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Take this Real Estate Quiz!

by Connie Yoshimura

1. The cost of living in Alaska has increased by

A.  3%      

B.  4.2%     

C.  Decreased by 1%


2. What are the major components of cost of living?

A.  Medical

B.  Transportation

C.  Housing

D.  Energy


3. Housing is the largest expenditure for the average Anchorage household.

A.  True

B.  False


4. What was the average sales price of a single family home in June 2019?


5. According to MLS records, this was the highest average monthly sales price since January 2011.

A.  True

B.  False


6. How many single family homes in all price categories were for sale in June 2019?

A.  858

B.  958

C.  1038


7.  Is this inventory higher or lower than June 2018?



8. Has the number of residential sales for the fist six months of 2019 increased or decreased compared to 2018?

A.  Increased by 7%

B.  Decreased by 7%

C.  Remained the same


9. Over the past 13 months, on average how many million dollar homes sell in one month?                         

A.  Less than one

B.  One

C.  More than one


10. How many homes sell between $400,000 and $500,000 in one month?

A.  20

B.  15

C.  36


11. Is the average sales price of an Anchorage condo increasing or decreasing?


12. What is the average sale price of an Anchorage condo?


13. Name three reasons why you should buy a condo?


14. Identify three ‘hot spots’ in the Anchorage market where those MLS districts have beat the average market stats?   


15. Including single family, duplex and multi family, how many housing units were permitted through May 2019?

A.  150

B.  250

C.  350

D.  More than 350



Answer Key: 1. A  2. All of the Above   3. True   4. $390,000   5. A   6. A   7. Lower   8. B   9. C   10. C   11. Increasing   12. $228,195

 13. Excellent Rentals, No Yard Work, Increase in Value   14. Girdwood, DeArmoun/Potter and Spenard   15. A

A Look Back at the 2019 Housing Market

by Connie Yoshimura

The cost of living in Alaska has increased by 3% according to the most recent Alaska Economic Trendsreport. The cost of medical, transportation, energy and housing all contributed to the increase with housing being the major factor. So it’s no surprise that the average sales price for a single family home in June reached $390,000, the highest price from the MLS tracking report since January 2011.  

June 2019 also saw more than a 10% drop in available inventory from the prior year—858 compared to 958 homes so it’s no wonder buyers remain frustrated in finding a new home. Lack of inventory being one reason sales have decreased 7% during the first half of this year.  For the month of June, 36 homes sold between $400,000 to $500,000. Million dollar homes sold on average 1.4 per month over the past thirteen months which remains a surprisingly strong number.

Location plays a significant part of where sales occur. Three locations where sales have bested the prior year include DeArmoun/Potter Marsh, Spenard and Girdwood. Spenard is considered a revitalization neighborhood, particularly with the curvy new Spenard Road with attractive new landscaping (let’s hope the MOA keeps watering it during their heat wave). Spenard is organically the arts and crafts community rather than Mt. View, despite all the public and private money invested in Mt. View. Girdwood is a happening place with contemporary new homes either as second homes or year round retirement residences. And why not?  it has recreational facilities and gourmet dining, including Jack Sprat, and the Bakery as my favorite breakfast spot with its homemade orange marmalade, sour dough pancakes and that dreamy breakfast roll with a touch of orange zest. FYI, you can buy a quart of that orange marmalade and take it home for morning toast.

Southeast Anchorage continues with its popularity both in new construction and the resale market. Huffman Timbers has less than a handful of lots/homes to sell and Hultquist Homes just purchased Bruin Park, on the west side of Lake Otis between O’Malley and Huffman. It has a total of 19 lots with an approved plat already in place and horizontal construction to start early fall. These lots are larger and wider than the remaining lots in the Terraces and Huffman Timbers. But the May builder report still falls way below what’s needed for new housing starts with only 78 single family permits, albeit it is up 6 units from last year. Duplex units have doubled, an increase to 30 units vs. 14 for the same as last year, thanks to the continued growth of WestGate, a popular duplex condo development in southwest Anchorage with ranches and two-story homes.

So that’s the recap for the first six months of this year. It’s hard to predict about ‘tomorrow’ for all the pros and cons over the governor’s vetoes and the state budget woes. But having listed/sold/developed housing during the last two economic downturns over the past thirty years, all I can say is smart investing starts now, particularly with mortgage rates hovering in the 3.5% range and FHA/VA rates even lower, making first time home buying a real opportunity.

Older Alaskans Need More Ranch Homes

by Connie Yoshimura

Alaska’s senior population is growing.  According to Alaska Economic Trends, Alaska has an estimated 87,304 seniors, up from 54,938 eight years before and more are on the way.  Anchorage/Mat-Su added more than 17,000 seniors, representing over half the state’s overall increases.  The report goes on to identify many seniors as well-educated boomers who arrived in the 1980’s and have made Anchorage and Alaska their permanent home. Nearly one in four live alone and 57 percent of those are women.   Eighty-two percent of Alaska seniors live in owner-occupied homes compared to 64% of Alaskans.  Home ownership is an important part of their well-being and lifestyle. An interesting note is seven percent live with grandchildren and about two percent are responsible for their care.


The challenge for our housing market, however, is what type of housing is available for them to age in place.  Even the fifty plus year olds I meet at open houses worry about climbing stairs to bedrooms because of their hips and knees.  More buyers are asking about a two-story home with a first floor master, a hillside ranch or a smaller ranch home.  Large lots no longer interest them due to the time and expense of lawn care.  These buyers prefer new so that there is not the unexpected cost for roof, furnace, hot water heater replacement, et cetera. They also recognize the benefits and savings of Alaska’s five star energy rating for new homes because they most likely live in a four star home built in the 1980’s. 


In 2018, 2776 single family homes sold in Anchorage and Eagle River and l5% or 440 were single family ranches.  I found that number hard to believe but trust me, we double checked it.  The average price was $252,000.  But, here is the problem.  Today’s new construction ranch  home has a median price of $450,000.  The majority of them are located in the Eagle River/Chugiak area where land is more available and, thus, prices slightly lower lot costs. If Anchorage wants to keep its older population, we need to increase the maximum 40% lot coverage ratio that currently exists in Title 21.  Smaller lots with increased lot coverage ratio for single family ranch homes will bring the cost of home ownership down for Anchorage’s senior citizens. 

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Dwell Realty
561 E. 36th Ave., Suite 200
Anchorage AK 99503