Cheapest Places To Live In Maine For 2020


We used data and science to determine which places in Maine go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Maine.

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Three new cities moved into the most affordable places to call home in Maine according to our HomeSnacks 2020 report although the Pine Tree State has some of the highest rent in the country.

So, if you're going to move to Maine, we suggest you already have employment and that you buy a home. Maine's unemployment rate does come in slightly under the national average, but its residents say that jobs are difficult to come by and wages are low Now, don't get it twisted; just because these Maine places are affordable, doesn't mean they're unsafe. It's actually quite the opposite. Honestly, many of Maine's top ten most affordable places to live are also some of their safest.

The upside to living in this New England state, it has a 5% sales tax and there's a bunch of cool, local stuff to do. Heck, you don't have to leave the state to take a vacation--no matter the time of year! You can ski Bridgton's Shawnee Peak in the winter or head to Bar Harbor for a summer beach day. Want to know more? We suggest you take a ferry from North Haven to Owls Head, grab a lobstah' roll at Rockland's Lobster Festival, and read on.

How did we determine Maine's most affordable places for 2020? We consulted Maine's most recent census data. We also looked at cost of living, home prices, and the recent crime statistics for places with 5,000 or more residents.

The competition was fierce to say the least. Many of the Maine's top ten most affordable places boast great home prices and safe neighborhoods. However, there can only be one number on most affordable place in Maine, and that would be Caribou.

So, if you care about home values and affordability, take a look at the list below to see where your Maine dollar will go the furthest. And if you don't find your favorite there, head to the bottom.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Maine and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Maine For 2020

Caribou, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,749
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.9x (8th cheapest)
More On Caribou: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Caribou is the second largest city in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. Its population was 8,189 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Caribou comes in at $38,168 and the median home value is $91,200 for 2020.

Presque Isle, ME

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,162
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.3x (9th cheapest)
More On Presque Isle: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Presque Isle is the commercial center and largest city in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,171 in 2015 as estimated by the US Census, a decrease from the count of 9,692 in the 2010 Census. The city is home to the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Northern Maine Community College, Husson University Presque Isle, Northern Maine Fairgrounds, The Aroostook Centre Mall, and the Northern Maine Regional Airport.

The median income in Presque Isle comes in at $37,401 and the median home value is $107,000 for 2020.

Brewer, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,123
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.9x (2nd cheapest)
More On Brewer: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Brewer comes in at $58,403 and the median home value is $162,000 for 2020.

Gardiner, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,667
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.3x (6th cheapest)
More On Gardiner: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Gardiner is a city in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 5,800 at the 2010 census. Popular with tourists, Gardiner is noted for its culture and old architecture. Gardiner is included in the Augusta, Maine micropolitan New England City and Town Area.

The median income in Gardiner comes in at $48,212 and the median home value is $139,700 for 2020.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,351
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 10)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.8x (10th cheapest)
More On Eastport: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in Eastport comes in at $35,147 and the median home value is $110,900 for 2020.

Calais, ME

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,998
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.2x (17th cheapest)
More On Calais: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Calais comes in at $31,078 and the median home value is $87,300 for 2020.

Belfast, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 6,696
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.1x (1st cheapest)
More On Belfast: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Belfast is a city in Waldo County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 6,668. Located at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River estuary on Penobscot Bay, Belfast is the county seat of Waldo County. The seaport has a wealth of antique architecture in several historic districts, and remains popular with tourists.

The median income in Belfast comes in at $60,993 and the median home value is $189,700 for 2020.

Auburn, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 23,064
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.5x (7th cheapest)
More On Auburn: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 23,055 at the 2010 census. Auburn and Lewiston are known locally as the Twin Cities or Lewiston-Auburn.

The median income in Auburn comes in at $48,924 and the median home value is $155,900 for 2020.

Old Town, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,549
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.8x (11th cheapest)
More On Old Town: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Old Town is a city in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. The population was 7,840 at the 2010 census. The city's developed area is chiefly located on relatively large Marsh Island, though its boundaries extend beyond that. The island is surrounded and defined by the Penobscot River to the east, and the Stillwater River to the west.

The median income in Old Town comes in at $42,342 and the median home value is $135,900 for 2020.

Ellsworth, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,960
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.7x (3rd cheapest)
More On Ellsworth: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Ellsworth is a city in and the county seat of Hancock County, Maine, United States. The 2010 Census determined it had a population of 7,741. Ellsworth was Maine's fastest growing city from 2000-2010, with a growth rate of nearly 20 percent. With historic buildings and other points of interest, Ellsworth is popular with tourists.

The median income in Ellsworth comes in at $55,191 and the median home value is $179,300 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Pine Tree State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Maine
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Maine to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 22 places in Maine that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Maine according to the data is Caribou. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Maine Cheapskate

If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Maine, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Maine for 2020.

Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Maine according to the data:

  1. Portland
  2. South Portland
  3. Biddeford

For more Maine reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Maine?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Caribou 3.67 7,749 2.4x 63.9x
2 Presque Isle 5.33 9,162 2.9x 63.3x
3 Brewer 5.33 9,123 2.8x 72.9x
4 Gardiner 6.0 5,667 2.9x 65.3x
5 Eastport 7.0 1,351 3.2x 60.8x
6 Calais 7.0 2,998 2.8x 56.2x
7 Belfast 7.67 6,696 3.1x 75.1x
8 Auburn 8.67 23,064 3.2x 64.5x
9 Old Town 8.67 7,549 3.2x 59.8x
10 Ellsworth 10.0 7,960 3.2x 71.7x

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.