maine. The house that costs $71,000 for an average price fetches over $220,000 in the Portland Maine real estate market. Apple to apples for the housing stock what you get but the price tag hanging off them to buy is not the same.
So this blog post describes the small Maine real estate market and the adjustments caused by coronovirus.
We will be doing the next real estate market installment blog post as the numbers come in to know the effect of COVID19 on market listing sales. But we are seeing some second home vacationers who owned property have repositioned to Maine. Locals are not to wild about the influx but understand the high tail it to Maine. To get while the gettings good.
It's great if the transplants are healthy but what if you don't know if you have COVID19 or not? In our small circles and less population to work around Maine towns, we have coronovirus barriers in place. We practice the quarantine mandates outlined by the Maine REALTORS Association and Governor Mills executive order.
I was on a zoom meeting for the Maine Tourism Association this morning.
And the folks hurt the hardest are the ones with lots of equipment payments and staff. Like in the people moving business. The session included a couple enterprises with lots of buses, or tour boats that are idled. One bed and breakfast owner lamented cancellations and explained what their business would normally look like at this point in the season. How long with the lock down and adjustment protection barriers be in place is anyone's guess. Rather than predictions from me, I put my efforts into helping locals needing food, information, reassurance. As for my real estate business, the lobby door to the office is locked. But inside my secretary and I are busier than ever.
Listing and answering phones, responding to emails, setting up showings and closings with hands off, new creative ways.
We had lots of sales in the works. Spring has sprung and more coming together too. Cash for houses with no mortgage needed. Those low cost homes are being gobbled up in Maine. They don't exist in the Portland Maine market because of higher cost of living and demand. Our supply is larged for small affordable Maine homes.
The biggest perk these days especially is a video channel.
When your buyer is not able to travel like the coronovirus causes, when that buyer is from out of state, videos avoid the delay of "I guess I have to put everything on hold until I can get up there to see the place." Videos show and tell the property listing, the community it resides in. What's it like where I live? The community video channel tells the story and provides the local flavor. Stay safe, stay tuned for more on our Maine real estate market reports and how it gyrates good or bad or just the same due to coronovirus.
MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730 USA