Maine real estate monthly report.

LookinMaine real estate monthly report.

Lookin’ alive, Maine! The past quarter has seen a perkier market in all but one county. (‘Sup, Sagadahoc? I thought Bath Iron Works was on a hiring binge.)

The first three columns of that table address the number of houses sold this quarter versus the same quarter a year ago–it’s a measure of how easy (or hard) it is to get out from under a house you don’t want.

But the second three columns remind you that opportunity is not equal. These columns address any change in the average sale price, this quarter over the same quarter a year back. A big change in that average price can mean a couple things:

1: A big, expensive house sold, and its price is pushing the average around. Check the “volume” columns — a small volume of sales leaves the average price vulnerable to weirdo sales.

2: Sellers are SICK OF THIS AND GETTING OUT OF HERE EVEN IF WE TAKE A BATH ON THE PRICE! This  might explain Lincoln County, where the number of sales is up, but the price is way down.

When you look at the populous counties (York, Cumberland, Kennebec) you find smaller swings from quarter to quarter: A high “n” (number of data points) produces a more reliable signal of where people are going.





Weird, still weird in Maine: not enough houses where people want them (intown Portland, pretty much, or a second home on water); and too many, faaaaaar too many, in much of the remaining acreage of this post-industrial landscape.

I often wish it were easier to slide houses around, or helivac them to where they’re wanted. Whenever we visit my inlaws in Glens Falls, NY, I get misty about the fabulous old Victorians, Greek Revivals, Brick Behemoths, and Umpteen-Gabled Bungalows. Many of them are empty, crumbling, bed sheets across the windows. If they were in Portland, they’d be inhabited, and adored.

People used to move houses a lot more than they do now, by ice or water, or ox-team. Now that houses are quicker to build and expensiver to move, we’ve kind of quit.

Since humans left home, our species has faced this problem. We’re restless by necessity. We must follow food, whether it’s in the form of wildlife or jobs. If our shelters can’t be rolled up and dragged along, they must be left behind.

The abandoned and unloved houses haunt me. They were built to solve an urgent human problem, and often the artistic ideals of the builders were recorded in the process–as were the additions and subtractions of future inhabitants. And then they’re left, these rooted, semi-living things, to die.

Pretty philosophical, for a sheet of number, perhaps. I plead extenuating circumstances.