Wondering when you should buy a house in Alaska? Keeping track of market trends and seasonal fluctuations will help you make this decision. They can affect the cost of homes and the amount of competition.
Buying a house is a stressful and emotional process. You'll likely have to spend weeks touring properties, fill out hundreds of forms, and invest a large chunk of your savings to secure the right house.
One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In Alaska, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.
For example, this year listing prices for homes in Alaska were lowest in January. On average, homes were $27,125 less expensive. While in November — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $26,487 more than the annual average.
In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Alaska.
If you're interested in buying a home, the first step in your home buying journey is to find an experienced realtor who's an expert in your local market. The right agent can help you find the best house for your budget and priorities — and negotiate a winning offer so you don't lose out on your dream home.
The easiest way to find a great local realtor is to use a free service like Clever Real Estate. Clever matches home buyers like you with top agents in your area so you can compare your options and choose a realtor who's the right fit for you.
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Best Time of Year to Buy in Alaska
Spring is known for being one of the best times in the year for buying and selling homes. While some states can get away with buying and selling in the winter, for states like Alaska, you should avoid doing this. If you are a first-time home buyer in Alaska, chances are you haven’t experienced their long and harsh winters.
You’ll want to buy during their spring and summer months so you can comfortably tour each home and not have to worry about snow. Most temporary residents have also left by the time spring rolls around so there will be less competition between buyers. Buying in the spring and summer also gives you a head start because you’ll need to make sure your home is prepared for the winter season.
Sellers are also trying to sell their homes and move before winter starts, so this plays into your advantage. Often, sellers will prepare homes for the buyers and offer a great deal on the house. Your best bet is to avoid buying a home during Alaskan winters at all costs.
Best Places to Buy a Home in Alaska
Anchorage is Alaska’s most populated city, sitting at around 300,000 residents who make up 40% of the states’ population. Anchorage is buzzing with things to do and is a large economic sector with jobs in the military, air cargo, and tourism industry. If you’re looking for a city with life and activities, Anchorage is the city for you.
Juneau is Alaska’s capital and is abundant with government, tourism, and fishing jobs. The median income per family is around $80,000, which is great considering the cost of living there. Juneau is also home to the well known University of Alaska Southeast.
Ketchikan is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World" and brings in a lot of tourists each year. This makes for great employment opportunities and the chance to show visitors what Alaska has to offer. Some of the beautiful landmarks include Misty Fjords National Monument and Tongass National Forest.
Kodiak is great for people who enjoy hunting. Commercial fishing is their key economic contributor, as well as the hunting of the Kodiak bear elk and black-tail deer. Here, you can expect a heavy U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard presence.
Badger has a population of 20,000 and is located in the exact center of Alaska. They have a high median income of $80,000 while the average home sits at around $200,000. They have a great public school system and are only minutes away from Fairbanks.
4 Ways to Get a Great Deal on a Home in Alaska
Find a Great Alaska Real Estate Agent:
An experienced, local buyer’s agent is going to help you get the best deal on your new home. It’s strongly recommended that buyer’s don’t attempt to do this process alone. There are many steps in the home buying process and incorrectly doing one can cause legal or financial problems.
Assess Your Needs and Lay Out your Goals:
Work with your agent to determine what you want in a house. Are you looking for a new construction home that doesn’t need upgrades? Or are you wanting to take on a fixer-upper than you can put your own style into? You will also want to consider if you want your home ready for winter, especially when buying in Alaska.
Keep in mind, you need to be realistic with your financial limitations during house hunting. Finding your new home is exciting but being underwater with your mortgage is not. Be specific and firm with your budget as well as clear about property expectations.
Find a Lender and Secure Financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Alaska, interest rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in Alaska a typical house is worth $288,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $1,028. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $971.
|Getting a mortgage is a big decision – and it pays to shop around! Keep shopping until you find a lender with competitive rates who also understands your goals. Don’t get pressured into taking on a bigger loan than you’re comfortable with – work with a lender who explains what you’re really signing up for.It’s easy to start your home buying journey – answer a few questions to get instantly matched with a lender who works in your area.
Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
Once you’ve found your dream home, your agent will assist you in making and submitting an offer. They are also going to be conducting all the negotiating even after the home inspection is completed to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about Clever or speaking with a top-rated buyer’s agent in your area, fill out our online form. A member of our team will be in touch with you shortly to answer any questions you might have and connect you with one of our local Partner Agents for a no-obligation consultation.