for large-lot, single-family development is
only estimated at 362 compared to a capacity of 1,668 units. Clearly, then, in order to
meet demand for more moderate homes, up
zoning R6 land to higher density becomes a
necessity. Along with that comes the need
for MOA’s financial participation in the extension of collector roads and water/sewer
A lack of buildable and affordable land results in an inadequate supply of new homes,
forcing buyers to take a hard look at the resale market, which has remained stable for
the past three years. The average sales price
continues to hover around the mid-$360,000
range, losing only 1 percent since 2015. That
mild drop in value is not area-wide, however.
Some locations actually have increased in
value during the past year. There are thirteen MLS districts in Anchorage, and the
two most expensive areas are De Armoun
Road-Potter Marsh with an average sales
price of $623,259 and Downtown Anchorage
at $408,781. Boniface Parkway to Muldoon
Road and Post Road-Glenn Highway are the
two least expensive areas to purchase a home
at $276,127 and $203,522, respectively. Both
of these districts feature aging housing stock
and a high proportion of rental housing.
Girdwood and Dimond South are both areas
with expensive homes and sale prices that average just shy of $400,000.
Increases in average sales prices in dis-
Maintenance and Upkeep are Key
tricts have been propelled by the high cost of
new construction homes, which average on
a national basis 20 percent more expensive
than resale homes.
How well a resale home retains or increases
its value depends in large part on an owner’s
maintenance and repair commitment, as
well as money spent on remodeling. Nationally, only 50 percent of the cost of a remodel
can be applied to improving the value of a
home, but try to tell that to a seller who has
just spent $37,000 replacing thirty-year-old
cabinets and countertops. A good remodel
makes any home more marketable and appealing to the emerging millennial buyer
who, contrary to public perception, actually
prefers a single family home in the suburbs.
In comparison, a hip downtown loft is more
attractive to well-educated, affluent, younger
baby boomers, according to the National Association of Home Builders. First time home
buyers, in particular, do not have extra funds
for a remodel, so when it comes time to sell,
the question is whether to remodel or not.
One important factor to consider is the home
design. Some homeowners—and even builders—learn the hard way that grey and greyish don’t work well as interior colors during
Alaska’s dark winters. Styles and colors that
are trending today may not be the best remodel choices.
During the last week of June 2017, there
were approximately 162 fewer single family
homes for sale than during the same period a
year ago. For-sale inventory remains low, and
buyers’ frustrations are high due to a lack of
choice and the high cost of new construction.
Millennials, the emerging buyers’ market,
frequently ask for seller’s assistance in closing costs because, although they may have
been gifted cash or saved for the down payment, they typically lack the additional funds
to close. Builders need to build more homes.
Lenders need to finance those homes. The
MOA needs to build infrastructure before
more people and businesses begin migrating
out again. And Anchorage residents: take a
deep breath. Our housing market is not what
you think it is. R
is the Owner/Broker
of Dwell Realty and
is a former Chair of
the Planning and
She was featured
on Anchorage by
Charles Wohlforth. Her avocation is
playwriting and she has a Master of Fine
Arts Degree from the Writers’ Workshop
at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. If
you’re interested about real estate in
Anchorage and Eagle River, you can read
her latest blogs at www.cyalaska.com.