Rents and home prices up, especially in Anchorage

17
533

By KIM JARRETT | THE CENTER SQUARE

Rent increases, fewer available rentals, and average single-family home prices up nearly 17% demonstrate Alaska’s tight housing market, according to a new report.

Alaska saw rents up more than usual in three of its largest markets, including Anchorage recording its largest single-year increase in two decades, the Annual Renter Survey by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows.

In general, rent changes in urban Alaska have followed the national trend since last year, the report showed. In Alaska, the median adjusted rent was $1,276 at the time of the survey in March, up 8% from the previous year.

It’s possible recent cost increases since the survey was conducted will drive rents even higher than that, the report said. However, it went on to say rent is still affordable on average. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers housing affordable if the occupants spend no more than 30% of their income on housing costs, the report said.

“While rents have risen everywhere since 2020, rising wages have made renting more affordable in all surveyed areas except Anchorage, where rent increases have outpaced average wage growth,” the report said.

Declining vacancy rates were attributed to several factors. The increase in home prices and interest rate hikes likely prevented renters from making the leap to becoming homeowners.

“Normally, the flow of renters buying homes each year steadily frees up rental units, but house prices jumped during the pandemic, pushing some prospective first-time buyers to keep renting longer,” the report said.

The price for a single-family house averaged over $388,000 in 2021, up almost 17% from 2019, according to the report.

“Interest rates increased sharply in early 2022 while home prices remained high, pushing the average monthly mortgage payment up and putting home buying even further out of reach for some,” the authors wrote.

Another likely factor contributing to low vacancies was emergency rental assistance, leading to fewer evictions and thus fewer available rentals.

The report also listed an increase in short-term rentals as a possible contributor.

“It’s not clear how many units in Alaska are moving from long-term to short-term, but national studies have found that in other parts of the country, short-term rentals can deplete long-term rental stocks. Anecdotally, our survey did suggest some Alaska units are transitioning to short-term rentals,” said the authors.

Meanwhile, there are more people moving out of Alaska than there are people moving in. Alaska’s gross migration rate has topped the list for the last 14 years in a row, according to Internal Revenue Service data. The gross migration rate represents the total number of people moving both in and out of the state. 

Kim Jarrett’s career spans over 30 years with stops in radio, print and television. She has won awards from both the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

17 COMMENTS

  1. It’s all good. Biden keeps flying up illegal aliens and the state keeps paying for their rent, utilities, groceries, and food. As people move back to the lower 48 the non profits will maximize rentals and use state money to pay for it too.
    Having to hear more and more Spanish at the grocery store is our greatest strength.

    • Biden is flying up illegal aliens? And the state pays for everything. Noticer, you spew lies and complete nonsense.

    • Inflation is because trumps reckless fiscal policies that printed more money than ever before. Chuck is short sighted and forgets what happened 2 years ago.

  2. First time home buyers can still buy a trailer. Those lesser expensive
    neighborhoods need more professionals move-ins.

  3. Air BnB’s have taken housing off of the market. Will see how long this trend lasts. I see reports of Air BnB owners advertising 9 month rentals which would indicate overpaying for properties. Air BnB’s should be taxed as commercial property at a higher mill rate

  4. Good raise them more so the unemployed libs can’t afford it. They don’t work just try to destroy this great state.

  5. How do we have a flat or declining population w/ house sales & rents going up?
    Where is the pressure coming from? 2 things:
    People are moving in from the Bush in record numbers.
    Alaskans who used to retire outside are now wealthy enough to own 2 homes & snowbird; leaving many houses empty for half the year, but not on the market.
    These are just theories, but while a government employee, at the end of my career, every other person I met had a house outside, some of them paid off.
    Decades of government growth in AK & the high wages we pay public servants has resulted in a much larger group of snowbirds.
    Keep in mind, that these older snowbirds pay much less property tax because of their Sr exemptions.
    So AK is a low tax paradise for them 6 months of the year.
    What are we doing to our children?

  6. Homes are being bought up at a rapid rate by non homeowners. Blackrock is spending billions buying up homes over market price and turning them into STRs, with rent increases every 6 months. Large hotel chains are now buying up homes in tourist areas (their regular hotels are filling with migrants). Meanwhile, new construction stays low due to material and labor shortages.

  7. Anchorage moved to the Valley, and Californians and Seattlites are moving to Anchorage and electing more kooky liberal Assemblymen.

  8. I know of seniors, who have lived and worked here most of their life, that live on social security and cant afford the high cost of rent. Almost every low cost housing units in the valley are owned by native corps who will not rent to anyone who isnt native. Isnt that called discrimination? Senior housing is full with long waiting lists and you have to wait for someone to die to get in. When your income is $1500 a month and 1 bedroom apartments are running $1200 you know there is a major problem. It’s a terrible situation that seniors are being put into. Anyone living on a fixed income can no longer afford to live here as everything is now way too expensive. Sad that our own long term residents living on social security will soon be homeless and illegal immigrants and people on assistance can get decent housing and many other benefits.

Comments are closed.