Monday, April 17, 2006

Anchorage Market cools, good values emerging

As the Anchorage home market cools somewhat, better values are emerging for those who are prepared to shop carefully. This is the time to be aware of the true value of a home before making an offer to purchase, however.

The market slowed over the winter, when fewer homes went under contract than normal. We rebounded in March to a little under last year's level, but the slow winter meant that closed sales reports reaching MLS have lagged. Through the first quarter there have been an average of 621 homes reported sold for the past five years. This year's January-March report shows only 574 homes sold.

The inventory of available homes has grown somewhat. Where there were 503 homes available at the end of March last year, now there are 561 on the market.

Overall price levels are certainly not declining. Last year a home in the Anchorage bowl carried an asking price of a little over $387,000. Now it's almost $403,000. Eagle River prices are $22,000 more; Chugiak is about $10,000 above Anchorage.

Sellers are making deals, however. There are more "price reduced" signs and ads running and homes are not just sitting. Indeed, the average time on market for homes in the Anchorage bowl last year at this time was 93 days. The current inventory shows a market time of 59 days.

If a seller by reason of birth, marriage, divorce, death or job change has to create a sale, he or she will do what it takes. If the initial asking price doesn't produce a sale, the price comes down to market quickly. That's why throughout the MLS system sellers achieve over 99% of the last price listed in the eventual sale price.

I've just published the MLS first quarter statistics from which this post is gleaned. Use this link.

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