PORTLAND, Maine — Reports compiled and published by the Maine State Housing Authority detail home affordability in communities across the state, gauging how many would have been within reach of a household making the median income in a given community.

Last year, the most affordable town was Mexico, based on the housing agency’s data. Just 17 miles away, Newry, near the Sunday River ski resort, was one of Maine’s most difficult places to find a home deemed affordable using these standards.

The housing agency defines affordability as a being able to cover the payment on a 30-year mortgage using no more than 28 percent of gross income. Areas with an affordability index of 1 means home prices were in line with the area’s median household income last year.

An index below 1 means the area is less affordable, higher values indicate it’s more affordable to residents.

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See the full list of towns here.

But a high level of affordability, as in Mexico, doesn’t speak to the mix of homes sold in the previous year.

There, for instance, one home sold was out of reach.

In the Washington County town of Cherryfield, none of the homes sold last year were beyond the income of the median household.

And statewide, there are pockets where homes are less affordable, such the Aroostook County town of Eagle Lake.

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Among the state’s biggest cities, Bangor rated as the most affordable in the last year, with an income of $40,073 pegged to afford last year’s median-priced home. Lewiston had a slightly lower affordability index.

Portland was the least affordable, by far, with an income of about $80,000 a year afford the median-priced home.


Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.