ELLSWORTH — Northeast Harbor, Bass Harbor and the Gouldsboro village of Corea top the list as the least affordable places in Hancock County to live.
Those rankings are based on recent U.S. Census data analyzed by the website unitedstateszipcodes.org.
The site ranked the 50 most and 50 least affordable towns in Maine using the “median multiple” metric. The calculation is based on the number of years it would take to pay off a median-priced home in a given location while earning the median gross annual household income before taxes.
Median is different than average. It is the middle point in a series of numbers. In terms of house prices, half of homes cost more than the median price and half cost less.
An area is generally considered affordable with a median multiple of 3 or less. Northeast Harbor’s median multiple was 8.2, fourth highest overall in Maine, according to the site rankings.
Rounding out the five least affordable communities in Hancock County were:
- Bass Harbor with a median multiple of 7.6, up from 6.4 the previous year and ranked the ninth least affordable in the state.
- Corea with a median multiple of 7.0, up from 6.9 and ranked as the 11th least affordable.
- Stonington, whose median multiple increased from 6.3 to 6.7 and was ranked the 14th least affordable in Maine.
- The unincorporated village of Sargentville on the Blue Hill Peninsula, with a median multiple of 6.5, up from 5.9 the previous year, and the 17th least affordable in the state.
Elsewhere in Hancock County, other coastal towns such as Castine, Southwest Harbor, Blue Hill and Winter Harbor were among the least affordable.
Moving farther Downeast, the Washington County towns of Cherryfield and Columbia Falls made the cut for the 50 most affordable communities. Cherryfield’s median multiple was 2.5 and Columbia Falls’ was 2.6.
The list of affordable communities was dominated by towns more centrally located within Maine.
The median home value over the past year in the Northeast Harbor ZIP code was $442,700 and the median household income $51,250. In Cherryfield, median home values were estimated at $103,200 and median household income at $40,104.
In ZIP code 04605, which includes Ellsworth, Lamoine and extends north into Otis and Mariaville, median home values were $177,100 and the median income estimated at $48,880. Both those values are lower than the overall numbers for Hancock County.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau covering 2013-2017, the median home value was $207,300 and median household income $51,438.
According to unitedstateszipcodes.org, housing across the state of Maine is becoming somewhat more affordable. The median multiple for Maine this year was 3.4, 2.4 percent lower than last year.