Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Anchorage home and condo values surge 10%

Alaska MLS Inc., (where I was Past President last year) published its annual statistics yesterday. These numbers are widely-quoted because of the size of the database and reliability of information furnished by real estate licensee members statewide. The complete reports can be reviewed from this link.

How much did Anchorage houses go up last year? The MLS report for 3328 reported sales of new and existing homes in 2004 was 10.13%. This closely matches the Assessor's recent report of tax values increasing by 11%. The average closed sale price was $259,883, the first time in history that the average Anchorage home price has topped a quarter million.

The average number of days-on-market was 46, beating the previous low record of 49 in 2002 and only the second time in ten years that homes have sold in less than 50 days. These market-time data includes new construction, which often gets listed when the builder pulls a permit, or even at the design state. Isolating resale homes produces a market time of 34 days, again a 10-year record.

Anchorage home price appreciation has made $300,000 homes worth $400,000 in about 4-5 years. I think of "nicer, more costly" homes starting at $400,000 now. Of all existing home sales in 2000, only 1.6% sold for more than $400,000. By last year, 8.4%, 224 homes sold above that level. From 39 "high-end" sales in 2000 to 224 in 2004 is almost a six-fold increase! The difference in new construction is more pronounced: in 2000 only one in 18 new homes cost over $400,000. By last year one out of every five new homes (not including condos) cost that much.

New condos seem to have hit a value plateau. The surge of site condo building began in 2001 when the number of units quadrupled to the mid-400 level per year. Average prices rose as much as 10.7%, in 2003. Then last year the average price held steady, a 1.3% drop, actually. Meanwhile, existing condo values continue to rise at over 10% per year for over 900 sales per year, including last year's 989 sales, a new record total, with appreciation at 10.1%.

For full property searches, virtual tours and many other Anchorage real estate resources, visit

Sunday, February 13, 2005

AEDC Predicts Continued Economic Growth

The AEDC economic forecast for 2005 is for a tenth year of continued growth. The headline prediction is for 2100 new jobs. This 1.5% increase does not include 2000 additional Army personnel who are moving here this summer. You can get a copy of the excellent and comprehensive report from AEDC at their site, on this page.

For full property searches, virtual tours and many other Anchorage real estate resources, visit

Big Transfer of Wealth Coming

Boomer will transfer $14 billion in wealth in the next 14 year, according to the chief economist for Stewart Title. Ted Jones was a luncheon speaker for a real estate audience last week. He said if inheritance taxes were just 25% the revenue would pay off the entire federal deficit!

Most of this wealth currently exists in the form of conservative investments and liquid funds. How much will be reinvested in real estate as baby boomers acquire more property and diversify their holdings?

For full property searches, virtual tours and many other Anchorage real estate resources, visit

What is that Dripping in my House?!!

These past few weeks have been an acid test for roof systems. This question about dripping came from a client who was about to have me put her house on the market and leave the state for good. Instead, she has had to put off her plans and deal with these drips into her living room.

What's all this dripping? It's condensation. Through much of late January temperatures hovered at zero and below. If a roof system isn't ventilated and insulated well, the dew point occurs somewhere in the insulation layer, or under the roof deck. Moisture from the house gets up in the roof cavity and doesn't get out. Ice forms there instead. Then when a sudden thaw happens, like this past week, all that ice melts and finds its way back into the house.

When my client asked a roofing company to diagnose her problem they told her they were getting similar calls from all over town last week.

There's a variety of fixes, some simple and some are a big project. At the most extreme, it is sometimes necessary to remove the entire roof deck. The contractor builds up the roof trusses to create a ventilated cavity above the insulation where it formerly closed.

For full property searches, virtual tours and many other Anchorage real estate resources, visit

Beating the Competition for a Home

It can get very competitive when a nice home is on the market and priced right. I had an out-of-town client who got caught up in competing offers this past week. His was the only offer on the table when I presented it to the licensee for the seller at 5 PM on Wednesday. By the next morning there were two other offers and one more that was said to be coming. We were given until 5 PM that next day, Thursday, to make our "best and final" offer.

The property had sold for $10,000 more than it was listed for just a few weeks earlier. The deal didn't close on settlement day because the buyer failed to get his anticipated job. Now the question became: were we the only ones who had heard that story? If we were, perhaps offering a little above the list price might be enough. If others had that information, at least one of them could be expected to offer at that higher level. On a home in the mid-$400,000 range, $10,000 one way or another might not seem like a big deal to someone.

My client was leaning toward running with the listed price. I counseled bumping it $1500. I was honestly not all that optimistic, and was pleasantly surprised to learn the next day that my folks were the top offer, "but not by much," according to the seller's representative.

For full property searches, virtual tours and many other Anchorage real estate resources, visit