When the Covid-19 pandemic first escalated I found myself using the term uncharted waters often. I was navigating at least one Pending transaction in which the Buyers were hit with a lot of uncertainty about the economic fallout. Ultimately they pulled out of the deal but within a couple of weeks the property was back under contract. Many other Buyers with whom I was actively working with cancelled showings and declared they were in a holding pattern. I completely understand, and admittedly at first wasn’t keen on conducting showings. With an immune-compromised partner, my focus shifted to safety and I focused instead on getting the contracts I had in place to closing.
Prior to the early March unfolding of the virus, the market was as hot as I had seen it in my 14 years of practicing real estate. With pressure on inventory, pricing was driven up by multiple offers or simply strong offers from eager Buyers. The lack of available properties first became noticeable with slope side condos and eventually spread to single-family homes, mostly within the access road, but to some degree to any desirable property in a desirable price range. Land was not in the mix of a hot market, but more about land a bit later.
My Market Update includes the communities of Newry, Bethel, Hanover, Greenwood, Woodstock, Gilead and Albany.
From January 3, 2020, which was when I last posted, there were 28 home sales. In the same time period last year, there were 53 homes sales, with 15 above $300,000. The sales this year also included 15 sales above $300,000. The lower volume of sales is likely related to both the lower inventory and the marked decline in Pending sales following the outbreak. There were 11 sales in Bethel, ranging $250,000 to $490,000. Eight of the sales were chalets, and the highest selling properties were homes on Deer View Road (395,000), Eleanor Williams Drive ($395,900), Woodland Way ($440,000) and Katie View Road ($495,000).
In Newry, all six homes that sold were above $300,000, and this was largely due to the lower inventory bumping up pricing. Buyers who are here primarily for the resort tend toward access road properties and there are less spec homes being built in the past year, though that is changing now as well. The sales included three chalets on 10 Douglass Road ($359,000), 33 Douglass Road ($511,000) and Monkey Brook Road ($465,400). A home on Timberline Drive that had been extensively remodeled and added to, and has an easement to the Ridge Run Trail, sold for $1,050,000.
Other sales included two homes in South Pond Shores in Greenwood ($380,000 and $312,000), a duplex in Woodstock ($420,000) and a home in Hanover on Mooselook Lane for $415,000.
Probably the most consistent segment of the market to sell is condominiums, and 2020 has not changed. There were 24 total units sold and 15 were slope side, compared with 31 in the same time period last year. The sales included Tempest Ridge ($664,000), two in Merrill Brook (two-bedroom $425,000 and a one-bedroom $299,000), two in Locke Mountain ($535,000 and $510,000), a three-bedroom in South Ridge ($425,000), two two-bedrooms in North Peak ($265,000 and $235,000), two one-bedrooms in White Cap ($157,000 and $152,000), two in Fall Line (both $175,000), one in Sunrise ($196,500) and two studios in Brookside ($100,000 and $85,000).
Other off-mountain units to sell in Newry included two in Mountain Vista ($315,000 and $305,000). In Bethel, condos sold in Riverbend ($205,000), there in Eden Ridge ($150,000, $162,000 and $215,000). Others sold in Hanover ($89,000) and Greenwood ($96,000). There are currently six units Pending, four of which are in Newry, including three slope sides. And for the first time, there are a few available for Buyers to choose.
Land sales chugged along in this same period, with a total of 23 parcels, compared with 24 a year ago. The most was in Bethel, with sales ranging from $15,500 to $45,000. The highest selling parcel was in Newry along the Barker Mountain Road, where the new home owners will be able to cross the street to the trail – it sold for $330,000 and the Buyers have wasted no time in getting a house under construction. Other parcels sold in Greenwood (three from $30,500 to $64,000), Albany ($27,000 and $30,000), three in Woodstock from $35,000 to $90,000, two in Hanover ($23,000 and $37,500) and finally, a Gilead parcel sold for $95,000.
I always tell my clients that like all of us, I don’t have a crystal ball how the pandemic will ultimately impact the market. But what I do is closely watch indicators and pay attention to the profiles of new Buyers and the habits of Buyers with whom I had been actively working. What I see is pre-Covid 19 Buyers resurfacing, either with a reach out to check in, or to schedule viewings, whether virtual or in person. And there is a whole new segment of parties interested in owning property in our beautiful area of Maine so they have a retreat abode to enjoy with their families, whether under the guidance of quarantine orders or simply to take a breather in life and spend quality time with loved ones.
In recent weeks, I am getting more interest in new Buyers looking for land parcels. Many seek refuge type parcels where they can get space and privacy.
I stay in touch with other brokers in other regions, and especially in southern Maine, I have learned the market is following the same pattern as the Sunday River region. After a three to four-week period of stagnancy, the market is active again. Pricing has at this point not adjusted. Second-homeowners in particular, or those who are able to work from home during this crisis, are less affected economically. Whether you are thinking of Buying or Selling, there shouldn’t be a hesitation to move forward because I am not finding a deadening of the market due to the pandemic. Yes, we are still in uncharted waters, but the wake had calmed and feels less threatening than it did a month ago and the horizon is in sight.