If you bought a house at the peak of the real estate bubble and then watched your value tumble, congratulations: You’re back in the black.
Well, if you’re in Greater Portland. In fact, in Greater Portland, you’ve probably soared somewhat over what you paid back in the previous bubble. Here’s the graph for the past ten years of average sale prices in Portland.
The bubble is busting on the left side of this graph; values wallow for a few years; and then jump out of bed in 2012. Now we’re at a point where most people’s values are a click above the previous peak. In Greater Portland.
Let’s count our blessings. Here’s how other parts of the state are doing:
Local economic conditions, that’s the big lever on price of real estate.
So what do we do, as Maine’s agrarian and manufacturing economy continues to crumble, taking down communities that have stood for two hundred years? How does a society manage that? I find the question fascinating, in a painful kinda way.
We Euro-humans distributed ourselves across the landscape in a pattern dictated by water power and sheep pasture.
But we have outgrown water power, and synthetic fibers cost a fraction of what it takes to grow sheep. Our old patterns of living off the land are recorded in the houses of Washington County and Lewiston. But those old patterns don’t match the new economy.
Something will have to move.