Peninsula boasts affordable housing

Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2002

A report put out by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has good news for area residents -- the Kenai Peninsula continues to be one of the cheapest places to live in the state.

The Alaska Housing Market Indicators report, put out in Spring 2001, contains information about new housing units, Alaska multiple listing service information, an AHFC residential loan portfolio and a survey of Alaska lenders.

Several indicators point to the Kenai Peninsula as the most affordable area in the state to live.

Only 1.06 wage earners receiving an average wage are required to afford a 30-year single-family home mortgage in Kenai, compared to the state average of 1.42. Houses were least affordable in Kodiak, where 2.01 wage earners are required to afford a single-family house.

Sales prices for single-family homes were nearly the lowest on the peninsula at $155,902 for the first half of 2001, compared to $185,106 for the state average. Fairbanks and Mat-Su were the only regions with lower prices, with $150,824 in Fairbanks and $142,020 in Mat-Su.

The low prices on the peninsula helped fuel the real estate market in the first half of 2001. In the upper Kenai Peninsula area, 372 single-family homes were sold at an average price of $118,799, statistics from the report showed.

"Last year at this time we were much busier than we normally are," said Kim McDonald of Freedom Realty. "Right after New Year's it seems like we had a lot of business."

The rate of new homes construction stayed about the same on the peninsula in 2001 as in 2000.

Fifteen new homes were built in Homer in both 2000 and 2001, 20 new homes were built in Kenai in 2001 compared to 19 in 2000 and 14 new homes were built in Soldotna in 2001, which is down from the 21 built in 2000.

Compared to state totals, these numbers are above average, although they come no where near the high for the state -- 996 news homes built in Anchorage last year.

"From what we've heard Anchorage has just gone crazy," McDonald said.

Prices for homes in Anchorage tend to be much higher than prices in the Kenai Peninsula, McDonald said.

As for selling homes on the peninsula, McDonald said newer homes seem to be more popular at the moment, although reasonably priced older homes can be sold relatively quickly as well.

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