ELLSWORTH — While other types of development have been slow to pick up post-recession, construction of multifamily housing appears to be going strong.
The city Planning Board since last August has approved four apartment buildings and a senior housing project.
On Water Street, a 29-unit affordable housing development called Straw Way Family Housing is under construction. On the Bangor Road, the “For Rent” sign is up at a newly expanded apartment complex.
“Apartment buildings are about the only thing going on in Ellsworth,” said surveyor Stephen Salsbury, who has worked for several of the developers.
He said the trend likely reflects the city’s growing population. Data from the 2010 U.S. Census shows Ellsworth’s population jumped nearly 20 percent to 7,741 residents over a decade.
Nearly 29 percent of those residents — 2,223 people — live in rentals.
Salsbury said some potential homeowners are unable to secure a mortgage so they rent instead.
Other renters are not ready to buy, don’t want to or cannot afford to make the purchase. Some do not plan to live in Ellsworth permanently.
Salsbury said that with the high demand for rental properties, he has other clients looking to build.
According to city records, 76 of the 274 total apartments in buildings with four or more units were built in the last 10 years.
The number of renter-occupied units increased 30 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to Census data. Meanwhile, the number of owner-occupied residences rose 15 percent.