The Alaska Multiple Service (MLS) is a statewide organization that publishes a weekly market activity report of all new listings, pending (buyer and seller agreed) and sold transactions.
Although it may not reflect all activity in a market, it clearly represents the vast majority of residential transactions and provides insight into local housing activity and whether or not the market in certain communities has balance defined as an equal number of new, pending and sold properties.
For example, last week, Wasilla had 363 current active listings with 34 new listings, 33 pending transactions and 33 closed. Although the number of for sale units is high in relationship to its population (even if you include the entire Mat-Su Borough), it is considered a balanced market.
Another balanced market is Anchorage which had 521 homes for sale with 53 new listings, 64 pending and 58 sold. The Anchorage market in relationship to its population of just over 300,000, although balanced in terms of activity, is constrained due to its overall lack of for sale inventory.
However, despite the lack of inventory, you would consider the market balanced, the same as Wasilla, with approximately 10 percent (slightly more or less) of for sale homes being sold on a weekly basis.
Eagle River had 126 homes for sale last week. According to the MLS market activity, it also had 17 new listings, 18 pending and 27 sold. With more than a 10 percent turnover, it is the most active real estate market in the state.
Like Wasilla, Eagle River has become the bedroom community for the employment center of Anchorage. Not only is there more available land in those two communities, but the building permit process, or lack thereof, saves not only time, but thousands of dollars, making homes on larger lots more affordable than its more urban neighbor, Anchorage.
For many people, it’s worth the commute. Palmer, however, doesn’t fair as well and lags behind with less than 10 percent weekly absorption of available inventory. With 133 homes for sale and 16 new listings, it had only 10 pending sales and 6 closed transactions.
Last week, Fairbanks had 65 homes for sale with 3 new homes for sale, 4 pending and 2 sold. Using the 10 percent absorption formula, its market is not balanced with less than 5 percent turnover on a weekly basis. North Pole, its Santa Claus neighbor, fairs better with 22 homes for sale, 4 pending and 4 closed.
Homer, a popular go-to recreational area for Alaskans and tourists, has 133 homes for sale, but very slow absorption with 3 pending and 2 sold last week. Across the bay, Halibut Cove has five homes for sale and no activity.
Some smaller and more rural communities have no market. Cordova, Delta Junction, Glennallen, Haines, Indian, Healy, Moose Pass, Sitka, Valdez, and Wrangell report no active new listings, pendings or solds thru MLS. Valdez has only one home listed for sale so you’re more likely to find one there by talking to a friend or co-worker.
Connie Yoshimura is the broker/owner of Dwell Realty. Contact her at 907-646-3670 or [email protected]