Anchorage home buyers face slim pickings

When it comes to buying a home in Alaska, the odds are good but the goods are odd.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 6:18 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When it comes to buying a home in Alaska, the odds are good but the goods are odd.

“Slim pickings would be a really good description of what the likely inventory levels are going to be next year,” Anchorage Economic Development Corporation CEO and President Bill Popp said.

Popp said that Alaskans saw an extremely tight inventory in the housing market in 2022, among the lowest the city has seen in modern-day history. For-sale signs in front yards are a rare sight, which gives the market power to sellers. At the same time, Popp said, the city saw the highest sale price for single-family homes, going off of multiple listing service data.

“2022 was a big year for housing in terms of the price of homes sold in Anchorage,” Popp said. “It was north of $450,000 was the average price for the year, close to $460,000.″

Popp said that the figure shows around a 25% increase over the past decade. In 2013, the city was seeing an average home selling for $344,826. That number jumped to $453,705 by the end of 2022.

“But we also saw it soften towards the end of the year,” Popp said. “While we got really tight inventory, prices were no longer being bid up dramatically and were coming in being sold for pretty much what they were being asked for. So it still remains a seller’s market though at the end of 2022.”

The current trend, Popp predicts, is not vanishing anytime soon. He predicts that Anchorage will continue to see a seller’s market in 2023. Although, he believes there will no longer be a bidding war, like home buyers and sellers experienced in the early part of 2022, he says, the power still remains in the seller’s hands.

“Sellers have got something that people want, and can get their price as long as they are being smart at what they are pricing their house at,” Popp said. “That means that prices remain strong, and we’re probably not going to see those prices going down in 2023.”

With for-sale signs continuing to be the golden ticket, mixed with high-interest rates and a limited area to develop land, Popp said, new, single-family homes will be a rare find in 2023.

“There is a very tight construction sector, tight labor availability, which has driven up costs in building new housing,” Popp said. “We are going to continue to see a seller’s market. Which means it’s going to be a little bit tight for people looking for housing options in Anchorage.”