High housing prices prevent law school graduate from returning to Maine

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Camden native Hannah Holtz was planning to return to Maine after completing her law degree in Mississippi, but she is staying put due to high rent and house prices.

Holtz, 25, has been looking for accommodation here since last summer, more recently focusing on apartments as houses were out of reach. She dropped out in March after searching the Bangor and Portland areas.

University of Mississippi Law School graduate Hannah Holtz is staying in the southern state until Maine real estate prices cool. The Camden native would love to return to her home country. Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Holtz

His frustrations with finding affordable housing are common, especially in major cities in Maine, forcing people to make tough decisions.

Holtz wanted to have housing and a job so he could pay his undergraduate student loans at Husson University in Bangor and the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The states of Maine and northern New England have long faced shortage of lawyers. For now, Holtz remains in Mississippi, where she works as a judge and will take the bar exam in July.

“I try to wait for the housing market to calm down,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been kicked out of my house.”

Prices for one-bedroom apartments in Bangor average $952 per month and in Portland $1,411, according to apartments.com. Her current apartment in Greenville, Mississippi, costs $550 a month, including water and gas, although she pays for electricity.

“Even with a law degree, I still can’t afford to live in Maine, which I think is pretty sad,” she said.

Jon J. Epps