There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Maine:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Maine, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Pine Tree State.
To do that we are going to look at places in Maine that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the “deals”.
The best deal in Maine at the moment? That would be Waterville according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Maine for 2019:
- Waterville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Presque Isle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Gardiner (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Westbrook (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Augusta (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Rockland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Caribou (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Portland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Auburn (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- South Portland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
For more Maine reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Maine
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Maine
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Maine
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Maine for 2019?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Maine. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Maine with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2013-2017 and compared it to the previous vintage (2012-2016). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still “cheap” for Maine with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 132 cities and towns in Maine, only 19 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 19 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a “best place to buy” index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that Waterville is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Pine Tree State.
Read on for more on these places.
The area now known as Waterville was once inhabited by the Canibas tribe of Abenaki Indians. Called Taconnet after Chief Taconnet, the main village was located on the east bank of the Kennebec River at its confluence with the Sebasticook River at what is now Winslow. Known as Ticonic by English settlers, it was burned in 1692 during King William’s War, after which the Canibas tribe abandoned the area. Fort Halifax was built by General John Winslow in 1754, and the last skirmish with Indians occurred on May 18, 1757.
The first European settlers were British Loyalists who reached the area in 1819 hoping to obtain land for lumber. Border disputes between the United States and the United Kingdom over the area, however, made it impossible for pioneers to gain title to the land. In response, the government of the neighboring British colony of New Brunswick gave out patents for pioneers to live on the land but not claim ownership or sell it. By 1825, surveyors traveling along the Aroostook river noted that twenty families lived along it and noted that while agriculture was present, all of the families employed most of their time towards wood production.
Located at the head of navigation on the Kennebec River, Gardiner was founded as Gardinerstown Plantation in 1754 by Dr. Silvester Gardiner, a prominent Boston physician. Dr. Gardiner had made a fortune as a drug merchant, with one apothecary shop in Massachusetts and two in Connecticut, and became a principal proprietor of the Kennebec Purchase within the old Plymouth Patent. He proved a tireless promoter for his development, which once comprised over 100,000 acres.
Originally known as Saccarappa after Saccarappa Falls on the Presumpscot River, it was a part of Falmouth until February 14, 1814, when it was set off and incorporated as Stroudwater. It soon changed its name to Westbrook after Colonel Thomas Westbrook, a commander during Father Rale’s War and King’s mast agent who was an early settler and mill operator. In 1871, Saccarappa amicably split into two municipalities; the current Westbrook and Deering, which was then annexed by Portland in 1898. In 1891, Westbrook was incorporated as a city.
The area was first explored by the ill-fated Popham Colony in September 1607. It was first inhabited by English settlers from the Plymouth Colony in 1628 as a trading post on the Kennebec River. The settlement was known by its Indian name-Cushnoc, meaning “head of tide.” Fur trading was at first profitable, but with Indian uprisings and declining revenues, the Plymouth Colony sold the Kennebec Patent in 1661. Cushnoc would remain unoccupied for the next 75 years. This area was inhabited by the Canibas Indians. During the 17th century they were on friendly terms with the English settlers in the region.
Abenaki Indians called it Catawamteak, meaning “great landing place.” In 1767, John Lermond and his two brothers from Warren built a camp to produce oak staves and pine lumber. Thereafter known as Lermond’s Cove, it was first settled about 1769. When in 1777 Thomaston was incorporated, Lermond’s Cove became a district called Shore village. On July 28, 1848, it was set off as the town of East Thomaston. Renamed Rockland in 1850, it was chartered as a city in 1854.
Lumbermen and trappers first set up camps in the area in the 1810s. The first settlers came to what is now Caribou in the 1820s. Between 1838 and 1840, the undeclared Aroostook War flared between the United States and Canada, and the Battle of Caribou occurred in December 1838. The dispute over the international boundary delayed settlement of the area until after the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842. With peace restored, European settlers arrived in gradually-increasing numbers beginning in 1843. From Eaton Plantation and part of half-township H, Caribou was incorporated in 1859 as the town of Lyndon on April 5. In 1869, it annexed Eaton, Sheridan and Forestville plantations. On February 26 of that year its name was changed to Caribou, only to revert to Lyndon on March 9. On February 8, 1877, Caribou was finally confirmed as the town’s permanent name. Two enduring mysteries are the reason for the original name of Lyndon, and the reasons for the town’s name being subsequently changed back and forth between Lyndon and Caribou. Caribou was the “jumping off” point for a large influx of settlers who immigrated directly from Sweden in 1870-1871, and settled the nearby “Swedish colony.” The small town grew throughout the late 19th century, and with the coming of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad in the 1890s, agricultural exports exploded. This began a boom period which lasted well into the 1960s. Caribou became the largest potato shipping hub in the world, and had many related industries.
Native Americans originally called the Portland peninsula Machigonne. Portland, Maine, was named for the English Isle of Portland, and the city of Portland, Oregon, was in turn named for Portland, Maine. The first European settler was Capt. Christopher Levett, an English naval captain granted 6,000 acres in 1623 to found a settlement in Casco Bay. A member of the Council for New England and agent for Ferdinando Gorges, Levett built a stone house where he left a company of ten men, then returned to England and wrote a book about his voyage to drum up support for the settlement. The settlement failed, and the fate of Levett’s colonists is unknown. The explorer sailed from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to meet John Winthrop in 1630, but never returned to Maine. Fort Levett in the harbor is named for him.
The area was originally part of the Pejepscot Purchase, land bought in 1714 by a association of people from Boston and Portsmouth following the Treaty of Portsmouth, which brought peace between the Abenaki Indians and the settlers of present day Maine. In 1736, however, the Massachusetts General Court granted a large section of the land to veterans of the 1690 Battle of Quebec. Conflicting claims led to prolonged litigation; consequently, settlement was delayed until after the French and Indian Wars.
South Portland was first settled in 1630, and it grew to become a small residential community with many farms. The village was raided by natives in Father Rale’s War. In 1858, the City of Portland purchased land near the Fore River for the Forest City Cemetery. On March 15, 1895, it was incorporated as a town after it broke away from Cape Elizabeth, based on a disagreement on a future source of public drinking water. Three years later South Portland became a city, destined to receive its drinking water, like Portland, from Sebago Lake, while Cape Elizabeth used wells or other local sources.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Maine for 2019
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Maine. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 132 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more Maine reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Maine