PORTLAND, Maine — Faced with a housing crisis and a dwindling middle class, the city is desperately trying to build more housing.
Last week, city councilors approved the Metro Regional Coalition Council Resolution to build 2,557 new housing units over the next 10 years. Plans call for the construction of 256 new units per year in the next decade. Between 136 and 159 of them are expected to be “workforce housing” units, capped at market rates.
The problem: Most workers in the city still won’t be able to afford them.
A city housing report released last week showed workers employed in many of the largest job sectors — including the average Portland worker who earns $51,800 a year — cannot comfortably afford the median housing costs now, based on standard income ratios and other calculations.
The median home price in the city is currently more than $308,000, with rents averaging $1,050 month for a one-bedroom unit. Portland home values have gone up 2.3 percent over the past year and are predicted to rise incrementally in the next year.