Real estate brokers and developers are bullish about the Portland area’s prospects in 2017, based on a recent surge in demand for both living and working spaces in the region.

Lower unemployment, job growth and strengthening local economies in southern Maine drove continued improvement in the Portland-area office market in 2016, as the vacancy rate fell for the seventh consecutive year to about 6.2 percent.

Meanwhile, investors continued to snap up apartment properties at a frenzied pace, and owners of industrial property welcomed new tenants involved in the production of micro-brewed beer and medical marijuana.

A slew of new construction projects were given the greenlight in 2016 for hotels, office buildings, apartments and condominiums.

Several presenters offered their insights and predictions for the coming year on all things real estate-related at the Maine Real Estate and Development Association’s 2017 Annual Forecast Conference and Member Showcase Thursday in Portland.

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