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Housing Forecast for 2015

by Eric Bushnell

In January 2014 I wrote a blog on 2012 with a forecast for 2014.  Here is how it started:

"Turbulence on the horizon…

Today is January 18th, 2013, what will 2013 bring? Many people are saying that 2013 will be a great year. I believe that we will good times and slow times in the coming year. 2012 saw growth in the number of homes sold in the Anchorage and Eagle River markets. The Mat-Su Valley was closer to flat, with gains in some areas and losses in other. Most will agree that the average home value increased between 1.5-3.5%...” for the whole article click here!

2014 started out pretty slow and then gained speed through the summer months; however the total number of homes sold in the Anchorage and Eagle River markets appears to be lower than 2012.  The Mat-Su Valley, Palmer and Wasilla, saw an increase in sales by approximately 18% through the first three quarters of the year.  Still waiting to see the final numbers to see if this sales trend was able to sustain the pace.  New construction in Anchorage and Eagle River was down this year as less homes were built.

2015

So let’s start with new construction.  There will be less building sites available this year, and building prices will be higher.  Keeping this in mind, it is safe to say that there will be fewer choices to be had within the Anchorage bowl.  In the Mat-Su I anticipate new home sales to be about the same as 2014.  The valley will continue to be a bargain compared to Anchorage; newer homes and in most cases more affordable.  Land is less expensive in the valley.  Average cost per acre is about $55,000 and in Anchorage the average .25 acre lot is $140,000 or more.  The valley is home to more contractors.  This naturally leads to more competition than in Anchorage, and competition leads to lower prices.  The bargain will be in the valley in 2015.

Existing home sales will most likely remain fairly stable in the Anchorage market, and we should see a minor increase in prices.  Interest rates remain low which allows home prices to raise.  If we see an increase in interest rates we may see an eventual drop in existing home prices.  New homes will remain higher.  The valley is expecting growth this year similar to last year’s numbers.  Why?

Low gasoline prices fuel development in the Valley.  It's that simple.  There is more to this equation.  Business owners look to the valley for their workers.  If you're going to start a business this year the Mat-Su Valley is the place to do it.  There are more available workers, and according to the State of Alaska, the workers are more dependable.  There is talent available in the valley.

2015 is set to be a good year.  Yes, there is the head winds of a new governor, and the low oil prices.  These factors are also key contributors to the growth of the valley.  The Mat-su School district is more nimble than its Anchorage counterpart.  Their also our biggest employer, with growth comes more children.  This adds more schools and more jobs.  

There is also one other piece to the puzzle, TAXES!  Many Mat-Su communities already have taxes in place and pay their way.  Anchorage will feel some pain in this area, as much of the Municipality's income comes from the State of Alaska.  With lower oil prices there will be budget issues.  The Mat-Su borough should be able to deal with these budget shortfalls better than the Municipality of Anchorage.  

Now is a great time to invest in rental properties.  National home ownership rates are about 62%.  That means that 38% of your neighbors are potential renters.  Not everyone wants to own a home.  Some people would prefer that you take care of the home.  When there is economic uncertainty people don't take risks. Now is the time to take advantage of low interest rates, and high rental rates.

If you would like more information about the real estate market you can call me at 907-360-7471.  I would also be available to speak to any group that would like a speaker on this topic.

Happy New Year, see you in 2015!

What Do I see...

by Eric Bushnell

There seems to be more activity in the market right now.  I've noticed that there are more people visiting my website.  Homes are getting more showings.  And three homes I had listed are now under contract.  these sellers are very happy they listed their homes now before the busy summer months.

I'll be out this afternoon visiting with one seller and then showing a couple a home in Wasilla, they're considering purchasing.  There is optimism in the air.  Even Wall Street had a good day, stock market closed in positive territory today.

There is currently 94 homes available for sale in Eagle River; however 22 of those homes are under construction and not ready to move into at the moment.  That leaves 72 options.  Last February 26 homes sold, and then in March 80 homes came on the market, and in April/May 184 homes came on the market.  103 of those homes sold, but that a lot of competition. 

My advice is get started now.  You will most likely get the price you want for your home, if its clean and ready to sell.  Homes that don't shine will be sitting on the market in September.

Be ready, call me today for a free consultation.

Alaska Real Estate Advice

by Eric Bushnell

Current inventory here in South Central Alaska is at the lowest point I've seen in my ten years of real estate.  In any given price point the select is very slim for buyer.  I remember when I moved back to Alaska in 1999, I encountered a similar market.  I was only able to look at a dozen homes that fit my criteria and budget.  I looked from South Anchorage to Chugiak to finally find a home.

This creates certain market dynamics that would lead a seller to believe they can get whatever they want for their home.  This is somewhat true, but they should be cautious.  Buyers can only afford so much, and interest rates are rising; a full point over last year.  This takes $30,000 out of a buyers buying power at the $300,000 range.

So is the market going to go up in value, but down in the number of homes sold? Yes, that is what is going to happen for some home owners selling.  Many will try to raise their asking price too high. The smart seller will price their home approximately $10,000 below their immediate competition.  This makes their home look very attractive to prospective buyers, and usually results in a quicker sale.  the seller that does not do this, has their home sit on the market as new smart home owners come on the market just below them.  These home usually attract the buyers currently in the market, and sell rather quickly as well.

My advice is not to get greedy.  It's better to sell quickly at a lower price then hold out for that buyer that will pay your price.  If you can find them.

12-20-12, The End?

by Eric Bushnell

Today is the last day that all will be normal...or is it?  Tomorrow according to the Mayan calendar is the end of the world.  So now is a great time to reflect on the good that has transpired in 2012.

Real Estate has done well this year here in South Central Alaska.  The Anchorage market had one of its best years in recent history.  I Eagle River we're on tract to sell approximately 12% more homes this year than last.  The Valley market started the year well, but has gas prices rose homes sales declined.  No with the price gas back down in $3.50's or below, we are seeing more traffic to Valley homes.  Land sales in 2012 were very good in all markets, and we have seen 20% of the Powder Ridge Phases sell already.

The weather has not been a positive point in 2012.  Last winter was very snowy, so if you like to ski and snow machine it was excellent.  The summer was cold, and this fall snow had been non-existent until recently.  It's been cold, definitely colder than normal.  Yesterday morning it was -26 at my home in Wasilla.  Today its warmer but we have 30 mph+ winds, wind chill in the -30's.

On a personal note, I stepped away from management and it has been perfect for me.  I've been able to concentrate on more real estate.  I've had time to be with my family.  My daughter came back from a year in Bolivia, where she was an exchange student.  She had a great time, but its good to have her back.  I had time to work with our local Eagle River Area Rotary club to build the Let's all Play playground here.  This was the first full accessible playground in the state, so that kids of all abilities could play together.

This fall I've had more time to  spend coaching hockey which I love.  I'm coaching two teams, Mini Mites (4-6) and Suirts (9-10).  We have agreat time and I am getting in better shape.  Three days a week at the gym is helping as well. 

2012 was a good year.  I made decisions and moved forward with my long term plans.  I was able to work with the chamber of Commerce, Eagle River Area Rotary, Sunrise Rotary, Mat-Su Amatuer Hockey Association, my family, the gym, and was able to go hunting this fall.  Yes, I did get a moose and my freezer is full.  Life has been good this year.

How was your 2012?  I hope the world doesn't end tomorrow, because I've go more on my bucket list to do.

Very Nice Homes open Today!

by Eric Bushnell

Eagle River Market update

by Eric Bushnell

What's happening in the Eagle River real estate market this year? Is the market going up, is it exploding?, Is going down, can we sell? Should we buy? Will interest rates keep going up, are these the best rates?

These are the questions that keep people awake at night if they need a bigger home, in many Alaskans case, their about to be transferred to somewhere else in the country. Currently our real estate market is very stable; interest rates are not fluctuating wildly, and homes prices are stable.

If you looked at the number of homes currently available in Eagle River Alaska, you would only be able to preview 101 existing ready to move into homes. That in a commnity of 31,820 people, and approximately 11,000 homes. That number suggests a strong sellers market. However when you look closely at what is on the market, and how many homes are pending each week the homes going into contract do not keep pace with the new homes coming into the market.

Eagle River Listing Inventory 

  • 54 Homes listed in the last 4 weeks
  • 22 homes placed into escrow(pended)
  • 101 Homes available for sale

The market just south of Eagle River is Anchorage, the Anchorage market is much larger, with close to 300,000 residents. the number of sales is proportionate.

Anchorage Listing Inventory 

  • 178 Homes listed in the last 4 weeks
  • 173 homes placed into escrow(pended)
  • 429 Homes available for sale

The market just north of Eagle River is Mat-Su Valley, this market is much larger, with close to 95,000 residents. The primary markets in the Mat-Su Valley are Palmer and Wasilla.

Palmer/Wasilla Listing Inventory 

  • 153 Homes listed in the last 4 weeks
  • 89 homes placed into escrow(pended)
  • 330 Homes available for sale

New construction homes that are not complete were not included in the listing numbers because many of the new construction listing are not started at this time. They may be included in the pending numbers.

As you can see there is not much to choose from in either market, and the buyers have to make quick decisions when a nice home comes on the market. Sellers should make sure that there home is clean, bright, and ready for viewing before they place it for sale. A good Realtor can show you what to do if you find this task overwhelming.

Interest rates are still at an all time low, and are hovering in that 3.75% and 4% range according to many of the local lenders. Loans are harder to come by and if you do not have a high credit score there are extra fees that you will have to pay to obtain the best rates.

What I take from this data, which is provided by the AlaskaMLS and may not include all sales, is that our market is good, and for the most part balanced. I feel that if a seller has a desirable home they will sell it quickly and for a good price. For buyer there are bargains to be had because some of the homes out there need work.

I lso think that are population is holding onto their homes longer than they have in the past 10 years and thus we have less inventory and sales.

We are back to the new normal.

Call Eric Bushnell @907-360-7471 for more information about these markets or visit him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ericbushnell.realtor 

What would you like for Christmas?

by Eric Bushnell

All I want for Christmas is....

What do you want for Christmas is what I'm asking my son this year.  I already bought a new laptop for my daughter Aimee, who is in Bolivia.  The computer was sent to her for a late birthday early Christmas present.  My son Blake, on the other hand is quite indecisive, completely different then my daughter at the age of 8.  He seems to be completely satisfied with the status quo.

So what should we get him for Christmas?  He plays hockey, so we're always getting gear.  So maybe a balance board, although he thought I had already bought one (it's in my office waiting for him).  I had to convince him I had not bought one, apparently he's more observant then I thought.  I've been thinking that he's old enough for a small 22 rifle, one that's built for him.  I believe there is a Marlin that may be small enough.  Well, of course we will find some games, and a few books.  Also we buy new Pajamas to open on Christmas Eve, so he's getting a new pair of Christmas Boxers.

My wife on the other hand is a little more challanging.  She said she doesnt really need anything, I know better.  She's been looking at the Fat Tire bikes, if only I could find a 6 pack of Fat Tire Beer from Fort Collins, I could say I misunderstood.  Maybe a little bling, say a new pair of Diamond errings!  Need that special set of Pajamas, she showed me a icture as a hint, but I forgot which store it was from. 

We also have an exchange student living with us, and I need to get her a gift, lucky I have a 16 year old daughter so I do have an idea of what she would like.  I-Tunes cards are always a hit, and ski passes to Alyeska Resort will make her happy.

But what do I want for Christmas?  Anything for hunting or fishing.  Possibly an auger for the lake that would make it so much easier to flood my ice rink.  Hand drilling through 3 ft of ice takes a while.  Maybe a new set of Hockey skates.  But do you know what I would really like?

I know you think I should say World Peace... But a 39 ft Nordic Tug would be so much cooler!

Merry Christmas!

Will it be beneficial to all Concerned?

by Eric Bushnell

Eagle River Area Rotary hosted a combined luncheon with the CER Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon and the guest speaker was Senator Lisa Murkowski.  This was a sold out event and Alaska's senior Senator delivered an excellent speech on the atmosphere in Washington DC.

Senator Murkowski began here speach with several references to The Rotary Four-Way Test.  The Four way test is what every Rotarian strives for.

First -Is it the Truth?

Second -Is it Fair to All Concerned?

Third -Will it build good will and better friendships?

Fourth -Will it be beneficial to all Concerned?

The Senator referenced the days when Senator Stevens walked the halls of Congress and kept the Four-way Test on his desk, the only Senator to ever be allowed something extra on his desk in the Senate.  That is how relevant and respected the Four-Way Test is. 

Despite what the press reports; our ambassadors are working with others in Washington to achieve a balanced budget.  Our Senator is fighting to minimize restrictive and irrelevant regulations that inhibit business and job growth.

This morning even though yesterdays report showed limited growth, the talking heads on TV tried to make it sound like the data was false.  That companies were not making money and that the unemployment rate had not dropped.  I realize it was a minor adjustment, but we are not falling off a cliff.

Yesterdays lunch reminded me that there are good people in the world trying to make a difference; and that when you vote it does matter.  We have two very talented Senators in Washington making a difference for our State.  If Senator Lisa Murkowski keeps to the Four-Way Test and can convince other in Washington to do the same, then I think there is a very bright future.

You can contact Eric Bushnell @ 907-360-7471, and there is alsways fresh information about homes in Eagle River at www.eagleriverhomesforsale.com

 

Fourth of July Weekend

by Eric Bushnell

July 1, 2011

Today is Friday here in Alaska, and I need to set my priorities!

What should you do, there are so many events here.  There is two or three parades, there's fishing, camping, and of course Mt. Marathon in Seward.  I did hear that the town was already full and no camping spots were available.

Hopefully the weather will be nice for all.  I think we will spend a nice weekend at home, do a parade on the Fourth and hit the picnic at Town Park in Wasilla

Happy Fourth of July America!

2011 Eagle River Forecast

by Eric Bushnell

2011 Forecast for Eagle River Alaska

January 2011 has arrived and now its time to pull out the crystal ball, or the magic 8 Ball, whichever you think is most accurate.  Now is when I do much of my planning for the coming year.  In the past months we have celebrated the holidays, enjoyed our friends and family, and looked forward to dealing with a new year.

So what will 2011 be like?  Before we decide on our best guess we need to take a look at 2010 and 2009.  How have we fared in the past two years?  In Chugiak and Eagle River we have sold 971 single family homes (This does not include condos), 501 in 2009 and 470 in 2010; down 6.2%.  Not too bad considering that the market was down much more substantially in the lower 48 markets.  The average sales price was unchanged in the Chugiak market, but up 3% in Eagle River and the median sales price was up in both markets.*

The available homes on the market was up at the end of the year with approximately a 5 month supply of homes.  This was up from a 3 month supply at the end of 2009.  The numbers have dropped off now at mid month and when you remove the new construction to be built (homes that have not been started at this time).  Currently there is about 1/3 less homes available; however these number are sure to climb over the next 30 days.  This low number limits a buyers choice and they tend to look in Anchorage or the Mat-Su Valley, trying to find a home they can afford.

If we look at these numbers it is easy to suggest that 2011 will be a slow year, however I would like to point out that we are coming off several booming years.  Our market is more normalized now the ever before.  The sales rate will be steady and I think most client are looking for quality over quantity, a nicer home vs. a bigger home.  I have seen more people trending towards larger garages.  Banks will continue to be a speed bump in the selling process as the underwriting standards become stricter.

My forecast for 2011 is similar to many others I have heard, I believe the Eagle River and Chugiak markets will experience increases in the number of sales and valuation.  A tighter inventory will bring up the price for the home, and there will be more new homes built this year.  There will be less condos, and more single family homes. Here it is the magic number for our area, we will sell:

501 Homes

I really like the extra one!

 *Based on information from Alaska Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (AK MLS) for the period CY2009 and CY2010 but not compiled or published by AK MLS.  Listing content maintained by AK MLS may not reflect all real property activity in the market.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

Contact Information

Lee Realty, LLC
Lee Realty, LLC.
5050 Dunbar Drive #F
Wasilla AK 99654
Office: 907-376-0119
Fax: (907) 376-4039

 

 

 

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