Portland’s residential real estate market is headed into 2021 stronger than before the pandemic began.
December 2020 statistics, pulled from Maine’s Multiple Listing Service show a 23.5% increase in the median sales price, a 44.4% increase in number of sales, and a 61.9% decrease in the median days on the market over December of 2019. This was in stark contrast to a tough start to 2020, where both listings and sales fell off sharply when the pandemic hit and the City of Portland restricted most real estate activity, deeming much of the industry as non-essential. The data and graphs below show a clear dip in listings and sales that lasted five months. But, despite this the prolonged market slowdown, Portland’s market ended the year with only 8% fewer sales than the year before and a 2% increase in sales by volume. Additionally, the median sales price increased 12% and days on market decreased by 42% over 2019.
“Portland’s 2020 real estate market was unprecedented,” said owner, Tom Landry. “The year started as expected with the usual winter slowdown, then completely stopped as the world went into lockdown. Our usual spring rebound was delayed several months and then recovered to set new sales records every month.” Landry said the turnaround was fueled by several things. First, the backlog of sellers who intended to sell during the spring shutdown, ended up listing in the summer instead. Second, there was a massive increase in out-of-state buyer interest. Third, the low inventory for much of the year paired with high buyer demand created bidding wars, driving up sales prices. Fourth, interest rates remained at record lows throughout the year. Landry ended the year with the most residential Portland sales of any other agent. He expects the 2021 spring market to continue to set records with both a boost in inventory and continued growth in demand from out-of-state buyers. “Although no one can predict the future, what we saw in 2020 might be a precursor for things to come. I have been referring to this as our "Brooklyn Moment" he said, drawing parallels to the influx of people moving across the river from Manhattan following the tragedy of 9/11.
“For the past decade, Portland has appeared on so many ‘top lists’ for our food, our landscape, our family orientation, our culture, and our unique way of life. Now that more and more people can work from anywhere, I believe more of them will choose to live in Portland, Maine.” He said that this along with the worst surge of COVID19 our country has seen yet, could accelerate the relocation of those from larger metropolitan areas to Maine’s largest city in 2021.
The statistics below were prepared by Benchmark Real Estate using data from Maine Listings. The first set show December 2020 statistics contrasted with December 2019. The second show the same statistics comparing the entire year of 2020 with the numbers of 2019. The trends include an increase in sales prices and sales volume, and a decrease in days on market 2020. Also provided are monthly totals for listings and sales in 2019 and 2020. These stats clearly show the downturn the market took as COVID-19 hit. The trend then reversed, and listings and sales recovered and then surpassed 2019 numbers starting late summer. See the graphs below that clearly illustrate this.
Dec. 2020 vs. Dec. 2019
annual stats: 2020 vs. 2019
total sales & listings: residential, multi-family, land
highest & lowest sales of 2020