MAY 31ST, 2023

Maine Mortgages

The state of Maine has a mystique about it, and the locals have a reputation as being friendly, welcoming and even a little peculiar. The US census statistics have often been used to track housing trends in the real estate market, due mainly to the lack of bias in the numbers. In the most recent US census information, the number of total housing units in Maine was 664,613. The home ownership rate in Maine in the year 2000 was 71,6%, compared to the national average of 66.2%. This higher rate is likely explained by the smaller size of the housing market in Maine, as well as the lower median home value in the state. The national average of median values of housing units in 2000 was $119,600, and in Maine that same year the median value of a owner occupied housing unit was $98,700.
A booming housing market in the southern and coastal parts of Maine is starting to affect home prices in neighboring regions as prospective home buyers find that they can buy more house if they accept a slightly longer commute to work.

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The central Maine area that includes everything from Augusta to Lewiston is seeing the results of this change. Frank O’Hara of Market Decisions Inc. prepared the Maine State Housing Authority’s recently released semiannual report on “The State of Maine Housing,” indicates that his research shows that central Maine may be missing out on some important opportunities for the future in the midst of the surging real estate market.

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One interesting housing story to emerge from this area is the major retirements that will be occurring in the state government over the next five years. O’Hara estimates that “Something like 5,000 people will be eligible for retirement. A lot may possibly be leaving the area or possibly not, and a whole younger group will be replacing them, so there could be a lot of change in the housing market in the next five years.”.

With this influx of home buyers from the coast, as well as retirees, efforts to maintain affordable housing in the state as housing prices rise will require major changes in local zoning regulations. However, the only way communities are going to loosen up those restrictions will be if the state takes bold steps to ensure taxpayers in those communities won’t be left vulnerable to large increases in municipal expenses.

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