With its heavily forested real estate and small and aging population, Maine doesn't offer much of a commercial real estate market. Outside some of the coastal fishing properties, mostly industrial, Maine's commercial real estate market is pretty much left to those who open small businesses in the state. As well, Maine has a few important northern ports of entry to the American and, particularly, Canadian markets and these ports feed the industrial real estate market. The industrial market shows no real change in either direction, except that fishing activities fluctuate as the fishing market sputters under environmental concerns.

As Maine's population, which is already about eight years older than the national average, ages and retires, waterfront lands that were once working commercial and industrial properties are being taken out of commercial use and put to residential uses. The problem for many in Maine is that redevelopers are having a hard time getting a grasp on the very unique dynamics of the Maine real estate markets and are charging prices that are more suitable to trendy Portland, Oregon than Portland, Maine. Most likely, this formerly commercial property is being put to use as vacation, retirement and second home property for out of staters. This development has created serious tension with native Maine residents, and, in some cases, hampers development.


There is some small-scale redevelopment in Portland and Augusta, mostly of Maine's beach front tourist attractions. Redevelopment, particularly in Portland, is moving ahead slowly as it surrounded by some controversy. Redevelopment in the cities focuses on small retail - tourist shops, services and restaurants - and luxury housing such as beach side cottages and small resorts.

A small development niche in Maine's cities is new construction of inmate facilities. Maine's jails are overcrowded and authorities and Portland and Augusta are looking to relieve the cramped conditions with new facilities. It is unclear, at this time, whether the cities plan on inviting private jail operators into the state or whether they plan on taking inmates from other states.

Maine's housing market is down, and not just on account of the forces acting on housing markets across the country. Maine's population growth is almost at a standstill, and those residents that are in Maine aren't purchasing new properties. The expensive beachfront properties, developed to attract out of state visitors, haven't filled up the way developers had hoped, though they do anticipate that the properties will eventually sell or lease.