BRUNSWICK STATION APARTMENTS construction nears completion and will house 24 residential units, with rents ranging from $1,200-$1,500 a month. Occupancy begins this summer.

BRUNSWICK STATION APARTMENTS construction nears completion and will house 24 residential units, with rents ranging from $1,200-$1,500 a month. Occupancy begins this summer.

TOPSHAM

Local real estate agents say that while the Topsham-Brunswick area has seen a lot of commercial development with more on the horizon, housing inventories are at the lowest numbers in years.

At a recent housing forum, commercial broker Don Spann noted that workforce housing will be in demand as job creation in the Midcoast continues to grow. For example, the ongoing redevelopment of the former Navy base at Brunswick Landing alone has drawn 100 businesses and created 1,224 jobs.

Those workers will need somewhere to live, but may struggle to find housing they can afford.

With lower inventories, the demand for homes selling for less than $300,000 will continue to increase, while those available will sell fast, said Spann.

While plans for more subdivisions in Brunswick, Topsham and Bath are underway, there is still be a need for more multi-family housing.

“We need houses,” designated broker Sue Spann and wife of Don Spann said. “We’ve got buyers. We’ve got lots of buyers. We need housing and whether it’s multi-family, whether it’s condos, whether it’s single family — it’s beyond the critical point at this point in our community.”

Thirty-five homes in Topsham priced between $100,000-$200,000 sold in the past year. In Brunswick, 104 homes within that range sold.

According to the Maine Association of Realtors, there was a 26 percent drop in the number of units sold between November 2016 and January compared to the same time the previous year. There was also a 36 percent increase in the median sales price.

Oak Hill at River Ridge in Topsham is a 68-unit condo complex under construction. Of the 19 units already built, all have been sold and the four units under construction are already under contract.

Projects underway in Brunswick include the Moody Road, Julia’s Way, Beacon Ridge and Meadow Rose Farm subdivisions. Topsham has approved the Glades Above Homeplace 14-unit single family subdivision at the end of Homeplace off Foreside Road. Lisbon will see the construction of new homes and apartment buildings in Kelly Park.

Rental market

Robert Whisenant, a broker for RE/MAX Riverside and a landlord, said there is still a shortage of rentals. Without advertising, his phone has been ringing off the hook with people inquiring about the new, 24 residential units under construction at Brunswick Station.

Potential customers aren’t balking at the rents ranging from $1,150 to $1,575 a month, he said.

“I get a lot of phone calls from people asking for help with housing, looking for two or three bedrooms, which is not available,” Whisenant said. “It looks like there’s some help coming down the road in construction, but I don’t think it’s enough.”

There are some signs of improvement.

In Bath, the 59-unit mixed-income apartment building at the former Huse School is taking pre-applications for July occupancy, and Kennebec Landing has created 44 rental units in the former Bath hospital on Park Street — 27 of them leased to the Navy.

The Bath RiverWalk Residences will have 40 condo units and at least five of them were expected to have been closed on by now, according to Spann. Davenport Circle, an eight-residential rental unit project, has been approved as well.

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