Southern Maine Is Hit Hardest With Housing Costs

Study: Housing costs too high
A Harvard University housing study recently reported that, for many Americans, housing costs are eating up too much of their annual income.

The university’s Joint Center for Housing Studies said in its 2007 State of the Nation’s Housing report that housing affordability “remains a pervasive problem,” and that more than 30 million Americans spend 30% or more of their annual income on rent or mortgage payments.

The report noted that southern Maine was the state’s most difficult housing market, and that the hourly wage required to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment was between $14.50 and $21.74. For the rest of the state, a renter would have to earn between $7.25 and $14.49 an hour to afford the same apartment. That compares to the state’s current minimum wage of $6.75 an hour.

A new Harvard University study says high housing prices are eating up too much of homeowners’ salaries. Here’s a list of the highest median sales prices (MSP) of single-family homes sold in Maine counties during February and April of this year, as well the change from the MSP during the same period in 2006.

County MSP 2006 MSP 2007 % Change
Cumberland $240,000 $244,250 1.77%
Knox $236,000 $226,250 -4.13%
York $230,000 $223,750 -2.72%
Lincoln $206,000 $220,000 6.8%
Sagadahoc $194,000 $213,750 10.18%

Source: Maine Association of Realtors and