2020 is finally, thankfully, receding in the rear-view mirror. It was a difficult year, and our thoughts go out to all of those who have suffered from the effects of this pandemic.
As the pandemic gained speed in the U.S., by the end of March, the real estate market slowed to a near halt and we waited to see what would happen. Buyers stopped in their tracks with some pulling the plug on deals, while Sellers hesitated to place their properties on the market.
Gradually, the immediate future came into focus as working from home evolved into a movement away from the urban cores towards suburban and rural locations. Buyers wanted more space, both indoor and outdoor. Existing inventory began to shrink as buyers made their moves and new inventory came on the market to be quickly placed under contract with the increased activity. These markets shifted from a Seller’s to a Buyer’s market over the course of the summer – more quickly in those markets that had been in demand (southern Maine and Vermont), with more of a lag in the Midcoast and DownEast. By August and September, the tide had turned, and the Sellers were in charge and inventory was tight. This was especially true for properties in the $1M to $2M range. See the following charts.
LandVest had a record year with just over $1B in total sales, both Residential and Timberland Divisions, and over $400M in properties under contract. Our three Maine offices had a combined total of more than $166M in residential sales with $50M in Camden, almost $46M in Northeast Harbor and over $70M in our Portland office. We have added two new residential sales offices in Woods Hole, MA and in Stowe, VT as well as expanded our Real Estate Consulting Group adding three experienced consultants, one of whom has MAI and CRE designations. Our new website is up and running allowing comprehensive search functions and maximum exposure for our properties’ most appealing attributes.
Here in the Camden office, we had a very productive year with top residential sales of Lyndonwood, Northeast Point and The Community House in Camden and Rockport. In Saint George, the sale of a lovely cottage compound on Hupper Island was a record for the year and the sale of Prospect Cottage in Cushing, the sale of Still Point in Friendship, and the sale of Captain Crabtree House on North Haven were all at the top of their respective markets. Two properties currently under agreement will also be at the top of their markets: Rockport Harbor Residence in Rockport and 219 East Blue Hill Road in Blue Hill, both expected to close early in 2021.
We were also very pleased to conclude the sale of Clark Island to Maine Coast Heritage Trust after four years of negotiation led to a two-year Option to Purchase, extensive fundraising by MCHT and a closing in July. This sale will provide public access to over 110± acres with over 10,700± feet of spectacular waterfront and a large swimming quarry. The island is accessed by causeway and overlaid with the history of the granite industry and the community that was active in the 1890s.
For those who are interested, I would highly recommend Colin Woodward’s history of Maine, The Lobster Coast. This was brought back into focus by an article in a recent Boston Sunday Globe titled “Maine Can Finally Get Out of Massachusetts’s Shadow;” read the full article here. This piece concludes on quite an optimistic note regarding the dynamics affecting Maine’s economy, and thus the real estate market.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you if we can be of assistance.
All the best for a peaceful and prosperous 2021!
Banner Image: Aspinwall, Bremen Long Island, Available