Murphy and Ashley Crowell had been looking for months to find a flat they could afford and finally found a place in the new Downs. Courtesy Photo/Diana Nelson

SCARBOROUGH — The housing crisis continues as many Maine residents cannot afford inflated real estate prices due to a lack of inventory.

The Downs have devised a master plan to provide more choice in housing types, developers say. They say their goal is to have housing with single-family homes, but increase opportunities for other types, including condominiums, townhouses and apartments, to better accommodate different levels. prices and lifestyles.

According to Downs spokeswoman Diana Nelson of Black Fly Media, 83% of Downs units are non-single-family homes and represent a range of prices that are considered affordable housing and labor under the definition of the state.

“Our master plan has been designed to ‘fix the mix’ of housing available in Scarborough and create more balance,” said Nelson. “It expands the demographics of people living downstairs, from millennials to empty nests, and provides more housing choices. Conventional single-family homes are very expensive for the city and schools to service, with larger lots, long streets, and a high rate of school-aged children. Other more compact housing types (small condominiums, apartments, or townhouses) have very low rates of school-aged children. They are very effective in serving and creating a positive net revenue stream for the municipality. “Most units at The Downs generate positive net revenues for the Town of Scarborough each year after taking into account service costs.”

The average sale price of a non-single family home in the Downs is $306,000 and the average price in Cumberland County is $366,000. The housing mix at the Downs is designed to create a variety of price points and housing options to suit different lifestyles and demographics.

“We’ve heard from a number of business colleagues that job seekers are turning down job offers because they can’t find suitable, affordable housing that fits their budget in Cumberland County,” said Nelson. “This is a statewide problem that requires a comprehensive solution. The Downs takes pride in the mixed-use accommodations it has created, as they cater to a variety of needs and price points and suit a variety of lifestyles. Fifty-seven percent of all units here meet the state’s definition of workforce housing, and we take great pride in building housing that meets the needs of our community at an affordable price.

Jennifer Polli is a single mother of a third grade student from Scarborough. She had been looking for a house for seven months before finding something in Scarborough so her daughter could stay in the school district. She and her husband recently divorced and they sold their single-family home on three acres. After a long search, Jennifer moved into a townhouse in the Downs. She paid $355,000, which is considered “affordable” by the state’s definition.

“I went to phase one at Scarborough Downs so I own my duplex condo/cottage and bought it in September 2019,” Polli said. “It took me about seven months to find him. Even though it wasn’t in that market right now, it was still hard to find something affordable. I was finding older homes or condos with no amenities, and they were always out of my price range for something I should pay for, and didn’t want to pay for, so I kept looking. I made an offer on a few houses and made an offer even then.

Murphy and Ashley Crowell are a young couple with a baby on the way. This is a hard-working, two-income household just getting started. They searched for months to find an affordable condominium in Cumberland and York counties before finding a place in the Downs. They paid $264,000 and landed in the Downs.

“We kind of knew we wanted to be in the Downs, so we were lucky that when we went to see there was still a condo available to buy,” said Ashley Crowell. “We had decided that we wanted to buy something in October 2020, and we had signed and put down a deposit; they hadn’t started building it and we didn’t close until May 2021.”

“We have been very fortunate that the Downs have plenty of relatively affordable housing opportunities given the current situation,” said Murphy Crowell. “We didn’t have a lot of time to make our decision. We had to act quickly because if we didn’t, it would be gone.

Polli and the Crowells said the sense of community and belonging is huge among Downs people. Both families enjoy what the Downs currently have to offer and look forward to the progress of the town centre.

The Downs is currently working on building non-single family, affordable workforce housing. It will house Maines’ first affordable housing complex for people with disabilities. Downs developers are currently negotiating to bring this housing complex to fruition in the town centre.

“The Downs is setting an example, and the City of Scarborough should be commended for putting the right measures in place to enable us to do so,” Nelson said. “The Downs would like to continue to build this type of modern, mixed housing, but for this we need a specialist allocation from the Council. As The Downs is designed as a ‘high growth’ area meaning the City of Scarborough would like to see future growth occur in our project rather than spread throughout Scarborough. We hope to continue to build the types of housing that will meet Cumberland County’s critical housing need.