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Open the Door to a New Home

by Connie Yoshimura

Visit the Parade of Homes Sept. 10-11 and open the door to thirty-one new homes. This year’s crop of new homes range from a Hultquist Home townhouse style condo in IronTree at $242,000 to a luxury hillside home perched on a ridge in Potter Highlands with an unobstructed inlet view on over an acre lot for $895,000 by Crown Pointe. In between, there is a new ranch plan by Hagmeier Homes in Huffman Timbers, Anchorage’s newest home community, conveniently located at the corner of Lake Otis and Huffman and in the popular South High School district. Builders in Huffman Timbers include Hultquist Homes, John Hagmeier Homes and Harding Homes. Ranches and triple car garages—two of the most wanted items in a new home-- are or will soon be available.

Be sure and open the door to three new homes in Resolution Pointe by Crown Pointe, John Hagmeier Homes and Merit Homes. Resolution is Anchorage’s most popular new home community.  Homesites are still available and range in price from $129,000 to $146,000 in the newest phase which will be completed this fall. In this community, all builders and private parties are welcome.

This year Anchorage homebuilders have worked hard to keep home prices steady and reasonable, but there is still a fairly wide disconnect between the cost per square foot for new construction vs. resale. However, what you can’t get in a resale is energy savings. All new homes are now built to a five-star energy rating. With most Anchorage homes over 30 years old, energy efficiency savings are a significant financial benefit to new home buyers.

When we consider buying an older home, most of us think of replacing countertops, flooring, light fixtures, cabinets and appliances. What we don’t think about is retrofitting--the wiring, roof/shingles, furnace, windows, et cetera. Those are the items that can be costly, inconvenient and time consuming and do not add value to a home. At best, retrofitting is done to sustain value and prevent functional obsolescence.

Plus, there are other benefits to opening the door to a new home.  First, you get to select your plan and all your interior finishes. In today’s market, even the entry-level condo becomes a custom home for first time homebuyers. After all, why not have the wall color and flooring of your dreams? Thanks to Houzz and Pinterest, it is all there in vivid color. Today’s new homes are some of the most attractive entries in several years with craftsman style exteriors, daring interior color blocking, custom interior trim, designer or handcrafted mirrors, kitchens with long islands and built-in pantries, nine foot high ceilings and painted garages.

Dwell Realty is proud to be part of the residential construction and land development community. Give us a call when you’re ready to open the door to a new home. We’ll help you select the right plan and location to make opening that door a smooth transaction and a dream come true, whether you’re a first time buyer or following your dream up the hillside.

The Growing Popularity of Ranch Homes

by Connie Yoshimura

MLS recently reported that sixty-five ranch homes in Anchorage have sold since the first of the year and twenty are now pending. There are forty-five active ranch listings with an average asking price of $363,112. Their average price per square foot is $236 and their time on the market is fifty-five days, slightly less than all MLS combined inventory. I was surprised by those numbers as they represent an impressive part of the Anchorage market place. A closer look shows that forty-seven of the sales were homes built between 1940 and 1980, demonstrating that regardless of the age of the property, the demand is there for the aging baby boomer looking to ease into a simpler lifestyle. But, wait, as part of this demographic, I’m no longer referring to the ‘aging baby’ description. Let’s just call ourselves ‘boomers’, searching always for ways to enhance our life.   

However, the problem is new ranches are expensive to build—larger footprints than two story homes and thus they cost more for excavation, foundation and roofs. Boomers also don’t want to leave behind their chef’s kitchens and spa bathrooms, the two most expensive rooms in any home regardless of its configuration. Builders have historically used the second story element to lower the average square footage price but without it new ranch homes cost well over $250 per square foot in comparison to the $236 resale value of existing ranches. And boomers are hesitant to make a lateral financial move, i.e. spending the same amount for a new ranch home as for the sale price of their existing residence, regardless of the new five star energy efficiency standards and the freedom from worry over unexpected maintenance and replacement costs on an aging property. Then, there’s what to do with all that furniture and mementos. It seems like an almost unsurmountable task, both financially, physically and emotionally. Yet, those aching hips and knee joints propel us to keep up the search. 

Although they have been a long time in design and coming out of the ground, there are some new ranches at reasonable values starting to pop up. Westgate, the final remaining phase of WestPark at the corner of Kincaid Road and WestPark Drive, has recently introduced duplex condo ranch homes on large R2A lots starting at just $3…… These new homes have three beds, two baths, and a double car garage with the third bedroom having double French doors opening to the great room. Plus, these large fenced backyards, many with southern exposure, are perfect for that tag along pet. It’s a great ‘lock and leave’ opportunity for boomers who want to head south for the winter. Gray Hawk, a small community off Lake Otis and E. 80th has just announced three new ranch homes on fee simple lots starting at $369,000. It’s an Alaskan style cul-de-sac where you can park your toys in the back yard and no covenants, codes and restrictions so you can park your boat and RV all year round. Only three of these homes which have just been permitted are available. 

Finally, Huffman Timbers, the new craftsman style community at the corner of Lake Otis and Huffman Road, also has a new group of ranches on the market, ranging in price from $459,000 to $499,900. The developers adjusted their square footage requirements downward to 1,400 square foot for ranches in order to keep values under $500,000.    

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