Before he died in 1910, Mark Twain said ‘Buy land because they ain’t goin’ to make any more of it.” Back then, I’m pretty sure Twain wasn’t thinking about subdivisions with roads, water, sewer, rolled vs. detached curbs or streets with insulation. But Twain was right about buying land, whether or not it’s a lot with water/sewer or an acre on the hillside because Anchorage is definitely suffering from a land shortage for home building.
In 2016, there were only 24 new residential lots platted in the MOA and all were large lots requiring well and septic systems. In 2017, there were 35 lots, including Resolution Bluffs and Harmony Ranch in Eagle River. Potter Highlands, Blue Berry Estates and Heather Wood came on last year for 52 new lots. That’s a total of only 111 new lots, whether on well and septic or with public utilities. For the past three years, single family building permits have averaged just under 200. So, doing a little math, Anchorage absorption of single family lots was approximately 600 compared to the 111 new lots. No wonder new home buyers are frustrated!
This year will create a few more opportunities for home buyers wanting to build. The total proposed lots that have had MOA plat approval is 111. Yes, that number is not a misprint. The same number of lots coming on line this year is more than in the total of the previous three years. However, there is one big difference. All but 16 of these new lots are located in Eagle River where there is still undeveloped land. The largest new home community in Eagle River will be the 30 lots in Braendel Creek, which is the last phase of Brendel Wood. These lots will have public/water and a publicly dedicated road and should come online late summer. The Lewis and Clark community in Upper DeArmoun is the only new Anchorage plat which is a large lot hillside subdivision with well and septic system.
Due to the lot shortage and the high cost for development, buyers can expect higher prices for newly developed lots in subdivisions with public utilities. The average cost for a lot with public water and sewer and on a dedicated public road serviced by the MOA will range from $140,000 to $180,000. Any price lower will be a bargain. The twenty-six hillside lots ranging in size from one to six acres that sold last year had an average price of $154,568, after eliminating the highest and lowest sale. According to the MOA, the large lot category is the only category of lots that has an abundance of land for development. Rl and R1A land and lots which are designated for single family will remain at a premium for the long term.
So follow Mark Twain’s advice and ‘Buy land.’