The finance website SmartAsset.com has mapped out the country’s most affordable places to live, comparing home buying and home ownership costs — like average property tax bills, homeowners’ insurance and mortgage payments — against median income levels and deriving a composite “affordability index.”
The index doesn’t, as far as I can tell, include other costs associated with living someplace, such as food or electricity prices, but paints a pretty complete picture in terms of acquiring and maintaining a home.
To that end, SmartAsset has evaluated every municipality with at least 5,000 residents and crunched the numbers. In Maine, no place is more affordable to live — again, by the aforementioned criteria — than Caribou.
In fact, the top three most affordable places in Maine are in Aroostook County. Here’s the SmartAsset chart of the state’s top 10:
The only Cumberland County town — the only Greater Portland town — is Gorham. Driving north from there, you hit the relatively affordable Topsham in the southern midcoast area and then Gardiner. The rest of the list is mid-state and up.