Cost Of Living In Portland, ME (Taxes, Housing & More)

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by Upgraded Home Team

Portland, Maine is the cozy port town of your East Coast dreams. Opening up into Casco Bay, it has all the amenities of a New England city, including lobster rolls, microbreweries, portholes, and more.

If you love a view of the water, 19th century historic home and shop fronts, and delicious seafood, you’ll find yourself completely delighted with everything Portland has to offer. Over 200 restaurants also make this a foodie city. You’ll never get tired of all the exciting things to do on land and in the water. With so much fun waiting for you, is Portland also affordable to call home?

The median home cost of living in Portland, Maine is $309,300. Despite being such a beautiful and desirable location, this city somehow manages to keep its living costs down for residents. Perhaps it’s a little-known New England secret.

You’ll want to account for the cost of other living expenses when deciding if Portland is right for you, but right off the bat, you can see that it has reasonable housing prices. With a cost of living index of 108.2, Portland gives you a cozy and quaint atmosphere without destroying your budget.

The livable wage in Cumberland County (where Portland is located) amounts to about $17.11 per hour for a single adult. The minimum wage in Maine is $12.00 per hour. This signals that the county does require more than the national average in wealth, but that it isn’t too wildly expensive.

This city has an eclectic blend of artistry and history that you won’t want to pass up. With the cost of living being only 8.2% more than the nation at large, it isn’t hard to justify moving to the area. Below, we’ll go through the rest of the expenses that may or may not convince you of whether Portland, Maine is your dream destination.

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Cost to Buy a Home in Portland, ME

Homeownership in Portland, Maine is one of the best-kept real estate secrets in the U.S. For around $300,000, you can get a 3 bed, 2 bath classic New England brick home with trim at around 1,000 square feet. Gorgeous brick interior and exteriors, as well as creamy white finishes and porches, are the norm in this city.

It really is an excellent deal for high-quality homes. Portland, Maine has a housing index of 133.8, which is about 33.8% greater than the national average and the rest of the state. This is certainly an elevated cost, but it’s likely worth it considering the prime location near a port and lively living scene.

The median cost of buying a home in Maine is $229,400, which is nearly $80,000 less than Portland. This seems to indicate that Portland is one of the more desirable cities in Maine. But if you’re still not ready to take the plunge for homeownership, renting is still a viable option.

Cost to Rent in Portland, ME

Renting in Portland is easy-peasy if you haven’t saved enough to put a 20% down payment on a home. About half of people in Portland are renting, so you’ll certainly be in good company. Rental properties make up a nice 2.0% of the housing market in Portland. Here, we’ve listed out the price jumps that occur as you rent a larger and larger property:

Style of HomePrice Per Month
1 Bedroom$1046
2 Bedroom$1350
3 Bedroom$1784
4 Bedroom$2130

Portland really isn’t that bad as far as renting costs. The difference in cost between a studio and one-bedroom is only 100 dollars, which seems to indicate that there isn’t too crazy a price inflation. Even so, you’ll get an even better deal if you split the price down the middle with a roommate or a significant other. That will make Portland even more livable than it already is.

Home Property Taxes in Portland

Those who invest in Portland, Maine real estate may balk at the property tax rate of 2.33%. How this ends up looking is that you’ll pay about $2,331 in tax for $100,000 of home value.

Utilities in Portland

Utilities are that lesser expense that can turn up to bite you in the butt if you forget to account for them. Luckily, utilities in Portland are only 2.7% higher than the national average. That means you won’t be getting fleeced for this additional bill if you rent or live in the area. Some rental properties will even bundle the utilities so you can worry less about each one individually. A reasonable amount for utilities would be around $100. Utilities may include:

  • Electricity
  • Cooling
  • Heating
  • Water
  • Garbage

If you move to Portland, you won’t need to worry about whether you’re getting a bad deal for these utility expenses.

The Cost of Child Care

Portland is a perfect spot for young families to raise their children because it has decently affordable homes and plenty of activities to excite the kiddos. Still, it will be tough for families to make ends meet if they have to put their kids in daycare. Across the country, parents are struggling to pay for this service.

In Portland, full-time daycare each week can easily cost you this much:

AgeCost Per Week
Average for all ages$323

There are around 40 daycares to choose from when you decide to bring up your kids in Portland, Maine. That means you might be able to get a more competitive price for daycare. Still, you can expect to pay over $1,000 to put your child in full-time daycare each month. That can easily take up a sizable portion of your salary. And adding more children into the equation makes things even more expensive.

Food in Portland, Maine

Like we mentioned before, Portland is a city for those who love to try out fine dining. But this is a trap that will make you significantly poorer. Keeping that in mind, restrict yourself to only a few restaurant meals a month and use the rest of your budget wisely on home-cooked meals. If you have dependents, this becomes even more important as food costs skyrocket for families.

Here is a list we’ve compiled of the food prices you can expect to pay in Portland:

Food ItemCost
1 Gallon of Milk$3.15
1 Pound of Local Cheese$6.67
12 Dozen Eggs$2.11
1 Pound of Rice$4.50
1 Pound of Chicken$4.07
1 Pound of Apples$1.87
1 Head of Lettuce$1.87
1 Bottle of Mid-Range Wine$11.50

As you can see, Portland has normal prices for common grocery items.

How Much Will Entertainment Cost?

The paradox of choice is never more apparent than when you think about what to do in Portland. There’s the Portland Museum of Art, Eastern Promenade overlooking the cove, shopping and sightseeing at the Old Port, and much more. How could you ever run out of things to do and see?

We’ve put together this list of some activities that might catch your eye in Portland and how much they might cost.

Activity Price Range
Restaurant (three-course meal for two people, mid-range)$50-$70
Fitness Club (one adult, monthly)$10-$35
Portland Museum of Art Membership$5/month
2 Hour Private Casco Bay Charter$350

Education in Portland, Maine

In Portland, each teacher educates a room of about 12 students, with schools in the area paying about $15,796 per student. These stats are really incredible, as that’s an amazing ratio of teacher to student, and the city is actually paying a couple thousand more per student than the U.S. overall.

Private School

The East Coast is notorious for elitist schools, private education, and Ivy League mentalities. Maine is no exception. Private schools in this state can easily push the cost envelope with yearly prices amounting to over $20,000. High schools in particular can get super pricey.


There’s no need for anyone to venture out of Portland for their education because there is a university right smack dab in the city. The Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine is easily accessible. There are even graduate programs and a law school to keep you anchored to the city for the rest of your career.

USM charges $288 per credit hour for in-state undergraduate students, versus $769 per credit hour for out-of-state undergraduate students. Clearly, there’s a large advantage to becoming a Maine resident before applying to this school.

Technical College

Southern Maine Community College is a great option for students who have aspirations that can’t be met by a four-year university. This college offers programs in fields such as the health sciences, applied technology, public safety, and more. Full-time tuition for an in-state student is $2,880 yearly.

Related Questions

How much do you need to live comfortably in Portland?

Portland is highly reasonable for even an average income. To live comfortably in Portland, you will want to make a salary of about $35,594 a year before taxes. This amounts to around $2,966 per month for a single adult. Larger families will need to bring in more income.

Is Portland a good place to live?

Portland is an excellent place to live. It has a youthful atmosphere, plenty of outdoor and indoor activities, and nostalgic New England vibes. The architecture is glorious to observe and historical treasures abound.

What are the main industries in Portland?

Portland is a hotspot for the health care and social assistance industry, as well as retail and education. If you’re a health care professional, you’ll find Portland has many job opportunities.

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In Conclusion

Portland, Maine is an East Coast gem that will give you a serious affection for coastal climes and waterways. The best seafood you can find is on offer year-round. Why wouldn’t you want to live here?

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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