Maine Legislators, in Search of a Fix for Rising Housing Costs, Consider Zoning Reforms

The housing affordability crisis is a legislative priority in the Pine Tree State.

Read Time: 1 minute

January 31, 2022, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"Data from MaineHousing shows more than 57% of all renters in Maine do not make enough money to afford the median cost of rent and utilities for a two-bedroom unit," reports Ross Ketschke for WMTW.

According to the article, a "surging population and a highly competitive market" are to blame for the state's worsening housing affordability challenges. "Despite flurries of developments throughout the state, housing advocates have seen demand far out-pace available supply of affordable units," writes Ketschke.

The MaineHousing report also estimates that "49.1% of all renters are cost-burdened by housing expenses, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income paying for a place to live," adds Ketschke.

The report was presented to Maine legislators with policy recommendations intended to counteract rising housing prices, including zoning codes that increase residential density—in the form of fourplexes and accessory dwelling units—similar to increasingly common reform laws in other jurisdictions.

Maine is certainly not alone in its struggles to supply housing that most residents can afford. As detailed in a recent Planetizen blog post, the "America’s Rental Housing 2022" report published in January by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (HJCHS) presented evidence rising rents and vanishing supply all over the country in 2021.

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