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Brunswick, Maine

On Maine's beautiful mid-coast, down-to-earth Brunswick sits between the Androscoggin River to its north and Maquoit Bat and Middle Bay to its south. Bowdoin College, a small, selective liberal arts college, is located here.

The city is dotted with classic New England architecture, and the downtown has attractive red brick buildings. Festivals, a farmers' market and a music series are downtown staples. Locals enjoy the Museum of Art and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, as well as a good selection of restaurants, from fine dining to burger places.

Neighborhoods, whether modest or affluent, are leafy and have a variety of home styles, including Cape Cod, Colonial, arts and crafts and bungalow.

Nearby Wolf's Neck Woods State Park has a guided nature program, and nearby, unspoiled Popham Beach is a sunbathers' favorite. Commutes to Portland and Augusta take less than an hour.

Cost of Living

Brunswick has an overall cost of living 7% higher than the national average.

The median household income is $54,656.

Real Estate

The median home price is $380,700. This is a 30% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $341,600.

Estimates are that real estate prices will increase by 8% over the next year.

The median rental price is $1,132 per month.


Brunswick has 21,000 residents and has maintained its population during the last decade. Mainers are very practical people, and the hardy residents of Brunswick are no exception.

The median age is 43. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

Mid Coast Hospital is the local medical center.

The crime rate is well below the national average.


The sales tax rate is 5.5%.

Maine does not tax Social Security, but it does tax all other forms of retirement income at rates between 5.8% to 7.15%, depending on annual income. The state offers a $10,000 retirement income exemption, but that exemption is reduced in an amount equal to your annual Social Security benefit. So if you receive $10,000 or more in Social Security income each year, then your other retirement income is taxed.

The average effective property tax rate (the annual tax payment as a percentage of median home value) in Brunswick is 1.39%. The annual taxes on a $380,700 home are approximately $5,292.

Mortgages for Retirees

As people live longer and mortgage rates are at historic lows, more and more retired folks are considering obtaining a mortgage rather than paying cash for a new home. You are never "too old" to get a mortgage, thanks to the Equal Opportunity Credit Act, as long as you have the means to do so.

Having said that, retirees face some unique challenges when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage. Most mortgage lenders will look at the same criteria as they would for a young first time homebuyer, including your credit history, debt to income ratio and monthly income. The good news is that Social Security benefits and distributions from 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts count as income.

However, because retirement accounts become depleted over time they have a defined expiration date. As a result, a mortgage lender will want to know that the distribution income will continue for at least three years after the date of the mortgage application.

It is also important to keep in mind that if your retirement accounts consist of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds or other "volitle" investments, mortgage lenders will only use 70% of the value in the retirement accounts to determine your mortgage qualifcation.

And while Social Security counts as income, if you are drawing on a family member’s record, such as survivor benefits or spousal benefits, then the income must be documented as payable for at least three years from the mortgage application date.

If you cannot qualify for a traditional mortgage, then a reverse mortgage might be an option. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have programs that can make home buying easier. Check with a reverse mortgage lender or these goverment agencies to see loans and programs available to you.



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