The fact that interest rates are low right now means that home prices will remain higher. As interest rates rise, home prices will drop.
If you can truly get a good deal at a low interest rate, then that's great, but you should never buy a home based on low interest rates. We've seen what low interest rates and high prices has done the country so far...
If you're going to rent out the home as an investment, you'll know that it's okay to buy if you can rent it out and immediately make a monthly profit. Don't buy just to hope for appreciation or to rent it out at a monthly loss.
While generally mortgage rates are pretty low (anything under 7.0% should be considered "Low"), that is not really the case for investment properties (non-owner occupied, etc.). Especially if this is more than a 2 family home you are interested in buying. It is still feasible, but the rates will not be that great in today's markets. The lenders that are doing them charge you big fees- I've found in the last 6 months- and they will continue to do so until the market rebounds.
My only other opinion is that in general I think southern Maine is a good and growing RE market, I'd guess that the people that want to live in York County but commute down to Boston are a declining bunch. Due to high gas prices. I would just watch out for that. Focus on where the jobs are- Portland, Portsmouth, etc- but I wouldn't give a lot of stock to the 90 mile commuters anymore.
Thanks, and Good Luck,
Grest question and one people are asking in every market. Real estate is a little like football (stay with me here); depending which seat you occupy determines whether you are enjoying the game. If you are a Patriots fan, life is good! I cannot directly address your Eastern Maine market question and I do not know what your personal investment criteria is, but generally speaking there are "slices" of the market here in Maine doing very well for buyers, sellers and investors. Many consider today's market an investors dream and recognize their are "golden nuggets" in their market (some distressed properties offer great opportunity, but beware as many are more complex than they seem from the outside looking in). The key to successful investing lies in knowing 3 primary, specific and fundamental things. 1 Criteria - knowing and defining exactly what you are looking for (SFH, Multi- family, location, price, etc) 2.Terms - understanding the specific terms (financing, closing costs, return on investment, cash flow, equity build, etc) under which you clearly can recognize will deliver your expectations or means you walk away from a deal if you cannot negotiate such terms 3. Network - having a a 'team" ready ,willing and able to support your decisions and find you that "golden opportunity" (realtors, attorneys, contractors, etc). Investing is based on very personal criteria and a great realtor can help you find property that will deliver against that criteria but your is the homework to define it.
Generally speaking - three factors contribute to the "market" (there are many more but these we feel are key). 1. Money - the availability and cost of borrowing money. 2. The sold inventory - if absorption rates indicate more than 6 months supply; then buyer-advantaged market. 3. For Sale inventory (current and pending homes); if less than 25% are under contract ; then buyer advantaged market conditions exist. A realtor can "thin slice" the market to help you find the opportunities that work within your criteria. The key with real estate is it is locally driven - and location driven. Similar property on two streets side by side can carry huge price differences. So I'd suggest assembling your team, at least a great realtor and lender to get the foundational pieces in place. CPA's and lawyers can follow.
I'd also recommend (if you haven't already studied it) the book "Millionaire Real Estate Investor" by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan - a great tool for the investor.
Good luck and happy hunting!