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Old 10-16-2012, 08:20 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,718 times
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Hi. No doubt about it, I will be retiring to northern Maine, north of Bar Harbor. I've been to the area several times during the spring and summer. I really love Eastport, especially the small downtown district and the community spirit as shown by town events such as Paint Eastport Day, Pirate Festival, bed-racing fundraisers, etc... My only concern is that I've seen the same houses for sale in Eastport for 3-4 years now. What is the issue -- high taxes compared to nearby towns, declining population, aging infrastructure? I know the public water system is terrible.
I'd value any responses about other coastal towns in northern Maine that I might want to consider as my post-working days residence. Priorities for me are a town with a central hub of activity (shopping district, places to eat) and a community where there are a few townwide events during the year that bring people together.
Thanks in advance.
Jeff
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Eastport, Maine
1,158 posts, read 2,122,182 times
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Well, Jeff, you just described Eastport to a T. You are correct, high taxes, and but a stable population these days. We drink bottled water. Many of the small towns south of Eastport to the Hancock county line sort of fit the bill. Even some in Hancock are quite nice. Most of the coastal towns in this area face the same problems. Generally, higher taxes, greying population, and limited employment opportunities are the norm for this area. Schools are having hard times because of the small enrollments, and consolidation sounds great on paper, the population is so sparse, there is not a really good solution. Schools will continue to eat a larger and larger share of municipal budgets. I do think that Eastport, and Lubec sound like places where you would be okay. Eastport isn't that far from Calais, and Lubec isn't that far from Machias. I know we have quite a few festivals throughout the year in which the people do come together, from near and far. The cost of living is high, but the way of life here is hard to beat. It's really a personal choice. I think you will hear the same thing out of most of the people in the area. The issue on housing is that we have not had a housing boom or bust in this area. When people decide to sell a house, in most instances it is to a cash buyer. They don't see a need to haggle a lot over the price. You can pick up an occasional bargain though. Generally houses within 20K either side of 100K are selling, and the more expensive homes aren't moving all that fast. Since most of the homes are owned outright, most people are in no real hurry to sell them. Plus, Eastport has been discovered, and is home to a lot of people from away, such as myself. This tends to make housing prices a bit higher here than in other nearby areas. Taxes have increased by an average of about 10% every year. This year only about 6%.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:23 AM
 
Location: 3.5 sq mile island ant nest next to Canada
3,015 posts, read 4,870,942 times
Reputation: 2127
Quote:
Originally Posted by joiseyjeff View Post
Hi. No doubt about it, I will be retiring to northern Maine, north of Bar Harbor. I've been to the area several times during the spring and summer. I really love Eastport, especially the small downtown district and the community spirit as shown by town events such as Paint Eastport Day, Pirate Festival, bed-racing fundraisers, etc... My only concern is that I've seen the same houses for sale in Eastport for 3-4 years now. What is the issue -- high taxes compared to nearby towns, declining population, aging infrastructure? I know the public water system is terrible.
I'd value any responses about other coastal towns in northern Maine that I might want to consider as my post-working days residence. Priorities for me are a town with a central hub of activity (shopping district, places to eat) and a community where there are a few townwide events during the year that bring people together.
Thanks in advance.
Jeff

My opinion on the same houses for sale for 3-4 years is the asking price. Very seldom does it change even though some of the houses are not lived in and getting into worse shape along the way. Some of these folks came to town to flip the houses and got caught after the bubble burst. Some others are just families who've lived in the house for 40, 50, longer years and not worried if they sell or not. They are just browsing along to see what happens. Taxes are high but Eastport is a 3.5 sq. mile island (of sorts) with a bunch of services some larger towns don't have. It has to get paid for somehow and taxes are the way. You can also throw lack of commercial/industry into the mix. Back when we had commerce and industry both in town we had lower taxes and a larger tax base. Art galleries and museums are nice but they don't feed the bulldog. They generally only employ the owner(s) and no one else. The industry we used to have had larger, numerous buildings and loads of equipment to boot. Whoo. Big rant there. I needa shadup.

The water here takes a real bad rap but it is drinkable and safe. Then again, I have a well so I thumb my nose at the water company. I won't drink that crud. Smells bad with all the chemicals.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:06 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,718 times
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Thanks for the responses. I guess taxes are a matter of perspectve. Here in NJ, I'm paying $8,000 in yearly property taxes on a house that was just revalued at $360,000. 3 BDRs, 2-1/2 BTHRMs, 2 car garage, in a middle class town. On the flip side, we pay $47 to renewal our car registration each year.
Lubec struck me as a less vibrant town than Eastport, no offense intended. Is there a northern coastal town or two that anyone would suggest I visit this spring?
Again, my thanks for your insights.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:57 PM
 
161 posts, read 344,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joiseyjeff View Post
Thanks for the responses. I guess taxes are a matter of perspectve. Here in NJ, I'm paying $8,000 in yearly property taxes on a house that was just revalued at $360,000. 3 BDRs, 2-1/2 BTHRMs, 2 car garage, in a middle class town. On the flip side, we pay $47 to renewal our car registration each year.
Lubec struck me as a less vibrant town than Eastport, no offense intended. Is there a northern coastal town or two that anyone would suggest I visit this spring?
Again, my thanks for your insights.
Lubec is less vibrant, maybe. But oh so much more beautiful.

All kidding aside both towns are wonderful. The arts and the outdoors can't be beat in our little area of Maine.
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
3,093 posts, read 5,422,768 times
Reputation: 3136
Quote:
Originally Posted by joiseyjeff View Post
Thanks for the responses. I guess taxes are a matter of perspectve. Here in NJ, I'm paying $8,000 in yearly property taxes on a house that was just revalued at $360,000. 3 BDRs, 2-1/2 BTHRMs, 2 car garage, in a middle class town. On the flip side, we pay $47 to renewal our car registration each year.
Lubec struck me as a less vibrant town than Eastport, no offense intended. Is there a northern coastal town or two that anyone would suggest I visit this spring?
Again, my thanks for your insights.
Check out Blue Hill, Castine, Belfast, Stonington.
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Central Maine
1,472 posts, read 2,610,521 times
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I wouldn't assume that the reason why houses haven't sold is for any other reason than plummeting home values. The only exception would be waterfront properties, where the owners just haven't found an out-of-stater yet to pay five times its value. These will eventually sell to someone from Long Island. Otherwise, if a house has been on the market for awhile, you just have to be sure not pay more than you could sell it for tomorrow. That's the real market value. The problem is that many home owners are "upside down," so can't sell their homes for market value. Eventually they die and the homes just fall down. Ride up Rt 1 through Aroostook county and you'll see a bunch of these homes in various states of abandonment.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Woolwich, ME
162 posts, read 334,579 times
Reputation: 201
I'm a big fan of Belfast. You should definitely check it out. I don't get there all that often, but I was there in June and was reminded again of what a nice place it is. Definitely a real downtown and a lot of local activity.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:49 AM
 
Location: Penobscot Bay, the best place in Maine!
1,891 posts, read 5,146,844 times
Reputation: 2627
I'd just like to point out that if you refer to "Northern Maine", most Mainers will assume that you actually mean Northern Maine- Aroostook County, mostly, but also the upper parts of Somerset, Piscataquis and Penobscot counties. Unless you want to count the banks of the St. John River as "coastal", there are no coastal towns in Northern Maine.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:06 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,718 times
Reputation: 10
Okay. Point taken. I guess no matter how many whoopie pies I wash down with an ice-cold Moxie, I will be 'from away.'
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