With interest rates still at an all-time low and the inventory of available housing strong, prospective home buyers and home sellers have lots to be happy about in the current real estate market.

“It is affordable and the timing is right,” said Terry Pomerleau, broker and owner of Belanger Realty in Poland, Maine. “Buyers are jumping in.”

Pomerleau smiles when talking about the current prospects for home buyers. There are many options available whether considering property in the Twin Cities, in surrounding rural communities or by some of the area’s lakeside locations.

“While there has been a small hike in interest rates for loans, the rates are still among the lowest we’ve seen in decades,” said Pomerleau. “There is a lot of activity with properties.”

Pomerleau noted that the market is rebounding nicely from the dip in home prices in recent years. She’s even seeing interest in new construction, an area of the industry that hasn’t had much activity.

“I’ve recently sold six house lots,” said Pomerleau. “It is nice to see this kind of activity.”

Norm Brodeur, owner of Legacy Realty in Lewiston, believes that the central Maine area offers more “bang for the buck” when it comes to housing choices.

“We have it all,” said Brodeur. “Rural areas, inland properties, recreation, city amenities and easy access to the coast. We see lots of interest from the Portland area because people can get more for their money outside of the city. The housing is more affordable and they don’t mind the commute to the city.”

Brenda Fontaine, owner of Fontaine — The Real Estate Leader in Auburn, agreed that the buying power is in the hands of the consumer.

“Many people realize that it is often cheaper to buy a house than it is to rent an apartment or house,” said Fontaine. “The opportunity is there for buyers with good credit.”

Fontaine added that there are programs available to assist buyers that require very little or no money down on the purchase of a home.

“Talking with a lender can be very helpful,” said Fontaine.

Some quick housing facts for Androscoggin County from the U.S. Census:

Housing units in 2011 were 49,186.

Homeownership rate from 2007-2011 was 67.2 percent.

Median value of owner-occupied housing units from 2007-2011 was $157,100.

Median household income from 2007-2011 was $45,699.

Another helpful source of real estate information is the free public access to the Registry of Deeds records site at www.androscoggindeeds.com/. No login or password is necessary. Images can be viewed, but cannot be printed or copied.

Available on the site are:

Recorded Land indexes and images of documents from 1975 to present.

Recorded Land Scanned Index by name from 1854 to 1975.

Images of documents from 1854 to the present.

Recorded Land Plan indexes and images from 1854 to present.

Tax Maps available on the site excluding Auburn and Lewiston.

Other miscellaneous plans and records.

If you would like a non-certified copy of any Registry record via mail you can send a pre-paid request to the Androscoggin Registry of Deeds, 2 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-5978. Include the book and page reference or document number reference of the record you are looking for and the number of pages in the record you are requesting, together with a check payable to the Androscoggin Registry of Deeds. Do not forget to include your return address.

The fee for non-certified copies ordered by mail is $1 per page. There is no extra fee for a certified copy. However, we will only certify complete documents so please determine the number of pages of the record you are requesting and send the appropriate fee.

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