Monday, November 12, 2012

Anchorage Home Sales Setting Records

Anchorage residential sales are on track to set several records this year, according to reports published today by Alaska MLS, Inc.

The average price for properties sold this year through October is $337,320. This tops the 2007 high of $327,070 by three percent. Home values never suffered here: the average price hasn't been below $321,000 since 2007. Before that year, values were rising 8% to as much as 13% per year.

The pace of sales has been brisk, too. The total of homes sold so far this year is eleven percent above the first ten months of last year. The number of homes sold each month this year has exceeded the comparable month of all but two months of 2010.

With more sales in a rising price environment, market times are predictably getting shorter. It's been taking on average 59 days to sell a home this year, compared with 70 days last year.

This much market activity has depleted the inventory in virtually all price ranges. Divide the number of homes for sale by the number of sales in a year and one sees that there's only a two or three month supply in every price range, up to $500,000.

There's a five month supply from there to $750,000. A 5-6 month supply is considered a balanced market. So the 10-month supply of homes $750,000 to a million and the three-year supply over the million dollar mark represent the only soft part of the Anchorage market today.

Nothing suggests any significant change in this trend. If you are looking to make a purchase, now is the time to lock in the most favorable interest rates any of us have seen in our lifetimes. This ensures your most affordable cost-of-ownership going forward.

And if you have a property to sell, bring it to market now during this time of shortage and when prices are going up! You face less competition now than you will in the spring, and will capture these buyers who are faced with limited selection, and who are motivated by the knowledge that interest rates can only rise from current levels.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Home Sales Up Nationally, Favorable for New Alaskans

Many Alaskans have been unable to make a home purchase here because they have been waiting for their homes in other states to sell. This is a not-uncommon scenario for new Alaskans. They are often forced to lease their former residences when unfavorable market conditions disfavor a sale.

So it came as favorable news yesterday from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), our industry's trade association, that its leading indicator of purchase agreements signed in January rose to the highest level since April 2010. That's when a federal tax credit was about to expire, producing a surge of sales, mostly to first-time buyers.

Use this link to read the news account from NAR, and download the report,

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Anchorage Home Prices Steady 2011 Year-End

The average selling price of a home in Anchorage last year was $322,280. This is the fifth consecutive year of average prices coming to rest in the $320,000-$330,000 range. In the ten years prior to 2007, home prices doubled. Given what's happening in so many other markets, Anchorage has much to celebrate!

Alaska MLS Inc. published year-end statistics today. The reports ( document the continued stability of the Anchorage housing market.

But for a flood of negative housing news coming from Outside, one would expect home prices to be rising here, given supply and demand factors. A total of 2367 homes sold last year, a two percent increase over 2010.

More sales happened during a time of a record low rate of new home construction. The market absorbed inventory, and by the end of December there was only a little over three months' supply of homes for sale. A balanced market is one with five or six months' supply. Where there is a shortage, market forces usually drive prices higher. Low interest rates also should have sparked higher prices. But headline-driven lower consumer confidence levels countered these traditional market forces.

For the last half of last year the total number of homes for sale ran below comparable months of 2010. Only at the $500,000 price level and beyond is there an adequate supply of homes for sale. There's five months' worth from $500K to $750K, ten months in the next $250K bracket, and something over two years of million dollar homes for sale.

Homes sell in about 71 days, and for 95% of their initial asking prices. The pattern is for many homes to have one price reduction of about 3% if they don't sell in a month. That price adjustment usually brings the home within striking distance: the gap between selling prices and where homes are priced at the time of sale is less than 2%. The corollary is that buyers ignore homes priced more than just a few percent above market and don't even make offers on them.

Condo prices have also been stable, with the average selling price in the $190,000 range for four years. Last year's average, $198,855 was almost four percent above 2010. However, lending standards tightened during the year, making financing for some condo projects harder to obtain. This explains fewer sales, a 15% decline, in the face of rising prices. There is only a four month supply of condos at present.

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