Maine’s commercial real estate market made big gains while workers stayed home

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Following a lackluster 2020, the commercial real estate market in Maine experienced strong increases in sales and leases in 2021 despite work-from-home trends, a real estate group said Tuesday.

There were 575 commercial transactions in 2021 compared with 325 in 2020, according to the real estate group MEREDA, which held its annual spring conference in Portland on Tuesday.

The amount of square footage sold and leased also increased by 1.6 million square feet over 2020 across the state. Commercial real estate includes office, retail and industrial buildings.

Vacancy rates for industrial properties, which saw the strongest growth in the commercial market, were less than 2 percent as more people began to see them as an investment, Katie Allen, a broker with The Dunham Group, said.

“There’s virtually nothing available in terms of investment-grade properties,” she said. “That is really unheard of.”

She was surprised by the high values ​​of the properties sold or leased because of the lack of inventory, saying, “I think we broke some records for sure during 2021.”

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