Multifamily Housing Booming in Ellsworth, Maine

Two big trends are pushing the economy in the direction of more multi-family housing. One is a demographic shift toward more senior citizens and fewer families with kids at home. The other is the “un-invention” of various mortgage lending products that allowed less-creditworthy people to become homeowners. Becuase the overall economy remains depressed, we’re not in the middle of a crazy boom of multi-family construction just yet. But multi-family building is picking up pretty strongly and even in unexpected places like Ellsworth, Maine that aren’t exactly hubs of high-density construction:

The city Planning Board since last August has approved four apartment buildings and a senior housing project.

On Water Street, a 29-unit affordable housing development called Straw Way Family Housing is under construction. On the Bangor Road, the “For Rent” sign is up at a newly expanded apartment complex.

“Apartment buildings are about the only thing going on in Ellsworth,” said surveyor Stephen Salsbury, who has worked for several of the developers.

29 units are a lot in a “city” (by Maine standards) that has fewer than 8,000 total inhabitants.