With beautiful coastal views and some of the best seafood in the country, Maine’s a popular destination.
From the scenic overlooks by the sea at Acadia National Park to the lush forests of the Pequawket Trail, Maine’s picturesque landscapes hold allure.
With just under 1.4 million residents, the Pine Tree State is tucked away in the northeasternmost corner of the United States and just may be one the country’s best-kept secrets, especially if you enjoy comfortable summers and freezing, snowy winters.
Let’s look further into the cost of living in Maine.
What’s the Average Cost of Living in Maine?
Average Cost of Living in Maine: $45,272 per year
Maine has the lowest cost of living in New England, beating out all five of its neighbors, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont, according to MERIC 2021 data. The closest contender in terms of value was New Hampshire, falling just short of its northern neighbor.
That translates to nearly $3,773 per month, per person.
Housing Costs in Maine
Average Housing Costs in Maine: $673 to $1,398 per month
The median sales price of homes in Maine was $310,840 in late 2021, according to the Maine Association of Realtors® — less than the national median sales price for existing homes in the same period, $353,900, reported by the National Association of Realtors.
Here are median monthly mortgage payment and rental costs for Maine, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
• Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,398
• Median studio rent: $727
• Median one-bedroom rent: $673
• Median two-bedroom rent: $909
• Median three-bedroom rent: $1,065
• Median four-bedroom rent: $1,074
• Median gross rent: $870
Much of northern New England saw a housing market frenzy from 2020 to 2021. Home prices across Maine rose by more than 9% year-over-year, while the number of homes for sale fell by almost 52%, Redfin found.
The Portland area has been especially popular. A typical home there is now worth twice as much as a similar property in Bangor.
Typical Home Price
Utility Costs in Maine
Average Utility Costs in Maine: $380 per month
Maine’s deep winters are no joke, and keeping a lid on utility costs is key to making it through the most frigid months.
Here are Maine’s average monthly utility costs. Your results may vary according to your property and geography.
Average Maine Bill
Cable & Internet
Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price, 2021; Inspirecleanenergy.com; DoxoInsights, U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2021; and Rentcafe.com, What Is the Average Water Bill?
Groceries & Food
Average Grocery & Food Costs in New England: $361 per person, per month
When it comes to groceries, Maine is one of the most affordable states for food within the New England region. Portland, Maine, was ranked the second least expensive city for groceries among the nine major New England cities surveyed.
However, this is all relative, as grocery shopping in New England is still more expensive than in the rest of the continental United States. In fact, New England residents pay the highest grocery costs in the nation.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis lists the average Mainer’s annual outlay for non-restaurant food and beverages as $4,338, which translates to around $362 per month for the average individual.
Average Transportation Costs in Maine: $4,332 to $11,773 per year
As any true Mainer knows, distance in Maine is measured in time, not miles. Locking down transportation costs is especially important, given the hours that Maine’s residents spend on the road getting from point A to point B.
Residents actually fare well in this category, as Maine has some of the lowest transportation costs in the nation. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked Maine as the cheapest state for car insurance in the country.
Average Health Care Costs in Maine: $7,851 per person, per year
Maine falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to health care costs, according to a national study by U.S. News that ranks states on health care accessibility and affordability.
The average Mainer spends $7,851 a year on health care, according to the 2020 Bureau of Economic Analysis Personal Consumption Expenditures report. Of course the figures can vary widely, given people’s needs and coverage.
Maine residents looking for affordable health insurance can compare plans at CoverME.gov .
Average Child Care Costs in Maine: $1,185 to $1,622 or more per child, per month
Child care costs are a significant portion of a family’s monthly budget, but the expenses can vary depending on the age of the child and type of care.
Families seeking trusted child care providers, or who want to learn about where they can get help paying for child care, can find out more at childcarechoices.me .
Here are the average monthly child care costs in Maine, according to 2021 data from costofchildcare.org .
Type of Child Care
Average Cost Per Month, Per Child
Home-based Child Care
Highest Marginal Tax Rate in Maine: 7.15%
Maine’s highest marginal tax rate is 7.15%, says the Tax Foundation . Like most U.S. states, Maine has a graduated income tax structure.
Maine also has a state sales tax of 5.5%, while homeowners pay an average effective annual property tax of 1.27% at the state level.
Maine income taxes are average, compared with the nation as a whole. While it’s certainly no state income-tax haven like Florida or Nevada, Maine is still a far cry from states with high tax burdens, like California, which has a top individual income tax bracket of 13.3%.
Now that we’re done worrying about statistics, let’s check out what locals pay for food and fun in the Pine Tree State.
• Maine lobster roll (market price): $24 to $35
• Bowl of New England clam chowder: $10 to $13
• Private vehicle entrance pass to Acadia National Park: $30
• Adult and Kids Tickets for York’s Wild Kingdom Zoo: $14.75 and $9
• 12-pack of Moxie Soda: $27.99
• 6-pack of Allagash White: $11.98
Having lobster for dinner every night might not be the best financial decision, but if that’s your choice, Maine might be the best place to do it. The state has led the nation in lobster fishing for 30 years and is responsible for over 93% of the U.S. lobster harvest.
Did you know that Maine has the most breweries per capita of any state in the United States? As of 2021, Maine had 156 registered breweries; that’s one brewery for every 8,654 residents in the state. That’s not surprising when the state’s roster boasts national hoppy heavy hitters like Allagash and Shipyard Brewing Co.
Scenic drives and hikes are free. So is gazing at the state’s 65 lighthouses and, in September, exploring over two dozen historic beacons during Maine Open Lighthouse Day.
How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Maine?
According to MIT’s Living Wage calculator, an average single individual working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year would need an annual salary of $31,034 to make do. In other words, a living wage in Maine is seen as $14.92 an hour.
In general, New England ranks pretty poorly in terms of affordability when compared with the rest of the nation. Maine ranks 35th on U.S. News and World Report’s Affordability Ranking.
Bear in mind that affordability is a relative measure, and while it performs poorly on the national level, Maine, remember, is actually the most affordable state in New England.
It may not be cheap to live in Yankeeland, but Maine might be the best of the bunch when it comes to keeping costs low.
What City Has the Lowest Cost of Living in New England?
To compare the cost of living in Maine, let’s take a gander at the cities with the lowest cost of living in New England, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index for the second quarter of 2021.
The capital of Connecticut ranks as the city with the lowest cost of living in New England, according to the most recent council data. Hartford is the fourth-largest city in Connecticut and is also the de facto insurance capital of the nation, with UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Travelers all hosting major branches there.
Manchester, New Hampshire
The most populous city in northern New England, Manchester, also known as the Queen City, is home to over 1.3 million residents and ranks second lowest on the council’s cost-of-living index. New Hampshire doesn’t tax earned wages or have a sales tax.
One of the smallest cities on this list, Pittsfield ranked as the New England city with the third-lowest cost of living. Located on the western edge of Massachusetts, Pittsfield is the seat of Berkshire County and host to some of New England’s major industrial employers, including GE, Chemex, and General Dynamics.
Looking for a Home Loan?
The cost of living in Maine is the lowest in New England, and home prices tend to run south of the U.S. median. If the most forested state in America, lighthouses, 230 miles of coastline, lobster, and moose are beckoning, it might be time to make a pilgrimage to Maine.
Although there are many home loans on the market to choose from, SoFi offers a range of fixed-rate mortgage loans at competitive interest rates and with as little as 5% down.
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