Friday, April 19, 2024

Real Estate: ‘Silver tsunami’ nearing for Maine real estate market

By Tia Morrell

Maine is well known for its beautiful coastline, picturesque landscapes, as well as vibrant, and wholesome communities. Over the last few years, these charming Maine features have captured the hearts of those from out of town and have put the state on the map as a popular moving destination.

However, our Pine Tree State is now at the forefront of grappling with the implications of an aging population on its housing market, ranking as the “oldest state” in the nation.

A recent analysis from Freddie Mac discussed how by 2035 there could be 9.2 million fewer baby boomer homeowner households in the United States. Experts predict that this wave of homeowners exiting the market could trigger a “silver tsunami,” which would involve an influx of homes coming into the market as baby boomers seek to sell.

Freddie Mac ranked Maine as the #1 state to find a good bargain, as there is a higher-than-average number of households that are occupied by homeowners aged 65 and older with the median age of Maine residents being 45, and 22 percent of the state’s population being aged 65-plus.

As this demographic continues to grow, so too does the demand for suitable housing options being tailored to the needs of our older population.

Fortunately, one solution stands out amidst the housing crunch, Accessory Dwelling Units. In the face of this demographic shift, ADU’s are emerging as a practical and innovative solution to address Maine’s housing needs.

ADU’s are secondary housing units located on the same property as a primary residence — think “in-law” apartments, or a backyard cottage. These units offer a range of benefits that include affordable housing, as well as fostering intergenerational living arrangements, and enabling aging homeowners to age in place, while also maintaining their independence.

For homeowners looking to capitalize on the burgeoning market for senior-friendly housing, investing in ADU’s could present a compelling opportunity. By incorporating these units into their properties, homeowners can unlock additional rental income streams as well as increase the overall value of their home.

Not to mention, ADU’s also offer a flexible housing solution that can adapt to changing needs over time, which makes them an attractive option for aging homeowners to downsize, without needing to leave their community. This is huge considering that the availability for assisted living, and nursing homes come with long waitlists, and large price tags.

Maine’s rich architectural heritage is reflected in its housing stock and Maine has some of the oldest homes in the country. While this adds to that “charm” I mentioned earlier, it also means that many properties are going to require renovations or updates to meet modern standards of comfort and accessibility. Fortunately, homeowners looking to undertake these renovation homes and projects (or ADU’s) may find themselves eligible for a variety of programs tailored to fit their needs.

Several financing options are available to assist homeowners to renovate or construct their homes. Programs such as the FHA 203K loan, or the Homestyle Renovation Mortgage, can offer homeowners flexibility to finance both the purchase of their property, as well as the cost of renovations in a single mortgage. Loans like these could just be the way to unlock the full potential and meet the evolving needs of Maine’s aging population.

According to recent projections, Maine is set to witness a surge of homes becoming available in the next six to eight years, with a significant portion of the population entering retirement age. It’s estimated that 40,000 homes are expected to hit the market by 2030, which will present both challenges and opportunities for homeowners and real estate developers.

If you’re interested in setting up a strategic real estate plan to set your family up for success in the future or have an innovative design that you’d like to configure into financing for a property, I am only a phone call away. Let’s stand together to lead our state to unlocking its housing potential for our residents, for generations to come.

Tia Morrell is a REALTOR for Landing Real Estate in Windham. Call her at 207-317-1833 or send her an email at

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