Maine’s Hottest Towns of 2017: Real Estate Matters
January 22, 2018 | Rob Edgerley
State and national news were filled with stories about real estate this past year: Prices were up and demand was high in most areas especially in Southern Maine.  

This year’s annual list of the Hottest Towns in Maine in terms of the real estate market provides a look back at what happened and where. To find the winners, we gather data from the  MLS run by Maine Real Estate Information Services Inc. to calculate which Maine municipalities had the largest increases in the number of home and condo sales in 2017 and we then compare these to 2016 numbers.
 
Once again, this year’s list includes a mix of municipalities from throughout the state but there are several surprises, including the town that took the #1 spot in its debut appearance on the list. Read on to see what town that is!
Now, to Maine’s Hottest Towns of 2017…
 
#10 SCARBOROUGH
Relative to some of Maine’s other Hottest Towns, Scarborough’s statistics might seem mellow -- an increase in number of homes sold of 3% with prices rising by 2.74% -- but for a town of about 19,000 people, Scarborough has been a hotbed of real estate activity. In 2017, 409 homes were sold in Scarborough with an average price tag of $375,000. Scarborough is particularly rich in history. Prout’s Neck, for example, became famous as the place where Winslow Homer painted, but it is also where author Stephen King grew up and it is now the part-time home of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Scarborough is also the home of Maine Life Real Estate Co..

#9 GORHAM
Gorham is best known as the home of the largest campus of the University of Southern Maine. It is a town of about 16,000 and is home to about 10 smaller villages, such as Dog Corner and Little Falls. Gorham was also the home of Percival Baxter, Maine’s 53rd governor and philanthropic naturalist for whom Baxter State Park is named. Gorham was also one of the Hottest Towns in 2017 with a 3.32% increase in the number of homes sold (280) and a leap in median price from $260,800 to $296,250, a whopping increase of 13.59%.

#8 WATERBORO
The local Abenakis originally called the area “Massabesic,” meaning "the place of much water," and Waterboro is indeed a place of many lakes and rivers. This is why in the 1960s it came to be home the largest development in southern Maine, Lake Arrowhead Community. And for this reason, Waterboro became part of Maine’s real estate history: It inspired the state legislation regarding subdivision regulation and planning boards. As of 2010, there were 7,693 people living in Waterboro, 2,775 households, and 2,095 families residing in the town. In 2017, 180 homes were sold -- an increase of more than 4% over 2016. Growing more rapidly, however, were the prices of the homes: The average sale price in 2016 rose from about $163,000 to about $183,000 in 2017, an increase of 12.30%.

#7 WELLS
One of Maine’s oldest towns, Wells was incorporated in 1653. With its more than 7 miles of beaches, Wells is an extremely popular summer tourist destination. Nestled between Kennebunk and Ogunquit in York County, Wells is drained by the Webhannet (which means “clear stream” in Abenaki) River. For a town of about 10,000 residents, Wells saw a flurry of real estate transactions in 2017 with the sale of 384 homes, an increase of 5.06% from 2016. Wells also saw a huge leap in the price of home sales as they jumped 18.43% from an average of about $260,000 in 2016 to almost $308,000 in 2017.

#6 LEWISTON
Lewiston is the only municipality to make the Hottest List in both 2016 and 2017.  Lewiston cooled from a 21% increase in the number of sales to an increase of 7.54% from 2016 to 2017. However, the median price for a home moved from a 3% increase to a huge leap of 11.40% from 2016 to 2017 with average prices rising from $125,000 to $139,250. Once known for its textile mills and factories that are now being redeveloped on the scenic Androscoggin River, Lewiston’s downtown is reinventing itself with cafes, restaurants, bars and breweries. Led by one of the nation’s leading small liberal arts colleges, Bates, Lewiston is also blossoming as a place of arts and culture.

#5 CAPE ELIZABETH
Famously scenic, Cape Elizabeth is located on the coast just south of Portland.It is where Edward Hopper and so many others have famously painted the iconic Portland Head Light. While it is one of the most pictured lighthouses in the world, it is known locally as the “beacon” in the popular Beach to Beacon 10K road race that starts at Crescent Beach State Park. Cape is an affluent community that saw the average price of home sales rise 10.47% to $475,000. The 189 homes sold in 2017 represented an 8.62% increase from 2016.

#4 STANDISH
Founded on the banks of Sebago Lake, Standish is a recreational area and suburb of Portland. The area was once Abenaki hunting and fishing grounds. The town named for Captain Myles Standish was settled in 1752 and incorporated in 1785. The lake town with a population of 10,000 saw a very hot 9.21% increase in the number of homes sold from 2016 to 2017 -- from 152 to 166. Along with this increase in market activity, Standish saw the median sale price rise about 7% to more thanr $230,000.

#3 HAMPDEN
Because it is located on a handsome and strategically located point of the Penobscot River, Hampden has been home to some historic moments, including a battle of the War of 1812 which resulted in the scuttling and burning of the USS Adams, a 750 man frigate. Hampden was also the hometown of Hannibal Hamlin, Vice President under Abraham Lincoln. More recently, Hampden witnessed a 10.37% jump in the number of homes sold in 2017. The 149 homes sold for a median price of $195,000, a 6.56% increase from 2016.

#2 BRIDGTON
Picturesque Bridgton is best known as a resort town in Maine's Lakes Region. Located at the western end of Cumberland County, Bridgton is home to the renowned private prep school Bridgton Academy, Pondicherry Park and Shawnee Peak Ski Area. The town of 5,000 inhabitants saw a 14.29% increase in the number of homes sold from 2016 to 2017. Along with this increase, the average sale price rose from $166,750 to $176,750.

#1 WATERVILLE
Waterville saw an almost 30% jump in the number of homes sold from 2016 to 2017. Leapfrogging from 123 homes sold in 2016 to 159 in 2017, Waterville didn’t even make the top 20 Hottest Towns of 2016. Along with this first place increase in volume was a $10,000 jump in the average price -- an increase of 9.85%. Nestled on the banks of the heroic and historic Kennebec River, Waterville is undergoing a downtown renaissance with new hotels, galleries and restaurants coming in. Home to Colby College and Thomas College and an international film festival, Waterville is a regional cultural center, led by Colby College, home to the largest college art museum in America.

“Based on information from the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (d/b/a Maine Listings) for the period January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.”
 
Based in expertise and market analytics, we at Maine Life Real Estate Co.  use a proven, repeatable system to net sellers more money when selling and save buyers thousands of dollars when buying a home.

The true value in what we do comes not from our long-standing professional experience, but in our ability to create real relationships with our clients and help them find the perfect home that fits their life.

Our ability to navigate the housing market can make your home buying or selling experience truly stress free.  We want to change what you believe a real estate agent can be by earning your trust through personal collaboration, expert advice, and genuine care

If you would like more information, please visit www.MaineLifeRealEstate.com, call the office at 207-303-0610 or email the staff at info@maineliferealty.com.
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