Property

Here’s what the real estate broker had to say.

The runner runs towards the Bug Light while the lobster boat leaves Portland Harbor in calm conditions on Tuesday morning. June 7, 2022 in Portland, Maine. AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty

A new study shows that people are moving out of Boston and settling in Portland, Maine.

Data from the real estate agency Redfin Boston ranks fifth where people are most likely to leave the city, with 19% of local visitors looking elsewhere. Portland, Maine is the most popular destination for Boston residents looking to relocate, based on Redfin’s search data.

Lynn Hallett, broker and owner Municipal and coastal properties in Portland, she says it’s nothing new – she has seen a large number of Bostonians wanting to move north. In fact, she carried out the movement herself 35 years ago.

“Back then, my friends and family didn’t know what was north of Boston,” she said. “Now the same people have either come or want to come.”

Why Portland?

The blend of local culture and life change brings people to Portland, Hallett said.

The broker referred to the city’s historic architecture and rich restaurant scene as the main cultural factors. She also said the coastal city provides access to the ocean, nature and a “slower pace of life” for those looking to get out of the city.

“Everything is available. Not to knock on Boston, but here in Portland, we don’t have to wait in long lines at a restaurant, symphony, or theater.

Portland is less than two hours’ drive from Boston and also borders a state park. Hallett attributes at least 60% of its business to people moving to Maine. She saw merchants from New England states like Massachusetts, as well as California and Texas.

Redfin notes that the pandemic has forced people to reevaluate their housing choices. The survey shows that due to the increase in the number of remote work in the last two years, over one third American workers can work from home full time. This allows users to relocate to obtain lower house prices.

Hallett said her business has grown since the lockdown began, with remote workers making up a large proportion of her customers.

“You can work from anywhere, so why not work in Portland, Maine?”

Inflation and prices

According to the Redfin report, nearly a quarter (24.2%) of home buyers nationwide wanted to relocate to a different urban area in the third quarter. The study attributes the exodus primarily to finance, citing data showing that a typical home in Portland costs about $ 200,000 less than in Boston.

“With recession looming and high household expenses, many people cannot afford to buy a house in an expensive neighborhood and / or want to save money in an emergency, making moving to a more affordable place an attractive option” – Redfin Economics Chief of Research Chen Zhao said in the survey.

But Hallett says that in her experience selling homes, low prices in Portland aren’t always what they seem.

“One of the things I have to do with my new buyers is educate them. It seems like they will spend less for what they would get in a place like Boston, but it really isn’t.

Hallett said she has watched prices rise drastically in Maine since 2020. The greater Portland area, she said, has seen prices increase by at least 20% in the past few years. According data from Zillowthe median house price in Portland has risen by 10% in the last year alone.

“If you look at a new downtown condo similar to those in Boston, the price is very similar,” she said. “That’s huge demand and less inventory – simple economy.”

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