BANGOR, Maine — Rent costs are on the rise across the country, and it's no different in Maine.
According to Apartment List, a national marketplace for apartments, rent costs in Maine increased 13% from June 2021 to 2022. Maine has also seen a 39% increase in rent since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Joshua Gass rents a two-bedroom apartment in Bangor. When he moved in last October, his rent was $1,150. Months later, a new landlord purchased the property and initially raised the rent by $500.
"It was just sort of concerning to me to see the rent increase so dramatically in such a short amount of time," Gass said.
And the cost just keeps rising.
Gass's landlord notified residents that, starting Aug. 1, rent would cost $1,850. This makes for an almost 61% cost increase in 10 months.
"The building that I'm in has quite a few elderly people that I know have been in the building for over 10 years," Gass said. "I can only imagine what this might be like ... for a single senior that has been living in — that's their home — for quite a while."
Louie Morrison has been a landlord in the Bangor area for nearly 14 years. He describes Bangor's rental market as having a "serious supply and demand issue."
"The number of vacancies in town right now is practically zero," Morrison said. "Literally hundreds of people looking for safe, affordable housing."
A May 2022 report from Redfin shows rent increased 15% across the nation compared to May 2021. The report also states the "median national asking rent" surpassed $2,000 — a record high.
Jay Lybik, a national real estate expert for Costar Group, claims the problem stems from not building enough housing in the past 12 years.
"When demand really picked up last year in the second year of the pandemic, we didn't have enough supply," Lybik said. "This pushed rents to the stratospheric levels we're seeing today."