Anchorage sees record low number of residential properties on the market

Few options for home buyers in Anchorage
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 9:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s another year of slim pickings in the Anchorage housing market for buyers looking for their dream home.

In April, Anchorage saw a string of record-breaking numbers.

“(It’s) record low inventories, record low numbers for the month of April in total units sold, and significant record high prices,” said Bill Popp, CEO and president for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation.

According to Popp, only 180 units in Anchorage were listed on multiple listing services. At least 124 units were sold at an average price of $457,000.

“Just a very challenging time in the marketplace for finding a house,” Popp said.

Since 2020, the market has been a seller’s market, and this year continues the trend. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development said the average cost for houses selling sits at $468,843, and prices this year are still climbing.

“We are still seeing prices staying significantly higher and still escalating as the year is progressing,” Popp said. “That’s usually a sign of a seller’s market.”

It’s a trend Popp expects to continue throughout the year. According to Popp, the city is not seeing a significant new number of housing built.

Popp said the construction work for housing that is being done tends to be on the higher end of the price scale.

“$800,000 homes, $750,000 homes — these are usually in many cases being built for a buyer who is commissioning the home being built,” Popp said.

The construction of new properties is a major problem the city faces. Popp said Anchorage has a high-cost market to build houses.

That, combined with the ongoing supply chain issues the industry faces and a tight labor market, keeps construction companies struggling.

“And we got contractors out there both for building houses, building commercial buildings, government projects who are turning down projects because they don’t have the staff to build them,” Popp said.

Down the road, Anchorage will need to look for creative solutions on how to develop its land and solve its housing crisis. Popp said options like vertical construction and redevelopment strategies could be what the city does down the line.

“It’s going to be government policies, it’s going to be innovative developers, it’s going to be freeing up the marketplace as much we can,” Popp said.