Maine Housing Market Tightens as New, Younger Residents Move In

State leaders see the influx of younger residents as a boon to Maine’s economy, but this could come at the expense of affordable housing.

2 minute read

February 7, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Small communities in America’s easternmost state are feeling the impact of pandemic-era demographic shifts as an influx of younger residents brings a mixture of benefits and challenges. As Jenna Russell explains in a piece for The New York Times, “Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire have seen an uptick in new residents arriving from other states, more than 50,000 across the three states since April 2020, even as other Northeastern states — and especially large metro areas — have experienced a surge in out-migration.”

For Maine, the growth is significant, reversing the longstanding trend of a dwindling, aging population. “Population shifts — even small ones — carry high stakes in this rural, sparsely populated state, and across northern New England, where leaders have worried for years about a so-called ‘silver tsunami’ with implications for the economy and the fate of rural communities.” Now, the increase in younger residents is breathing new life into the state’s economy, but is also driving a steep rise in housing costs. 

Between 2020 and 2021, Maine was the only state in the nation to see its median age decline thanks to an influx of younger residents moving in during the pandemic. In one Maine county, median home prices surged by 60 percent between 2019 and 2022. Like many small communities around the country, local and state leaders must now grapple with the challenges to housing affordability and infrastructure that growth brings.

Friday, February 3, 2023 in Chicago News Cooperative/The New York Times

Red on white 'Room for Rent, Inquire Inside' sign

In Most U.S. Cities, Archaic Laws Limit Roommate Living

Critics argue laws preventing unrelated adults from living in the same home fail to understand the modern American household.

May 24, 2023 - The Atlantic

Vancouver Chuck Wolfe

Ten Signs of a Resurgent Downtown

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe continues his exploration of a holistic and practical approach to post-pandemic urban center recovery, anchored in local context and community-driven initiatives that promote livability, safety, and sustainability.

May 24, 2023 - GeekWire

Colorful high-saturation view of downtown Houston, Texas with pink and blue dusk sky

Transforming Downtowns Into Functional Neighborhoods

Rather than ‘monofunctional’ business districts or urban playgrounds, American downtown districts could become multipurpose neighborhoods.

May 25, 2023 - Wired

Blue and white Interstate 15 North sign against backdrop of blue sky and snow-capped mountains in Utah

Utah DOT Plans to Expand Interstate Despite Local Concerns

With more evidence pointing to the futility of expanding freeways, the state could take a creative approach to improving travel times and providing additional transportation options.

24 minutes ago - The Salt Lake Tribune

Close-up of lead water pipe with mineral crusts

An Equity Approach to Lead Pipe Replacement

A former Chicago health commissioner calls on governments to prioritize the most marginalized and historically disinvested communities when distributing funding to replace lead pipes, which have taken the highest toll on the health of disadvantaged c

2 hours ago - Governing

View of wetlands in South Carolina at sunrise or sunset

Supreme Court Limits Clean Water Act’s Power

A recent ruling ‘dramatically’ restricts the law’s reach when it comes to protecting wetlands.

3 hours ago - Politico

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.