Despite the continued historic low number of building permits, a handful of builders are keeping the residential construction industry alive. Leading the pack are Spinell Homes and Hultquist Homes who collectively account for 33% of all duplex and single family permits. John Hagmeier Homes and Merit Homes have eight and seven permits, respectively through the end of the third quarter. Next comes Crown Pointe and newcomer Trevi Builders with six permits each. However, forty-eight units comes from the owner builder category. That do it yourself group has been the number one permit puller for the past few years. Home building requires not only a general contractor license but also a residential endorsement. An owner-builder needs no license or insurance and theoretically is building a home for themselves. Usually, they have a background in the construction trades and are hoping to save any builder profit.

So where is everyone building? Resolution Pointe continues to have the biggest draw for builders. Seventeen of the one hundred and sixty permits so far this year are in Resolution where the home sites are seventy feet with a curvilinear streetscape and larger than MOA required side yard setbacks at eight feet. If space is a luxury than Resolution Pointe is the most luxurious of all new home communities. The Terraces in popular southeast Anchorage has had 11 single family permits. Potter Highlands, with upscale estate size lots, has pulled five permits this year. A handful of single family lots remain in WestPark with Spinell as the builder. NorthPointe and WestPark both have had five permits. Hultquist Homes has sold out of single family lots in WestPark and has now moved to WestGate with craftsman style duplex condos, including ranches and two-stories, along with owner-occupied duplexes.

The average price of a single family permit is $401,577. That price is the MOA estimated cost of the vertical construction only and does not include the lot cost which generally ranges from $120,000 to $150,000 for fully improved water, sewer and a public road. Hillside lots can range anywhere from $160,000 upwards to $400,000. Thus, the challenge buyers are facing to find a brand new home under $500,000.

The average permit value of a duplex unit (1) is $248,074 so if you’re a buyer looking for a brand new home, even an attached one, you’re likely to spend upwards of $325,000. Anything less than that is truly a very good buy.