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Date Archives: August 2022

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August
29

Today's housing market conditions are truly unique and have never been seen before. The genesis of this housing cycle came about as a result of the 2008 Great Financial Crisis (GCF). The GFC and related housing crash caused a contraction in the broader housing industry and those effects are still with us today.  

At that time, homeownership rates for American families were at 69%, the highest they have even been, and the annual residential resales were nearly 7 million units. This is compared to today's rates of 64% and 5 million respectively. As we can see by these numbers, this housing cycle is far off that of the GFC. 

The story of today's market is about inventory and demographics. One of the major ripples from the GFC is that home building production and builders were each negatively impacted. The production of new residential housing units has escalated by 40% over the last 10 years, while the population continues to grow. This has been exacerbated by a cumbersome and expensive approval process at the state and local levels for new homesites and other forms of housing.    

Two demographic trends  are also putting significant pressure on the existing housing supply. First, 62 million millennials have come of age and are entering the housing market in large numbers. The notion that was held several years ago that millennials would not be homeowners (which always seemed surprisingly naïve) has proven to be grossly incorrect. As they are entering the family formation stage of their lives, they want the same sense of home for their children as they had growing up and this generation has proven to be more financially stable from a younger age than previous generations 

The second trend is the 55 million Baby Boomers who are living healthier and longer lives, therefore are staying in the housing market beyond expectations and in many cases remaining in their family home. What might be a starter home for a millennial could be a retirement home for a Baby Boomer. In many cases, both groups are competing for the same limited supply of inventory.   

Is This a Housing Bubble Like '08? 

The short answer is no. As previously mentioned, the dynamics of this market are entirely different than those of any other time. It is the quintessence of a classic supply and demand relationship. In fact, this is textbook Economics 101 where there are more consumers than available product. 

There are also significant fundamental factors in today's housing cycle as compared to those that triggered the GFC 14 years ago.   

Here is a comparison:  

  • Required credit scores for today's buyers are significantly higher. 
  • General mortgage underwriting standards are far more stringent today.  
  • There was an oversupply of housing in 2008, not so in today's market. 
  • Speculation was rampant in 2008, very little speculation today. 
  • Exotic mortgage programs with low first year teaser rates, subprime underwriting, interest only loans and so on, were common to attract the less qualified borrower to the market.  By and large those programs are not prevalent today. 
  • Household and corporate balance sheets today are at their highest levels in recent memory. 
  • Home equity loan usage is very low today compared to the GFC period. 

What's Next for Housing? 

Because of the inventory and demographic factors, we have discussed that the seeds were sown for this tight housing market, regardless of the Pandemic. The Pandemic certainly heightened the inventory tension, but on its own the Pandemic didn't create the market. 

Issues such as demographics and inventory shortages are long term in their development, therefore long term in their solutioning. These conditions will remain in place for many years. At the current rate of new construction home starts and given the numerous demographic cohorts interacting with housing, the market could upwards to a decade behind in supplying adequate inventory.   

It is certainly not hard to reason that consecutive years at 20% appreciation is not sustainable.  What we are seeing in the second half of 2022 is a slow down to more sustainable levels of activities so consumers and prices can both catch their breath. More reasonable annual appreciation rates in the range of 7-12% which are strong historically, are likely in the years to come as the market ebbs and flows in concert with other economic influences. Although interest rates have recently increased, they are well within historically low levels as well. A negative equity scenario would be hard to imagine given the long-term prospects of an imbalance in the supply to demand relationship.

August
22

trail mix

Is trail mix the perfect food? Also known by the whimsical name of "gorp," trail mix is nutritious, portable, and easy to make yourself. Join our real estate agents in celebrating National Trail Mix Day on Wednesday, August 31 by whipping up a batch of one (or more!) of these great trail mix recipes.

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August
15

Water Softener Tips

If your home has hard water, a water softener is an excellent addition to your property to help you reduce your water consumption, enhance the quality of your water, and get your dishes and clothes as clean as possible.

Like any system, a water softener needs periodic attention to function properly. Our real estate agents suggest following these maintenance tips to prolong the lifespan of your water softener and maximize its performance. 

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August
8

Maine Oysters

The oyster industry in Maine doubled in size between 2020 and 2021, with new oyster farmers setting up shop to help keep up with high demand. Of course, fresh, local oysters are a common sight on tables at seafood restaurants across Maine, and locals get to enjoy the harvest before anyone else.

Maine oysters are popular in part because there's so much diversity, with a wide variety of flavors depending on where the oyster was harvested from and what its environment was like. Feeling hungry yet? Our real estate agents have all of the delicious details on this local delicacy in your guide to Maine oysters.

Why the Taste of Maine Oysters Depends on the Environment

Maine oysters are renowned because they come in so many different, subtle flavors, and we have the state's diverse ecology to thank for that fact. That's because the flavor characteristics of each oyster differ depending on the environment where the oyster has grown. Even two oysters of the same exact type will have different flavors if they are harvested from different environments.

While the Damariscotta River estuary is Maine's largest source of oysters, they're harvested from locations all across the state. Oysters take on different flavors depending on the saltiness of the water, the water temperatures where they grow, the mineral content of the mud, and even the plant life that grows around them. The diverse aquatic environments of Maine provide endless opportunities for oyster farmers to cultivate unique flavors.

Common Types of Maine Oysters

Now that you know a little more about what makes Maine oysters special, it's time to take a closer look at some of the most popular oyster varieties that you'll find here. Each has its own unique flavor profile and characteristics.

  • Bagaduce Rivers
    One of the most popular types of oysters found in Maine, Bagaduce Rivers, take their name from an Indian word meaning "fast water." They have a fruity, creamy flavor and are often a bit smaller than other types of oysters.

  • Glidden Point
    Glidden Point oysters are known for their larger size and are harvested from the Damariscotta River estuary. They have a slightly salty taste and a crisp texture that adds to their complexity of flavor.

  • Pemaquid
    Some of the largest, plumpest oysters are of the Pemaquid variety, which feature rich, briny flavor and are typically found in cold water environments. Like the Glidden Point variety, Pemaquid oysters are harvested from the Damariscotta River.

  • Basket Island
    Sometimes, good things come in small packages. That's the case with the Basket Island oyster variety, which is smaller in size but packs a ton of flavor into every bite. Harvested from Casco Bay, this variety has a sweet, salty flavor that provides the perfect introduction to Maine oysters.

These are just a few of the most popular varieties. The great thing about Maine oysters is that there are so many more flavors to try, so you can sample different types until you find your favorite.

Where to Find Maine Oysters to Enjoy

  • Maine Oyster Company – 38 Portland St., Portland, ME 04101
    No matter where you're located, the Maine Oyster Company is ready to provide you with oysters that are as fresh as it gets. Live near Portland? Then you can visit the Maine Oyster Company headquarters yourself and experience the incredible selection of oysters that they have to offer. If you live elsewhere and have been craving a taste of home, the Maine Oyster Company offers overnight shipping of fresh oysters. They also have a second location in Portland, a dedicated oyster bar where you can sample Maine oysters, lobster rolls, and an outstanding selection of Maine craft beers.

  • The Maine Oyster Trail
    Interested in turning your love of oysters into a statewide journey? The Maine Oyster Trail will take you to destinations all across Maine, from Portland to Presque Isle, in search of the perfect oyster. The Maine Oyster Trail features tons of oyster-related activities, including farm tours, kayak tours, raw bars, restaurants, and even food trucks. You can pick up a Maine Oyster Passport to aid you as you travel the trail, allowing you to check in at participating businesses, keep track of the locations that you've explored, and earn some fun rewards along the way. With 75 different businesses to experience, it's easy to customize your trip to your unique preferences.

  • Maine Oyster Festival – Freeport, ME 04032
    Would you prefer if the Maine Oyster Trail came to you? The Maine Oyster Festival brings together hundreds of Maine's oyster farmers, restaurants, shuckers, and industry experts for a fun, flavorful celebration of Maine oysters. The event typically takes place in June, with the next edition set for June 23-25, 2023.

If you love seafood, you won't find a better place than Maine to call home. When you're ready to find your next home, our team is here to help with all of your Maine real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes in your favorite Maine communities.

August
1

Front Yard Tips

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. The same holds true when it comes to selling your home. 

Your front yard is at the center of your home's curb appeal, which is a term used to describe how your home appears from the street. If you think about it, your front yard is the first thing people see when pulling up to your home. It's clearly visible to visitors, anyone who drives by, Google Maps, and most importantly, potential buyers who are thinking about scheduling a tour of your listing. 

As a result, our real estate agents always recommend giving your front yard a bit of extra love before listing your home on the market. Luckily, there are many easy and affordable ways to improve your yard this summer. If you want to make your yard stand out, we have a list of ideas for you:

Click Here to Read More...

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