LEWISTON — Last winter, the highest-priced single-family home in Androscoggin County sold for $630,000.

Dava Davin, principal and founder of Portside Real Estate Group Submitted photo

This winter, it was $930,000.

Housing prices here are up, days on the market are way down. When Dava Davin asked her agents their experiences, they came back with stories of bidding $50,000 over in Auburn to win a listing and one client getting shut out five times in Lewiston.

“An offer in Sabattus went 20% over list with a cash offer and they received a no thank you,” said Davin, founder and principal at Portside Real Estate Group in Falmouth.

Davin and Brit Vitalius, principal at Vitalius Real Estate Group in Portland, brought a slew of local housing numbers to the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday.

Comparing the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 in Androscoggin County, “median days on market went from three weeks to one week. You list your single-family home, you’re most likely going to get more than the asking price,” Davin said. As people get priced out of Southern Maine, “this tells me that there’s a ton of opportunity.”

Year over year, single-family home sales were up 9% in 2020, she said, up to 1,245 homes. The median sales price rose by $30,000 to $205,000.

“When we look at homes selling over $400,000, we go back a few years (to 2018), there were only five homes selling in that market. Last year, we had 19,” Davin said. “Already this year, we had five, plus the highest-priced condo ever to sell on 43 Lisbon St. sold at $450,000. These are small numbers, nothing crazy here, but this is how we start to see change.”

Buyers who weren’t considering Androscoggin County are now in this hot market, she said, and they’re going to encourage friends and family to join them.

“This is the start of some new trends,” Davin said. “We’re going to see these prices continue to rise and come in line with other counties. With that comes so much opportunity. We need inventory. Builders, hello, this is a place to start building.”

Vitalius, who specializes in the multifamily market, said statistics for Lewiston-Auburn over a decade ago “were just bleak.”

In 2008, there were 200 multiunit properties up for sale.

“Today, there are 10 multiunits on the market — there are actually 38 under contract,” he said. “It’s not just a lack of sellers; there’s very high buyer demand and there’s very little inventory.”

Since 2009, multiunit sales prices here have almost doubled, he said, but looking around at other Maine cities, “Lewiston-Auburn is still the most affordable. We’re seeing offers over asking price by $100,000 in Portland. . . Those markets are bananas and it’s starting to spread out to the others.”

He’s seen developers take risks in creating upscale lofts and condominiums in Biddeford, Saco, Portland and Brunswick and seeing it pay off.

Asked for a general, multifamily housing forecast, Vitalius said, “Don’t be afraid to think big. When the market is this hot, there may be opportunities that are hard to see when they’re right here. Sometimes it takes people to come from outside of your area and say, ‘You don’t know what you have here.'”

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