Camden native Hannah Holtz recently earned her law degree from the University of Mississippi. She wants to return to Maine, but with housing prices too high here, she has decided to stay in Mississippi until the real estate market cools. Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Holtz

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Camden native Hannah Holtz planned to return to Maine after earning her law degree in Mississippi, but she is staying put due to high rental and house prices.

Holtz, 25, searched for housing here since last summer, more recently focusing on apartments because houses were out of reach. She gave up in March after looking in the Bangor and Portland areas.

University of Mississippi School of Law graduate Hannah Holtz is staying in the southern state until real estate prices in Maine cool down. The Camden native would like to return to her home state. Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Holtz

Her frustrations hunting for affordable housing are common, especially in Maine’s larger cities, causing people to make some hard decisions.

Holtz wanted to have a place to live and a job lined up so she could pay her student loans from undergraduate studies at Husson University in Bangor and the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Maine and northern New England states have long dealt with lawyer shortages. For now, Holtz is staying in Mississippi, where she clerks for a judge and will take the bar exam in July.

“I’m trying to wait until the housing market dies down,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been priced out of my home.”

One-bedroom apartment prices in Bangor average $952 per month and in Portland, $1,411, according to apartments.com. Her current apartment in Greenville, Mississippi, is $550 per month including water and gas, although she pays for electricity.

“Even having a law degree, I still can’t afford to live in Maine, which I think is pretty sad,” she said.