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Updated: April 17, 2024

Where Maine's homebuyers came from in 2023 — and why they moved here

Where Maine's homebuyers came from in 2023 Benchmark Real Estate / Maine Listings In 2023, more than two-thirds of homebuyers in Maine came from Maine. After that, buyers were from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida and New York.

Using data from Maine Listings, my team and I took a closer look into where Maine home buyers are coming from and discussed the trends that might be leading them to choose the Pine Tree State.

person in button-down shirt and blazer
Courtesy / Benchmark Real Estate
Tom Landry

This information is important to inform local and statewide housing policy decisions, as well as help determine home values now and in the future.

After decades of little to no growth, Maine saw a population increase over the last two years. According to recently released census data, Maine’s total population in 2023 stood at 1,395,722. This is up from 2022 when it was 1,389,338.

Maine’s population increase has been fueled largely by people moving here from other states. Mainers felt this change as more and more out-of-state buyers moved to every area of the state in what became the COVID housing boom. Driven by the desire for more space and fewer lockdown restrictions, many buyers from larger metropolitan areas scooped up listings as fast as they hit the market.

With the relaxation of nearly every COVID restriction and the end of work-from-home allowances, many anticipated a corresponding decline in population in 2023. So far, the data shows otherwise. Those in real estate see many of these population changes firsthand.

Based on my experience, I don’t see a big drop in Maine’s population coming anytime soon.

Driven by many factors, the state is in the midst of a real estate renaissance that should continue for decades. People are moving to Maine for many reasons, ranging from quality of life and climate migration, to remote work and new employment opportunities.

With the demand high, Maine home prices have increased as well. In four years we see a steady and remarkable 47.73% increase in statewide median sale price.

Growth in median sales price

Here's a look at the past four years' change in the single-family median sales price in Maine.  

  • 2023: $325,000 (up 10.17% from 2022)
  • 2022: $295,000 (up 18% from 2021)
  • 2021: $250,000 (up 13.64% from 2020)
  • 2020: $220,000 (up 10% from 2019)

Source: Maine Listings

A drop in sales volume

Because of factors such as rising interest rates and lack of inventory, there was a precipitous drop in statewide overall single-family sales volume in the past year. This reflects a normalization of the number of sales following "escapism buying" during the pandemic. Also, with rates up, fewer buyers can qualify, and fewer sellers are willing to move from a lower rate on an existing home to a higher rate on a new one.

Maine single-family sales:

  • 2023: 1,481 sales, down 28.14% year-over-year
  • 2022: 2,061 sales, down 12.3% year-over-year
  • 2021: 2,350 sales, up 20.57% year-over-year
  • 2020: 1,949 sales, up 16.15% year-over-year

Source: Maine Listings

Maine buyers still dominate sales

As with previous years, current residents moving within the state in 2023 accounted for just over 67% or 9,245 sales in 2023. This number represents a significant decrease compared to 2022 when 11,301 moved locally.

However, the percentage change in the overall drop in sales volume is negligible; 67.87% in 2023 compared to 67.14% in 2022. The real trend emerges when we look back to 2020 when 70.29% of all sales were people moving within the state.

Top 10 states people moved from, 2023

  1. Massachusetts 1,105
  2. New Hampshire 557
  3. Florida 349
  4. New York 265
  5. California 195
  6. Connecticut 186
  7. Texas 166
  8. Pennsylvania 148
  9. Virginia 116
  10. New Jersey 107

Source: Maine Listings

Top 10 states people moved from, 2022

  1. Massachusetts 1,430
  2. New Hampshire 669
  3. Florida 366
  4. New York 303
  5. California 301
  6. Texas 211 (up 3 places since 2021)
  7. Connecticut 195
  8. Pennsylvania 172
  9. Virginia 149 (first time in the top 10)
  10. New Jersey 132

Source: Maine Listings

What's ahead

Although time will tell, we fully expect the trends highlighted above to continue.

The slow but steady increase in Maine’s population and the lack of new housing inventory will result in continued increases in the median sale price and a decrease in sales volumes.

This is welcome news for sellers but continues to reflect a very challenging environment for buyers. It also points to the need for much more housing in many areas of Maine.

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Susan Haltof
April 18, 2024

Very interesting article. Thank you for doing the research!

April 18, 2024

The population numbers you have indicate a minimal increase and really show a stagnant population growth. From 1,389,338 to 1,395,722 = growth of 6,384 citizens or .005%. The housing numbers suggest that the population growth should be higher which might mean that there are more outbound than expected?

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