Attainable and affordable housing is a necessity to ensure that families can remain in our region to keep our communities, schools, and businesses strong. For businesses to survive and thrive, they need access to workers. Encouraging these workers to settle in our communities will keep Franklin County’s population healthy for years to come. Reasonably priced housing creates stability, community, and engagement.
Two towns in Franklin County have undertaken organized efforts to increase the accessibility of affordable housing in their areas: Carrabassett Valley and Rangeley. Both areas are well known for their tourism and the need for housing is dire. Each town has conducted their own regional affordable housing needs assessments.
Carrabassett Valley’s Needs Assessment and Strategy
Carrabassett Valley’s study area included Carrabassett Valley, Coplin, Stratton/Eustis, Kingfield, and Wyman. The results of the assessment confirmed that there is a strong unmet need for workforce housing in the Carrabassett Valley study area. Overall, there is an existing need for 104-312 units at price points affordable to households earning under $75,000 annually.
The study found that local workers are largely priced out of the homeownership market. Home prices have increased upwards of 25-40% in the last few years, driven by high demand from seasonal visitors and second-home buyers. In 2021, the median sale price in the study area was $380,000, which would require a household income of $100,000 to afford – roughly double the current median income of the area of $53,000.
Rental units in the area are also seeing price increases that are pushing them beyond the means of local workers. Additionally, both year-round and seasonal rental units at any price point are in extremely short supply, particularly in the winter months. The lack of affordable rental housing is constraining hiring and putting pressure on local businesses, making it hard for them to survive and grow.