No matter who you talk to about Portland area real estate, the story is the same: prices are going up. Whether it's the new couple who just moved here from New York City gushing over how it's the "perfect time to invest in property" or the family who has lived on Munjoy Hill for generations and shake their heads at the endless new construction and sky-high prices on new state-of-the-art condos, we're all agreed: Portland's blowing up.

One such condo is doing its best to make a safe haven for middle-income earners in the midst of gentrification. One unit in the West End's new Onejoy Project is priced significantly lower than its comparable counterparts in the area, yet for six months Chris Lavoie has been trying to sell it to no avail.

So why isn't Portland's newest, cheapest condo selling? You'd think that anyone whose income meets the apartment's restrictions would be all over it. But in an interview with the Press Herald, Lavoie says he can't blame the unit's stagnant status on anything but its low price.

“The only thing I can go back to is the deed restriction,” Lavoie said. “People buy the real estate to get the upside of it. If they’re realizing in the process that they’re being handicapped in selling it, they look for something else.”

Despite its gorgeous finishes and state-of-the-art amenities, the apartment is priced to stay affordable for anyone earning up to 20% over the Greater Portland area's median income. Future resales of the unit must comply with the pricing limits per the city's rules; a 99-year deed restriction is attached to the unit to ensure that it remains relatively affordable to future  middle-income earners.

Apparently, a low buy price doesn't outweigh the lost potential of participating in Portland's rapidly growing sticker price. It's an unexpected downside to affordable housing requirements in an up and coming real estate market. However, Portland's urban planning and development director Jeff Levine isn't losing hope for the prospect of price-restricted condos in the city.

“I expect as the market matures, more people will be building these units,” Levine said.

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