Maine Real Estate – Happy Wednesday! It is busy ar…

Maine Real Estate – Happy Wednesday! It is busy around here and quiet at the same time. Sue is on a well deserved vacation in Florida and has been gone 7 days. Since her departure we have listed one home, and have had two go under contract. And the leads keep coming in….

Julia has left for vacation also. She left on Tuesday and frankly I’m wondering what we’ll do without her (and Sue). But, If we can do the kind of business we had when Sue left, maybe it’ll double now that Julia has gone! Tammy will be holding down the fort.

In other news:

  1. Mortgage rates and applications are up: Mortgage interest rates hit their highest level in nearly four years this week. The average rates on 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose to 6.43 percent, according to Freddie Mac, up from 5.93 percent a year ago. At the same time, demand for home loans is also up, says the Mortgage Bankers Association. Although interest rates are within a percentage point of their lowest point in forty years, consumers are seeking to lock in rates before they go any higher. The fact that more people are applying for mortgages may be a good sign for the spring market. “Many homes go on the market in the first days of spring, and this is the first real evidence that buyers are taking a fresh look at the market,” Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi economist Chris Rupkey told Bloomberg News.
  2. Hundreds of Maine houses on market for more than $1 million:
    POLAND, Maine –The million-dollar home used to be a rarity in Maine. Now you can find hundreds of them on the market.
    The real estate boom of recent years has pushed up the number of homes in Maine with price tags in excess of $1 million.
    There are now 416 houses for sale in the state with an asking price of $1 million or more, while another 28 have sales pending, according to Colon Durrell, president of the Maine Real Estate Information System and a real estate agent in Wilton. In the past year, 196 houses have sold for more than $1 million.
    Those numbers don’t surprise Valerie Lamont, director of the Institute for Real Estate Research and Business at the University of Southern Maine.
    Part of push comes from the baby-boom generation that is looking for investment opportunities and for second homes that have the potential to become year-round homes.
    “Certainly the limited discussions I’ve had suggest it’s the out-of-staters pushing this market,” Lamont said.
    One of those pricey homes is an 8,000 square-foot house with 550 feet of frontage on Tripp Lake in Poland owned by Rose Aikman, who converted it into a bed and breakfast in 1996. Aikman is now ready for a rest, and is asking just shy of $1.5 million, including furniture, linen and china.
    Aikman admits it takes a lot to keep up a home with 11 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and extensive landscaping. But real estate agent Terry Hewitt was more pragmatic.
    “If you’re buying a million-and-a-half house, you’ll hire someone to clean for you,” Hewitt said.
    Hewitt has shown the property to some people interested in using it for a single-family residence and others wanting to keep it as an inn.
    Home & Garden Television last week featured a house in Newry that is for sale for $1.55 million on its “What You Get for the Money” show.
    Matt Hiebert, associate broker and director of marketing at Mahoosuc Realty, which is listing the house, has noticed an upswing in pricey listings in the last few years.
    “It seemed three or four years ago, that a $300,000 house was a lot of money,” he said.
    The million-dollar homes take longer to sell, Hiebert said. After all, not that many can afford a monthly mortgage of $5,000 or more.
    “Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut is really where we focus our advertising,” he said. “It’s amazing to be able to think what their primary home is like if this is their second home.”
    Some of the common denominators among the million-dollar listings are water access or mountain views, as well as amenities ranging from media rooms to heated garages to a “state-of-the-art bathroom.”
    “They need to have, obviously, something that sets it apart from a usual house,” said Hewitt.
    Information from: Sun-Journal,