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Portland, Maine Real Estate Market Vs. Phoenix, AZ Real Estate Market


How do the real estate markets of Portland, Maine and Phoenix, Arizona compare? You might be surprised to learn that real estate markets of these two cities are as different as the cities themselves. No doubt each city has its strong market points, but how do Portland, ME and Phoenix, AZ compare in six key areas? Let’s take a look.


Portland, Maine is the state’s largest city, coming in around 65,000 residents according to 2010 US Census Bureau data. Phoenix, Arizona, the largest city in Arizona, has a whopping population of 1,445,632 says 2010 data from the US Census Bureau. It’s worth noting that the city of Phoenix actually has more residents than the entire state of Maine, which has about 1,320,000 people living within its boundaries. Phoenix’s population has grown nearly 17% since 2000, while Portland’s population shrunk nearly 3% during the same time period.

Median Income and Cost of Living

The median income for a household in Portland was $35,650 in 2010, and the median income for a family was $48,763. Out west, the median income for a household in Phoenix was $41,207 in 2010, and the median income for a family was $46,467. Here’s the clincher: Portland’s cost of living is 17.10% higher than the US average, and Phoenix’s is 9.10% lower than the US average. So, chances are your pay check will go a bit further in the sunny city of Phoenix. So how do housing costs measure up? Glad you asked.

Housing Costs

Looking at the last month or so, the median listing price was $119,000 in Phoenix, with $12,900 being the least expensive listing, and $10,990,000 being the most extravagant. Back on the east coast, comparing the same time frame, the median listing price in lovely Portland was about $249,900 with a low listing of $79,900 and the most expensive listing coming in a conservative $1,950,000. So what’s on the market now? Let’s check out how the number of homes currently for sale compares between the two cities.

Currently for Sale

The number of homes currently for sale in Phoenix, Arizona is 6,106. By comparison, the 400 homes currently for sale in Portland seem minuscule, but let’s not forget the substantial difference in city size. Houses in both cities have an average stay on the market of about 125 days.

Home Appreciation

While neither city has had positive home appreciation in the last year (no surprise there) Portland faired a bit better. Portland’s home appreciation was -3.56%, and Phoenix’s was -16.63%. Here’s a bit more positive news for Portland: Inman News recently released their top 10 real estate markets to watch in 2011, and Portland, ME came in at an impressive #4. Inman News is a leader in the independent real estate news field, and ranked the top 10 real estate markets to watch by population, sales volume, and median sales price appreciation. So, Portland may have a good chance of outperforming other markets (including Phoenix) in 2011. Time will tell.


Everyone wants to know what’s going on with foreclosures. Here’s what you need to know. To get a baseline, let’s look at the US as a whole. During the month of March 2011, 1 in every 542 housing units in the US received a foreclosure filing. In Phoenix, that number was substantially higher (as has been the trend) at 1 in every 150. Back in Portland, ME, 1 in every 3,368 housing units received a foreclosure filing in March 2011. Big difference.

In Portland, Maine visitors and residents alike gravitate to the historic Old Port district, rich which cobblestone streets, fishing piers, and impressive brick buildings that date back to the 19th century. Mixed with the ambiance of yesteryear are charming, upscale boutiques, fine eateries and an abundant nightlife. Simply put, Portland is place with an old soul and a progressive attitude. Phoenix, AZ has been booming for years, and there’s good reason. Its sunny location, relatively low cost of living and diversity are just some of its strong points. It’s a ‘newer’ city that’s big on culture and sports.

But when it comes to the real estate market, Phoenix clearly offers many more homes to choose from and its foreclosure and short sale markets are large. There are definitely bargains to be found, and its housing costs are less than those of Portland. When we turn an eye to appreciation however, Portland seems to be the winner- and some say it’s a city to keep your eye on for 2011.

Guest contributor: Show Appeal Realty, an Arizona real estate brokerage selling Scottsdale Homes and Gilbert real estate.

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