Living in Alaska is a unique experience, and homeowners here have some unique home needs that may differ from those living in “the lower 48” states. Temperatures can drop far below those experienced anywhere else in the United States, the cost of living can be much higher, and the seasons are experienced in a whole new way, with portions of Alaska living in darkness for up to 12 hours at a stretch during winter, and enjoying the Land of the Midnight Sun during extra-long summer days. Alaska is indeed The Last Frontier, and full of exciting opportunities for adventure all year long.
Cost of homes and Types of homes
Like many other states, Alaska’s home values are ever-evolving, as housing markets fluctuate often and can vary by state or region. In Alaska, there are unique conditions that affect the home’s selling price. The current real estate market in Alaska shows a balanced supply vs demand that could be beneficial to both buyers and sellers. In 2019, median home value in Alaska was $308,000, with Anchorage and Fairbanks markets poised to increase over the next three years. Researchers suggest that Alaska will experience up to a 6% job growth rate by 2024, which suggests Alaska can look forward to a healthy local housing market.
There are typically four types of homes for new home buyers in Alaska to choose from; a rancher, a townhouse, a split level, or a condo, with prices varying depending on which type of home you choose. As of 2019, Juneau median home prices were $323,100, making it the most expensive Alaskan city. Homes in Anchorage cost an average of $293,900, with cities like Kodiak, Lakes, and Palmer close behind. In Fairbanks the median home value in 2019 was $221,100, while a house at North Pole went for $213,100, and Kenai houses averaged $206,500.
The best time to buy a house in Alaska is before winter hits, when the real estate market understandably slows to a crawl. Due to extreme weather conditions in the winter, inspectors are not able to do a thorough inspection of places like the crawl space and roof of a home. Once things thaw and temperature climb, the real estate market picks up in spring and summer.
Special Considerations and Tips for Living in Alaska
When buying a home in Alaska, there are some common features an Alaskan home needs, including:
- Higher grade insulation around windows and plumbing
- Independent heating source; wood burning fireplace, wood stove, or pellet stove
- Extra weather stripping
- Oversized garage for RVs, ATVs, and outdoor sports or camping equipment
- Extra lighting for the dark time of year; consider LED lights which are generally brighter and have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs; oil lanterns and candles are smart to keep stocked in case of a power outage
- Mud room; installing a shoe or boot rack means you won’t have to bring dirty shoes inside your living space
- Backup generator(s) in case of power outages during winter
- Extra window coverings for the light time of year; blackout shades or curtains help create a sense of nighttime to make it easier to fall asleep while the sun is still out
- Backup freezer and pantry for extra food storage
With upgraded insulation, an independent heating source, a place to put your winter toys and vehicles, and extra food storage, you should be well prepared to spend the winter indoors cozy and warm with plenty of food to eat.
When you Need Help with Your Move
Golden North Van Lines has been helping families and businesses relocate to and from Alaska for decades. When you put your trust in Golden North Van Lines, you can rest assured that we’ll treat your household goods as if they were our own. We can help make your move worry free, with offices in both Anchorage and Fairbanks and decades of experience moving people just like you. Contact us today for advice on how to make your move as easy as possible with our help.