Department of Numbers

Portland Maine Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in Portland, ME (the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford metro area) was $956 in 2016 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Portland was $933 in 2016. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2017 Portland median and average rent data will be released in September of 2018.

Data is also available below for Portland rental vacancy rates, Portland rent as a percent of median income and the fraction of renters in Portland.

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in Portland Maine (2016 dollars)2

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $981 +0.93% +7.80%
Maine Median Gross Rent $797 -0.62% +4.32%
Portland, ME Median Gross Rent $956 -1.54% +5.40%

Portland, ME Real Gross Rent Trends

Median gross rent for Portland peaked in real terms in 2015 at $971 and is now $15 (1.54%) lower. Average gross rent for Portland peaked in real terms in 2015 at $965 and is now $32 (3.32%) lower.

Real Gross Rent in Portland: Portland ME Median, Portland ME Average, Maine Median, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for Portland

Date US
Median
Maine
Median
Portland, ME
Median
Portland, ME
Average
2016 $981 $797 $956 $933
2015 $972 $802 $971 $965
2014 $942 $782 $924 $915
2013 $910 $764 $907 $891
2012 $898 $756 $905 $893
2011 $898 $771 $915 $910
2010 $912 $754 $889 $873
2009 $916 $786 $948 $934
2008 $932 $794 $935 $895
2007 $885 $729 $876 $847
2006 $895 $746 $925 $894
2005 $869 $744 $901 $876

Portland Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2016 the rental vacancy rate for Portland Maine was 5.91% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Portland Maine

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.89% +0.04% -0.60%
Maine 6.74% +1.45% -0.43%
Portland, ME 5.91% +1.32% -0.42%

Trends in Portland, ME Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in Portland peaked in 2010 at 9.42%. Since then it has fallen by 3.51% to 5.91%. Data records for this series originated in 2005. From a 2015 post peak low of 4.59%, the rental vacancy rate has increased by 1.32%.

Rental Vacancy Rate: Portland ME, Maine, US

Rental vacancy rate in Maine

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for Portland

Date US Maine Portland, ME
2016 5.89% 6.74% 5.91%
2015 5.85% 5.29% 4.59%
2014 6.32% 7.07% 6.06%
2013 6.49% 7.17% 6.33%
2012 6.77% 6.25% 4.99%
2011 7.40% 7.67% 7.25%
2010 8.17% 8.75% 9.42%
2009 8.43% 7.36% 8.50%
2008 7.86% 7.13% 6.25%
2007 7.87% 8.13% 9.09%
2006 7.70% 5.85% 7.30%
2005 7.74% 7.41% 7.69%

Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for Portland, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For Portland, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 18.09% in 2016 according to the ACS.

Portland Maine Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.43% -0.20% -0.35%
Maine 18.02% -0.44% -1.40%
Portland, ME 18.09% -0.43% -1.68%

Trends in Portland, ME Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median Portland household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2012 (relative to the 2005 series origin) at 19.91%. Since then it has fallen by 1.82% to 18.09%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: Portland ME, Maine, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in Portland Maine

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in Portland Maine

Date US Maine Portland, ME
2016 20.43% 18.02% 18.09%
2015 20.63% 18.46% 18.52%
2014 20.89% 18.83% 18.45%
2013 20.78% 19.41% 19.76%
2012 20.65% 19.11% 19.91%
2011 20.70% 19.47% 19.05%
2010 20.50% 18.52% 17.68%
2009 20.12% 18.94% 19.41%
2008 19.00% 18.08% 18.26%
2007 18.66% 17.00% 17.36%
2006 18.90% 17.57% 18.52%
2005 18.89% 17.47% 18.18%

Renter Fraction in Portland Maine

You can calculate the renter fraction in Portland in at least two ways: by housing units or by population. I've gone with the housing units measure here. This measure looks at the number of renting households in Portland as a fraction of total Portland households. In 2016 30.19% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Portland Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.88% -0.09% +0.38%
Maine 28.13% -0.87% -1.71%
Portland, ME 30.19% +0.76% -0.24%

Trends in the Portland, ME Renter Fraction

The Portland household renter fraction peaked in in 2005 at 30.57% and is now 0.38% below that level. From a recent low of 26.86% in 2007, the household based renter fraction has now grown by 3.33%. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: Portland ME, Maine, US

Fraction of renters in Portland

History of Portland Renter Fraction

Date US Maine Portland, ME
2016 36.88% 28.13% 30.19%
2015 36.97% 29.00% 29.43%
2014 36.90% 28.68% 29.49%
2013 36.50% 29.84% 30.43%
2012 36.09% 28.59% 30.22%
2011 35.42% 29.05% 30.48%
2010 34.65% 27.32% 27.89%
2009 34.13% 27.26% 28.70%
2008 33.36% 27.86% 29.10%
2007 32.80% 26.05% 26.86%
2006 32.73% 27.21% 27.37%
2005 33.10% 28.21% 30.57%

1. Gross rent is defined as contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewer) and fuel (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). Because some rentals include utilities and others don't, gross rent is a way of normalizing the variability.

2. Real dollars are calculated using the CPI-U less shelter series.

3. The rental vacancy rate is computed by dividing the number of vacant units for rent by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are for rent, and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied.