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A Portland city memo this week found that it is too early to tell whether progressive housing changes such as the Green New Deal, which requires buildings with 10 or more units to make 25 percent of them affordable, are discouraging developers and holding down supply.
But these three figures make clear that Maine’s largest city is not fully meeting housing demand or affordability benchmarks.
That is the share of Portland renters that were moderately or severely cost-burdened in 2020, meaning they paid more than 30 percent to 50 percent of their household income toward gross rent.
Almost 55 percent of the city’s 34,000 housing units were renter-occupied that year. Some 62 percent of Portland households earn less than the county’s median income, a number that has increased 10 percent over the last decade.
More than a quarter of newly created multi-family units developed over the last five years are affordable, with rents or purchase prices limited to households earning less than 120 percent of the median area income.
Some 70 percent of the new units created have disproportionate numbers of smaller studio and one-bedroom units. Demand for housing continues to outpace supply.
The percentage of units that will meet the demand for workforce housing in Portland in 2030 if construction trends of the past five years continue. Some 29 percent of new housing units permitted from 2010 to 2014 were affordable to those earning 100 percent of median income. Current housing production is not meeting the needs of households earning 80 percent to 100 percent of the median income.
Those with higher incomes, stable jobs and good credit ratings are in a better position to compete for affordable units that are subsidized and unsubsidized. This creates a glut of affordable units at the low end of the range that may be in bad condition with deferred maintenance issues.