Portland isn’t the only place out-of-staters are buying pricey homes

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Portland is seeing several new out-of-state buyers. But Bangor is seeing a bigger share.

Maine’s long history with temporary properties makes it likely many buyers will use their new properties as seasonal residences. Though listing another address could simply mean retaining possession of a previous home, the market’s large share of people from away is affecting house-buying prospects for Mainers who want to stay here.

In Bangor, 5 out of 19 residential properties (26 percent) that sold for $ 250,000 or more were bought by people who listed their after-sale mailing address outside of Maine in May. That percentage was actually higher than in Portland, where 9 out of 61 (15 percent) of such properties that sold had an out-of-state address listed.

The numbers showcase not just the continued desire for people outside of Maine to relocate to the state or get second homes there, but also the strong role such purchases play in driving demand and then prices.

Many purchasing homes now are first-time buyers looking to relocate, said real estate agent Kathryn Townsend of Cape Elizabeth-based Townsend Real Estate. She said most out-of-state residents who buy Maine homes seemed to be prepared to stay here full- time, though she had worked with some who were purchasing summer homes.

Cape Elizabeth, one of Maine’s wealthiest communities and among the places where housing has been tight, saw four out of 13 of properties sold to residents with out-of-state addresses last month.

With Maine having a median household income below the national average, most buyers are coming from states where the typical person has far more wealth and resources, including the ability to win a bidding war or pay upfront in cash.

For example, Maine’s median household income was $ 59,500 as of the 2020 American Community Survey, with 26 percent of households making more than $ 100,000 a year. Massachusetts, which was home to the largest chunk by far of out-of-state buyers for the communities. examined, has a median household income of $ 84,400, with 43 percent of households making more than $ 100,000 a year.

Though that difference is less wide in the parts of southern Maine where the housing affordability crisis is the worst, the average Massachusetts resident is still richer than the average person in both Cumberland and York counties.