INSIDE REAL ESTATE: The good, and not-so-good of 2017 in Anchorage building

The good news from the Municipality of Anchorage building safety activity report for 2017 is the total number of housing units increased from 341 in 2016 to 460.

The not-so-good news for potential homebuyers is that the increase comes from multi-family and duplex permits. Single-family permits had an increase of only six units. Clearly, Anchorage is trending towards more urban and higher density housing while the marketplace is still seeking the affordable single family home.

Hultquist Homes tops the chart with 54 residential units constructed with Spinell Homes a close second at 50 units. Of note is the owner/builder category with 37 single-family permits scattered throughout the MOA.

Usually, these owner/builders have some relationship to the construction trades. Anchorage’s top subdivisions include WestGate, a community of duplex condos; Huffman Timbers in the South High School district and Residential Pointe at the end of 100th Avenue.

Total construction activity, including residential, commercial, government, alteration and change orders was down by more than 10 percent, a decrease from $466.9 million to $421.8 million.

There were no new commercial permits in 2017 and only $10.4 million in commercial alteration. All activity is on a downward trajectory from a 10-year high of $680.9 million hit in 2014. While the Lower 48 has been enjoying a robust economy, Anchorage has definitely felt the impact of the Alaska recession the last three years as construction activity has declined to the level of the real estate crash beginning in 2008.

As can be expected with our aging population, elevator permits increased from 146 in 2016 to 226 in 2017. There were no new mobile home permits issued. There were 4,329 mechanical/plumbing permits issued which is a reflection of our aging housing stock. Replacing a water heater requires a permit and a re-inspection by the MOA. It’s just another way for the MOA to generate fees.

The MOA has big plans for 2018 with projects such as the mixed-use development near Tudor and Elmore, as well as downtown mixed-use developments with one-bedroom apartments. Most multi-family rental units are two bedrooms, so one-bedroom and three-bedroom units are potentially a good addition to our rental housing.

It’s hard to say if any of the big projects get off the ground in 2018 but if they do total permit valuations should take a sizeable jump up. But, don’t expect much change in the single family and duplex numbers as Anchorage’s often talked about land scarcity has finally arrived.

Connie Yoshimura is the Broker/Owner of Dwell Realty. Read more columns by Connie at Contact her at 907-229-2703 or [email protected].

02/07/2018 - 10:50am