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.


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!