Maine’s high trip areas, together with Bethel and Rangeley, are seeing sturdy demand for second properties, bucking a nationwide pattern exhibiting a dramatic drop in purchases.
The actual property web site Redfin discovered greater than a 50 p.c drop in these wanting to purchase second properties throughout the nation in contrast with pre-pandemic ranges, pushed down by increased rates of interest.
However that isn’t the case in Maine’s trip locations, that are seeing extra demand than provide of second properties and continued excessive costs. The state grew to become a secure haven for out-of-state consumers in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for second properties has not abated, actual property brokers stated, with extra Mainers additionally shopping for property in childhood trip spots.
Rangeley, a bucolic western Maine city of 1,200 in Franklin County, noticed a “coronavirus increase” together with the 2020 sale of the Saddleback Mountain ski resort to Boston traders who upgraded it. Gross sales proceed at a brisk tempo, stated Jamie Eastlack, co-owner of Morton & Furbish Actual Property in Rangeley.
“Prior to now 12 months, we’ve seen extra new individuals come right here,” he stated. “The pandemic and Saddleback put Rangeley again on the map.”
The pandemic drove gross sales up sharply beginning in summer season 2020, when the variety of all single-family properties offered in Franklin County rose by 30 p.c in contrast with 2019, a lot increased than the state common of 20 p.c, in response to Maine Listings knowledge. The median dwelling value rose 26 p.c to $194,000 in contrast with summer season 2019. This February, the median value was $225,000.
About 90 p.c of Eastlack’s gross sales are to second-home house owners, who occupy a majority of the city, he stated. Most consumers nonetheless come from different states, primarily Massachusetts. However since Saddleback was reinvigorated, lots of consumers from southern Maine are shifting nearer to ski there. Eastlack stated gross sales close to Saddleback far exceed these on the lake.
“We’re 4 hours from Boston and have a ski mountain and deep lakes with nice fishing,” he stated.
Rangeley and different areas of Maine nonetheless have lots of money gross sales. Redfin’s knowledge present that elsewhere within the nation, the chief deterrents to second-home purchases are rising mortgage charges and better mortgage charges. Some 52 p.c fewer consumers locked in mortgage charges for second properties in March in contrast with pre-pandemic ranges in early 2020, whereas there was a 13 p.c lower for main dwelling loans, Redfin discovered. The research didn’t embody money consumers.
Redfin additionally cited the rising expense for second properties, together with increased mortgage charges added by the federal authorities in 2022, as causes. The everyday second dwelling throughout the U.S. was value $465,000 in 2022 in contrast with $375,000 for a main dwelling.
Excessive costs could also be driving potential consumers to markets resembling Greenville, a city of 1,400 on the decrease finish of Moosehead Lake in Piscataquis County. The median gross sales value of a house was $166,000 in February, in response to Maine Listings.
As in Rangeley, most properties are second properties owned by snowbirds or vacationers. Agent Mark Taylor of Higgins & Taylor Actual Property is seeing consumers and renters keep longer throughout winter than prior to now for cross-country snowboarding and snowshoeing on Mount Kineo.
He stated individuals who have been vacationing in Greenville since childhood are actually shopping for properties there. The uptick in distant work in the course of the pandemic additionally has boosted gross sales.
“We’re seeing lots of Mainers purchase second properties right here, many from Portland,” he stated. “Individuals from New York and Massachusetts aren’t as dominating as they was once.”
Winter actions are also a attract Bethel, a city of two,500 in Oxford County close to the Sunday River ski resort. Cindy Hiebert, proprietor at Mahoosuc Realty, is seeing very excessive demand this spring, the bulk for second properties. Most consumers are from the Boston space and half are paying with money.
There are extra homes available on the market this 12 months, in response to agent Sally Harkins of Sally Harkins & Co. in close by Newry. Meaning fewer a number of presents, though costs haven’t decreased. And consumers from southern Maine are increasing their searches to Bethel, she stated.
“There are extra properties to have a look at now for consumers,” she stated.
That’s not the case on Maine’s fascinating midcoast, the place a scarce quantity of second properties promote as quick as they arrive onto the market, which is uncommon, in response to Bruce Tindal of Tindal & Callahan Actual Property in Boothbay.
“They’re nearly non-existent,” he stated.
Stock is also tight within the Lakes Area in southwestern Maine, which incorporates the cities of Bridgton and Naples. Demand stays excessive, particularly from consumers in Massachusetts and Florida, stated Diane Monaco, affiliate dealer at Sundown Lakes Actual Property in Casco. She suspects the drop in gross sales throughout the nation displays fewer second properties on the market. However there nonetheless are lots of potential purchasers.
“Consumers are nonetheless all of the properties that come available on the market,” she stated.