Anchorage, Alaska's housing trifecta

What a growing population and shortage of new construction mean for today's buyers, renters

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Nov. 9, 2012

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"I own a fourplex in Anchorage, where I rent three units and keep one for myself because I have a home in Mat-Su and sometimes I have to stay in Anchorage," Droege said. "If I wanted to rent the last unit, about 1,300 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths, it would go for $1,800 a month."

As one Realtor recently blogged, "The Anchorage rental market is exploding right now, and if you've looked for a house or an apartment to rent in the past six months, you know it's getting more and more difficult to find. It's certainly a great time to be a landlord."

Homes are expensive to buy as well.

In Anchorage, the average sales price for the month of August was $334,190, up 6.3 percent from one year earlier. Year to date, the average August sales price hit $332,625, up 4.11 percent from the same eight-month period in 2011, Droege reported.

You need to get what you need to get, so sales volume for August was up 20.8 percent. For the first eight months of the year, it was up 12.2 percent.

"I listed a home for sale at $425,000 and I had a full-price, no-concessions offer in two hours from the time it was listed," Droege said. "It had to do with the availability of inventory at that price range. The buyers had been looking and looking and when the house came on the market they had to move quickly."

That's because that particular family wanted to live in Anchorage. Things are much different in Mat-Su.

"The average sales price in Wasilla for August was $231,204, up 4.2 percent over August 2011, according to the Anchorage Board of Realtors' numbers. Year to date, the average sales price reached $232,951, up 3.37 percent versus the same period the year before.

In Wasilla, sold listings were up 24 percent in August versus August 2011, Droege said.

Oddly enough, the complaint about living in Mat-Su is the same as with any other American city, except more so: The jobs truly are concentrated in Anchorage, and whether one lives north in the suburbs or to south in the Kenai Peninsula, there is only one ribbon of highway either way.

As city dweller Goldsmith noted, "I wouldn't live in Mat-Su. The commute is 45 minutes to one hour and there's a lot of traffic. Besides, there is no planning in the Wasilla area. The community is not well designed. It's a town without a town."

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

Contact Steve Bergsman:
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