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Home prices increasingly unaffordable

By Stephen Betts | Dec 22, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts

The average price of single-family homes being in sold in Knox County continue to rise.

According to the state, this is making the purchase of a home increasingly out of reach for most households.

The median price of a home sold in Knox County between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 rose 1.2 percent from a year ago, reaching $252,000, according to a news release issued Dec. 19 from Maine Listings.

The $252,000 during those three months this year compares to $249,000 for the same period in 2018, $202,500 in 2017, $222,250 in 2016, and $187,250 in 2015.

The median price in Knox County was the third highest price of any county in Maine, topped only by Cumberland which had a median price of $330,000, and York at $300,000. Aroostook County had the lowest median price at $95,000.

At the same time, the Maine State Housing Authority issued a report on housing affordability. For 2018 -- the most recent year for which figures are available -- 64.5 percent of households in Knox County could not afford to buy a home at the median price.

To afford a median house in 2018, a Knox County household needed an income of $72,689 although in Camden a household would need an income of $116,411.

The Knox County community with the least affordable situation, according to Maine State Housing, was Cushing in which 81 percent of households could not afford to buy a median-priced home. In Camden, 72.6 percent could not afford such a home. And in Rockland, 59.1 percent of households could not buy a median-priced home.

Warren had the most affordable but still 41 percent of households were unable to afford a median-priced home.

Statewide, 56 percent of households are unable to afford a median-priced home.

The last time a household with a median income could afford a median-priced home in the area was in 2009 during the depth of the Great Recession when prices of properties plummeted. And before that, the last time was in 2000.

The number of single-family homes sold in Knox County during the past three months was 176. This is close to the numbers sold during the past three years for the same three months -- 185 in 2018, 184 in 2017, and 170 in 2016. In 2015, only 156 single-family homes sold during those three months.

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Comments (7)
Posted by: Ronald Pendleton | Dec 23, 2019 06:53

In the process of moving back to Knox county after 18 years, blows my mind the property taxes in some towns, Rockland isn't even an option with their property taxes.

Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Dec 22, 2019 21:08

My made up scenario.......goes like this:
A potential buyer comes to a realtor's  office
and  says:
"I would like to see homes for sale in this rage... about $250.K
I would like to be close to downtown
but not too close to hear noise or see bright lights.
I want to be able to get to the hospital easily...
so kind of close by.
I would love to have an ocean view
or be really close to the ocean.
Oh, and I want to have a garage, for sure."
Realtor: "I'll get back to you with some choices for you."
An hour later realtor calls the potential buyer:
"Hello? I've got 4 houses that fit perfectly with the description of what you would like me to show you.
One is near a 120 ft. monopole cell tower
(realtor is now required to tell a potential buyer this).
Is that ok with you?"
Potential buyer, "I'll look at it, but it's not what I prefer.
Does it make a humming/buzzing sound?
I've heard that they do that
by a family member in California who did live near one at one point."
After seeing all 4 options....
Potential buyer says....."Well, I really like the house in Pen Bay Acres but....
I don't want
to look out my window and see the ocean
and a cell tower there too. Scary lookig reminds me of the original Japanese Godzilla movie.
Is it possible they might be taking it down soon with all this brand new technology
maybe they don't need it? Maybe they could move it?"
Realtor..."Well, I don't really know. I'll have to do some research to answer that question honestly.
Potential Buyer: "Ok, I've decided
lets' go back to the house on Shaw Avenue, that house was really cute."

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Dec 22, 2019 10:02

Dale: My comment was meant to be ironic. City council has never successfully addressed affordable housing, especially as Rockland's gentrification increases exponentially.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Dec 22, 2019 09:31

Gotta have this article so that the new accessor has a valid reason to access our homes way above what they should be.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 22, 2019 08:37

Smith House, Barter Block, Studley Apartments, the old Rankin Block,  Willow Street, Stanley House, Rockland Hotel; among others; are all gone; one at a time; with nothing to replace them.  Brunswick House has now gone out of sight for many to afford.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Dec 22, 2019 08:22

Rockland city council needs to take note of this info. as they address affordable housing in our city.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Dec 22, 2019 06:36

I can't even afford to drive through Camden.

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