A Maine real estate license expires in less than a month, but real estate school says the real estate market is still weak
A Maine license to rent a two-bedroom home in a residential area of the state expires this month and could cause a shortage of housing for the foreseeable future, according to the Maine Real Estate License Board.
Maine residents are eligible to rent an apartment, but only for two years.
If a property owner renews the license, the home can be used to rent out a three-bedroom house for $200 a month for the next 10 years.
The license allows homeowners to build up to six units of housing in their homes.
In March, the state House passed a bill that would require the state board to renew licenses for a period of six months, which would mean that a license in 2021 would be invalid, but that the state’s housing market is already weak.
A spokesperson for the Maine Board of Real Estate, a state agency that licenses real estate developers, told ABC News the current state of the housing market makes it difficult to predict the future.
“Our assessment is that there are not a lot of opportunities for people to buy and sell,” spokesperson Erin Lohmer told ABCNews.
“It’s kind of like the real world.”
Lohmer said there are currently more than 5,000 vacant and underutilized housing properties in Maine, and said it would be impossible to fill all of them with new units.
The real estate board also said in a statement that the number of vacant and unoccupied housing units has been rising in Maine for years.
“In a year that has seen the first ever number of new listings of rental properties in the state, the number is projected to climb another 1,400 units by the end of 2020,” the statement said.
“While this is a great accomplishment for our state, we can only be hopeful if the housing recovery continues to improve.
Maine realty continues to face significant challenges in keeping the market in a healthy condition, and the number and severity of these issues is expected to worsen in the coming years.”
According to the board’s statement, the average vacancy rate for Maine apartments in the first six months of 2021 is 5.6 percent, which is lower than the average rate for the first half of 2018.
The state board has said that if the number continues to rise, the rate could be higher than 10 percent by 2021.
In 2016, the Maine Association of Realtors reported that the average value of a rental unit in Maine was $1,095.60, with about one-third of that being for a one-bedroom unit.