June 21, 2018
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Portland area rental market among least affordable in the US, study finds

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
A mix of buildings lines Park Avenue in Portland. A new study ranks Portland as one of the most expensive housing markets in the county.
By CBS 13

A new study ranks Portland as one of the most expensive housing markets in the county, showing many renters are being priced right out of certain areas.

Portland’s neighborhoods are filled with apartments, and many feel priced out.

A new study from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition ranks Maine the ninth highest in the country for the gap between wage and rent.

“There’s been a problem for a long time and we have a lot of work to do to fix the problem,” Cullen Ryan of Community Housing of Maine said. “The wages have gone up very slowly, and the housing costs have gone up very fast, and so we’ve got a growing disparity. [Renters] have no money left over for everything else. There’s no money for food, there’s no money for health care, there’s no money for transportation.”

The new study says the average Mainer makes $11.44 an hour, but they need to make just under $19 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, which means there’s a $7 gap in between.

“The rent’s too ridiculous. I had to move from Portland to Lewiston,” one resident, Mary Chadwick, told CBS 13.

The national study used federal housing and census data, but a new survey of just Portland landlords shows rents have leveled off in the city.

Brit Vitalius with the Southern Maine Landlord Association believes adding more apartments is key.

“Housing is always going to be a challenge, we’d like to see more focus on more construction,” Vitalius said.

But while there are already a lot of new buildings popping up many are still unreachable.

While moving further away to find cheaper housing can work, experts say there needs to be a better solution.

Hoping to offer more affordable housing to Maine’s working professionals, a new condo complex broke ground Thursday in Portland’s Bayside community.

Parris Terraces will have 23 one-bedroom units aimed at bringing people priced off the peninsula back into downtown Portland.

The new development is expected to open in April of next year.

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