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In a housing market that has numerous owners with decades of home ownership, a Bangor bedroom community stands nearly alone.
More than 17 percent of homeowners in Maine have lived on their properties since 1989 or earlier. But in Glenburn, that rate is just 4 percent, according to 2020 American Community Survey data. That’s the lowest for any Maine community with 500 people or more.
The lack of legacy homeowners showcases the suburban growth that Bangor, as well as Portland, have seen in recent years as people migrate to locations with more space outside city centers. The largest influx in Glenburn came from 2000 to 2009, when over 44 percent of current homeowners moved in compared with 29 percent statewide.
As late as 1960, Glenburn had fewer than 1,000 people. But the city saw an exponential rise in population from 1960 to 2010, increasing by more than 3,600 people. The decade from 2010 to 2020 saw a smaller increase of just 54 people, or 1 percent of the population.
Just northwest of Bangor, Glenburn is the fifth-largest town in Penobscot County and the eighth-largest municipality, with 4,600 people as of the 2020 U.S. Census. The median age of 38 is nearly seven years younger than in the rest of Maine. Many who live in the town work in Bangor.
But Glenburn has perks of its own. Stephen Overlock, a 30-year-old logistics broker, owns a home in more rural Bradford but bought a $326,000 home in Glenburn earlier this month to be “closer to town” and so that his four-year-old son could attend Glenburn Elementary School.
While he didn’t find it difficult to buy the home, he has little doubt that the purchase would have been less expensive in past years. But it seemed fair for the market, far more so than other properties he said were listed for higher than they were worth based on age and size.
That seems to be borne out by data. The average residential property in Glenburn was priced around $256,000 this year. That’s up from $229,000 in 2021 and $170,000 in 2020. A total of 196 residential properties have been sold in Glenburn since March 2020, the month that the COVID-19 pandemic began, at a median price of $202,500.
Earlier this month, Glenburn saw its third-most expensive residential property sale on record. A couple bought a three-bedroom, 2.4-acre property for $515,000, which was $16,000 over the asking price after 49 days on the market.
Overlock’s property is on 2 acres, but he has the option of purchasing more land from the seller, who owns 100 acres in total in the neighboring lot. He bought it for around $7,000 over asking price after it had been on the market for two months.
“Crazy to think, but two years ago this home would have sold for around $220,000,” Overlock said.