‘Caution and optimism’ advised as real estate index dips

Maine real estate activity dropped off in the fall, but remains well above lows during the recession, according to a composite index of commercial, residential and construction activity in the state.

The index created by the Maine Real Estate and Developers Association, or MEREDA, dipped to its benchmark level of 100 in the third quarter of 2015, a level on par with the first quarter of 2006.

Michael O’Reilly, president of MEREDA and a senior VP of commercial banking at Bangor Savings Bank, said despite the dip in the index, “it is still a very solid indicator of the strength of the market.”

“Commercial real estate activity continues to be a strong driver for the positive index trends — but, for the first time, residential activity was a big contributor as well,” O’Reilly said in a news release about the latest index numbers.

Vin Veroneau, president and CEO at commercial property manager J.B. Brown and Sons, said the Greater Portland market will likely continue to grow, but some economic forces like rising interest rates and labor costs in a tight market for skilled tradespeople could slow development across the state.

“We are in a part of the real estate cycle when a balance of caution and optimism is the order of the day,” Veroneau said in a news release.

MEREDA presented the latest index figures during its annual forecasting conference Thursday in Portland.

See the full report on the quarterly index below (click the box at bottom-left to expand in a new window).  

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.