Best Places To Buy A House In Maine For 2020


Using science and data, we can tell you which places in Maine have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers. Article updated for 2020.

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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 Gardiner according to our analysis.

Here's a look at the top ten places to buy a home in maine for 2020:

  1. Gardiner (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Belfast (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Rockland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Old Town (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Caribou (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Ellsworth (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Bath (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Brewer (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Presque Isle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Waterville (Photos | Homes For Sale)

What's the best place to buy a home in Maine for 2020? According to our analysis, would the the ideal place to buy a home looking into the future.

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. If you're not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in maine and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in maine.

For more Maine reading, check out:

The 10 Best Cities To Buy A House In Maine For 2020

Gardiner, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,667
Median Home Price: $139,700
Population Change: -0.1%
Home Price Change: 1.7%
More on Gardiner: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

Belfast, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 6,696
Median Home Price: $189,700
Population Change: 0.2%
Home Price Change: -5.6%
More on Belfast: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The area was once territory of the Penobscot tribe of Abenaki Native Americans, which each summer visited the seashore to hunt for fish, shellfish and seafowl. In 1630, it became part of the Muscongus Patent, which granted rights for English trading posts with the Native Americans, especially for the lucrative fur trade. About 1720, General Samuel Waldo of Boston bought the Muscongus Patent, which had evolved into outright ownership of the land, and was thereafter known as the Waldo Patent.

Rockland, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,190
Median Home Price: $165,000
Population Change: -0.2%
Home Price Change: 0.5%
More on Rockland: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

Old Town, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,549
Median Home Price: $135,900
Population Change: -0.6%
Home Price Change: 10.2%
More on Old Town: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Abenaki Indians called it Pannawambskek, meaning "where the ledges spread out," referring to rapids and drops in the river bed. The French established a Jesuit Catholic mission here in the 1680s. Nearly a century later after Great Britain took over French territory following its victory in the Seven Years' War, the area was settled by English pioneers in 1774. The name OldTown derives from "Indian Old Town", which was the English name for the largest Penobscot Indian village, now known as Indian Island.

Caribou, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,749
Median Home Price: $91,200
Population Change: -1.0%
Home Price Change: 2.0%
More on Caribou: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

Ellsworth, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,960
Median Home Price: $179,300
Population Change: 0.6%
Home Price Change: -1.0%
More on Ellsworth: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

According to the history of the Passamaquoddy Indians, the Ellsworth area was originally inhabited by members of the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes: "Both groups speak closely related Algonquian languages, although anthropologists generally group the Passamaquoddies linguistically with the Maliseets and the Penobscots with the Abenakis."

Bath, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,320
Median Home Price: $163,600
Population Change: 0.1%
Home Price Change: -2.0%
More on Bath: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Abenaki Indians called the area Sagadahoc, meaning "mouth of big river." It was a reference to the Kennebec River, which Samuel de Champlain explored in 1605. Popham Colony was established in 1607 downstream, together with Fort St George. The settlement failed due to harsh weather and lack of leadership, but the colonists built the New World's first oceangoing vessel constructed by English shipwrights, the Virginia of Sagadahoc. It provided passage back to England. Most of Bath, Maine, was settled by travelers from Bath, England.

Brewer, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,123
Median Home Price: $162,000
Population Change: -0.5%
Home Price Change: 1.3%
More on Brewer: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Presque Isle, ME

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,162
Median Home Price: $107,000
Population Change: -0.9%
Home Price Change: -1.6%
More on Presque Isle: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

Waterville, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,515
Median Home Price: $124,600
Population Change: 0.9%
Home Price Change: -3.8%
More on Waterville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

How do you determine the best places to buy a home in maine for 2020?

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 2014-2018 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:

So of the 0 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. You can download the data here.

Turns out that Gardiner is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Pine Tree State.

Read on for more on these places.

There You Have It - The Best Places To Purchase A House In maine for 2020

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 0 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

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Gardiner 1 $139,700 -0.1% 1.7%
Belfast 2 $189,700 0.2% -5.6%
Rockland 3 $165,000 -0.2% 0.5%
Old Town 4 $135,900 -0.6% 10.2%
Caribou 5 $91,200 -1.0% 2.0%
Ellsworth 6 $179,300 0.6% -1.0%
Bath 7 $163,600 0.1% -2.0%
Brewer 8 $162,000 -0.5% 1.3%
Presque Isle 9 $107,000 -0.9% -1.6%
Waterville 10 $124,600 0.9% -3.8%
Westbrook 11 $225,400 1.4% 4.2%
Augusta 12 $142,100 0.0% -0.4%
Saco 13 $245,500 1.1% 7.3%
Biddeford 14 $223,300 0.2% 5.4%
Auburn 15 $155,900 0.5% 2.3%
South Portland 16 $247,900 0.3% 5.2%
Bangor 17 $150,700 -0.4% 0.4%
Lewiston 18 $140,100 -0.3% -0.4%
Portland 19 $273,400 0.0% 4.7%

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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