The comeback of the Anchorage condo market has pretty much kept pace with the single family market.  So far this year, the number of condos sold has increased by 17% with a total of 461 sold since January 2013.  That’s compared to a 17% increase in single family activity with a reported 1324 sales in Multiple Listing Service.  The Downtown area leads the  way with the greatest increase in sales at 81%.  Over 40 condos have sold in this area compared to 22 during the first six months of last year.  The idea of being able to walk to work, shopping and dining out continues to have the greatest appeal and also the biggest price tag.  The average downtown condo sold for $276,667 compared to an overall average sales value of $199,341.  Still, for those home buyers looking for an urban lifestyle, a $276,000 condo seems like a bargain.

    The Boniface to Muldoon area has the greatest number of condo sales with a reported 83 which is a 24% increase from this same time last year.  However, the average sales price for this area actually declined 7% to $174,949.  The neighboring area of Seward Highway to Boniface had the second highest sales at 58 but also  the lowest sales price of $143,489.  This area also had a decline in value of 9%. These two areas are the only ones which showed a decline in value and yet they represent almost one-third of all condo sales which, in effect, distorts the average value of a condo in Anchorage.  It is interesting to note this decline in condo values, despite the fact that these two areas encompass JBER and the UMED which are two of Anchorage’s major employment centers.  One reason for the decline in value is most likely due to the age of the condo developments (most were built during the early l980’s which makes them thirty years old) and high dues for replacement of aging infrastructure as well as lack of energy efficiency resulting in high utility bills .  Special assessments to replace roofs, driveways, common heating systems are also not uncommon.

    Spenard is an unexpected bright spot in the condo market with a decline of days on the market from 127 to 70 and an average sales price increase of 18%.  Spenard and the downtown area have a lot in common. Although it’s not as walkable, it has popular retail with REI, the Alaska Club, Bear Tooth and Sugar Spoon.  Spenard is a yet to be discovered and emerging hip place to live.

    The Dimond South  and Girdwood area both have higher than average sales prices.  Girdwood comes in second with an average price of $268,595 and Dimond south’s sales price averages $255,669.  Both of these popular areas have on-going new construction condo developments which increases average prices and unit sales.  The Petersen Group is at Discovery Park which is almost sold out and Hultquist Homes is building in Girdwood. It is interesting to note that both of these new developments are not entry-level but rather designed for move-up, move down buyers or those buyers simply looking for a more carefree lifestyle away from snow shoveling, lawn mowing and exterior maintenance responsibilities.

    Condo living, even in a duplex or townhouse style configuration, isn’t for every home buyer, but it is an emerging market in certain locations and somewhat of an answer to our diminishing supply of residential land.