Home News Lewiston, Auburn’s ‘booming’ housing market takes center stage at annual real estate conference

Lewiston, Auburn’s ‘booming’ housing market takes center stage at annual real estate conference

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The commercial building, a 19,600 square foot retail space at 1830 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, leased in November 2022 under a triple net lease of $5.50 per square foot. Frank Carr, senior vice president of Maine Realty Advisors, forecast on Thursday that commercial real estate growth will continue as more people move to Lewiston and Auburn. Darrin Slover/Sun Journal

PORTLAND — Lewiston and Auburn were the stars of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association’s annual forecasting conference at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena on Thursday.

More than 800 professionals attended the conference billed as “a sneak peek into Maine’s real estate industry.” “Booming” growth in the Lewiston and Auburn housing markets was a major theme throughout the day, as her director of MEREDA, Shelly Clark, put it.

Britt Vitalius, founder and appointed broker of Portland-based Vitalius Real Estate Group, said, “There’s a lot of opportunity and excitement in the Lewiston-Auburn area and it’s the sales activity that we see there. It is reflected in,” he said. in an interview on Friday.

“The area has struggled for years to enjoy the levels of prices and prosperity and investment that have benefited other communities in southern Maine. And that’s reflected in pricing and sales activity,” said Vitalius, who specializes in selling multifamily homes in Southern Maine.

A multi-family property is basically any property that has multiple separate family units. These range from small properties of 2-4 units to large commercial properties of 5 units or more.

Compared to Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Bidford and Saco multifamily markets, total sales volume (sum of all property transactions made in a year) will increase in 2022 compared to 2021 Only the Twin Cities did.

Last year, 193 multifamily homes were sold in Lewiston and Auburn, with total sales of $59 million, a 31% increase over 2021, according to data provided by Vitalius.

The total number of multifamily homes sold in Lewiston and Auburn is also higher than any other market in Southern Maine, with Portland being the second largest with 139 properties sold.

“High demand for housing everywhere is impacting all of Portland’s markets, and Lewiston and Auburn have a lot of homes, so if you want to build more homes or improve your existing homes, look here. It’s the perfect place for us,” says Vitalius.

“Lewiston is being kicked out of Portland,” said Frank Kerr, a broker and senior vice president of Maine Realty Advisors in Portland, who works in offices, retail, industrial real estate and housing.

Carr, Vitalius, and other presenters addressed Portland’s Rent Control Ordinance. was unpopular mainly among landlordsand other policies restricted development and made the available housing stock more expensive and of lower quality.

“It stopped the landlord from improving the product,” says Carr.

He said landlords have no capital and no incentive to repair apartments between tenants.

The 8,600-square-foot commercial building at 410 Center Street in Auburn sold in May 2022 for $3.43 million. Frank Kerr, senior vice president of Maine Realty Advisors, said Thursday that commercial buildings will grow as more people move to Lewiston and Auburn. followed by real estate. Darrin Slover/Sun Journal

Meanwhile, Lewiston and Auburn have benefited from “positive and proactive outreach” by city leaders to attract investors, Vitalias said.

“What’s happening in Lewiston and Auburn is that the products are being made, they’re better quality, they’re at different price points. says Carr.

While sales and leases of office and retail space declined in 2022, and industrial markets in Lewiston and Auburn saw only modest gains, Carr said he expects more growth as more people move to the region. We predicted that many businesses would want to open an office or retail space.

“Based on the echo effect, we see an increase in transactions in offices, retail and industrial areas as we see a job base that those large corporate clients can draw from. And Lewiston and Auburn are desirable relocation destinations. It will be the place.”

One of the big challenges cities face moving forward is how to grow without becoming out of reach or displacing current residents, Vitalius said.

“If they can strike the right balance, build new homes, and meet demand for housing, they may do better than communities like Portland, which don’t want rents to rise, but they’re developing.” ,” he said.

“If Lewiston-Auburn does the opposite, it can embrace improvements while also creating more affordable housing. Hopefully, it will survive this transition better than other communities.” can.”

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