Maine's Hottest Towns 2020
Maine’s Hottest Towns of 2020: Real Estate Matters
As unusual of a year that 2020 was, it didn’t slow Maine’s real estate market down! With everyone’s focus being on staying at home more, many towns continued to see a rise in prices and demand, and there was a surprising shift in this year’s winners of Maine’s Hottest Towns. Of the winners for “Maine’s Hottest Towns of 2020,” only three have made the ranks since 2017!
Gathering data from the multiple listing service (operated by Maine Real Estate Information Services, Inc.), we found our Maine’s Hottest Towns of 2020 winners by calculating which Maine municipalities had the largest increase in the number of home and condo sales in 2020. We then compared these numbers to 2019.
Are you ready? Onto Maine’s Hottest Towns of 2020….
#10 - Lisbon
Lisbon, incorporated in the year 1799, is located in Androscoggin County and is part of the Lewiston-Auburn area. Never making the Hottest Towns in previous years, Lisbon snuck its way into 10th place for 2020 seeing a 13.9% increase in the number of homes sold compared to 2019. Along with its growth in the number of homes sold, it also saw a rise in median sale price with an impressive 17.9%, jumping from $181,000 in 2019 to $213,500 for 2020. Originally named Thompsonborough, the town’s name was changed to Lisbon (named after the city in Portugal) in 1802 after residents expressed their frustration with the long name.
#9 – Old Orchard Beach
Located in York county, the popular tourist town of Old Orchard Beach saw a steady increase of 15.3% in the number of homes sold for 2020 and the median sale price saw a modest increase overall. In 2019, the median sale price in Old Orchard Beach was $284,950, and in 2020, that saw a 5.2% increase with the median being $300,000. This quintessential seaside town has been a popular tourist destination since the late 1800s and continues to attract visitors from all over. Old Orchard Beach was home to the first carousel in the United States.
#8 - Gray
Rich with Civil War history, Gray is located in Cumberland County between Portland and Lewiston. Gray made its first appearance this year to the Hottest Towns with an increase by 16.3% in homes sold with a median sale price of $319,000 – up nearly 15% from a $278,450 median in 2019. During the Civil War, the small town of Gray proportionately sent more soldiers to conflict more than any other town in Maine.
#7 – Auburn
Auburn snuck its way back into Maine’s Hottest Towns this year, placing itself in a steady 7th place! Last making the list at #2 in 2018, but then dropping off completely in 2019, Auburn took on a healthy growth in its market with a 16.6% increase in its home sales for 2020. The median sale price also saw an impressive rise with the second highest jump on this year’s list. In 2019, the median price was $163,725 and in 2020, it was $198,500 – a 21.2% increase! Once earning itself as a center for the world’s shoe manufacturing, by 1917 one factory in Auburn was producing 75 percent of the world's supply of white canvas shoes.
#6 - Brewer
Never making the Hottest Towns list in previous years, Brewer (also known as the “Community of Caring”) is a steadily growing community located in Penobscot County with a 17.4% increase in home sales between 2019 and 2020! All of this is lending a steady increase in Brewer’s median sale price. Up from $160,000 in 2019, 2020 had a 17.1% increase to $187,500. Brewer was famous for its brick-making industry throughout the 19th century. Most of the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods of Boston were constructed using bricks made in Brewer.
#5 – Wells
Named after Wells, England, Wells was incorporated on July 5th, 1653, making it the third oldest town in Maine. Wells was #7 for the Hottest Towns in 2017 and hasn’t made an appearance again until making its way into #5 for 2020. The town saw a 20.7% increase in the number of homes sold for 2020 and the median sale price rose from $299,900 to a remarkable $355,000. The Abenaki Indians called the area Webhannet, meaning "at the clear stream", a reference to the Webhannet River.
#4 - Rockland
The beautiful, picturesque city of Rockland soared to 4th place for this year’s Hottest Towns. Seeing a 25.9% increase in home sales in 2020, the town of Rockland took first place for the highest rise in median sale price, rising from $175,000 in 2019 to $212,700 in 2020 – nearly 22%! Rockland is the home of the Maine Lobster Festival which is in honor of the town’s primary export: lobster!
#3 - Falmouth
A town rich with Native American history, Falmouth took an impressive leap to take the bronze for this year’s Maine’s Hottest Towns! Falmouth had an increase of 38.9% sold homes in 2020 versus 2019. The median in Falmouth also increased. In 2019, the median home price was $525,000 and in 2020, that number rose to $580,000. Falmouth was much larger upon its original establishment in the 1600s, encompassing the present-day cities of Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Cape Elizabeth.
#2 – Kittery
Kittery is the oldest town in Maine and sits just over the border from our neighbors in New Hampshire. Home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery is also known for its many outlet stores. Kittery was #8 for Maine’s Hottest Towns in 2019 and continued to see an upwards trend to land itself in second place this year! Last year, Kittery saw a striking 43% increase in its home sales with a median sale price of $465,000 — up 10.1% from a $422,000 median in 2019.
#1 - Kennebunkport
Known for being the summer home for the Bush family, Kennebunkport never made the Hottest Towns list until this year where it busted out and climbed all the way to claim first place! Kennebunkport witnessed a stunning 69.5% jump in the number of homes sold in 2020. The 139 homes sold for a median sale price of $657,000, the second lowest increase in median sale price on this year’s list. This gave a 7% increase from the 2019 median of $630,500. Its beautiful beaches and charm make this a very popular tourist and summer destination. It is also the birthplace of George Herbert Walker who was a notorious businessman, and most notably, the grandfather of US President George Bush Sr. and great-grandfather of George Bush Jr.
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