I can’t help but compare Alaska’s in and out migration to that popular burger. Net migration is the number of people who move to Alaska minus the number who leave. For decades, Alaska has enjoyed net migration but that changed between 2015-2020 when Alaska lost migrants in every age group for the first time in the 35 year study period, as reported by Alaska Economic Trends.
Alaska has more in and out migration than any other state. It’s typical for 40,000 to 50,000 people to move both into and out of Alaska every year, regardless of economic conditions, according to a study in 2018 published by Alaska Economic Trends. So Alaska’s a remarkably good place for Realtors who earn their living assisting buyers and sellers with residential properties.
Demographics have changed over the past few decades and that has had a direct impact on the housing market. Alaska’s older population has grown significantly over the past decade which has resulted in skyrocketing sales of ranch homes, both resale and new construction. Huffman Timbers, a popular 42 new home community in southeast Anchorage, ended up with a third of ranch homes being built. And ranches aren’t just for the elderly or seniors. It seems like even boomers are planning ahead and changing from two stories to ranches. Also popular, are ranches with walk-out lower levels. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, millennials have a tendency to leave Alaska after high school graduation. They’re off to college; join the military or simply want to ‘get out’ and see what life is like in the lower ’48. Many do return, settle down, buy a condo or a single family home. Popular locations for these returning millennials are South Addition or homes close to Kincaid Park and Flat Top. The reverse two-story plan is very popular with these buyers who don’t have knee or hip problems yet but want big garages for all their outdoor gear and toys. Men still outnumber women but it has fallen to an average of 106 males to 100 females. Four decades ago, I came to Alaska with a guy. Today, women drive the Alcan with their dog or get off an airplane by themselves. Women are also increasingly buying homes and not just condos but single family homes. Many prefer new construction after searching for months on Pinterest and Houzz for the right design and interior colors.
But not everyone lives in Anchorage, my hometown. And I suppose some of you were wondering when I would get around to mentioning our new branch in Homer, Alaska. For years, my friends told me I would enjoy a trip to Homer but I ignored them. Decades ago I owned a small stucco home in Seward and a few years ago a log home on the North Shore of Big Lake. When I sold that home, it was all work, work and then jump on an airplane to New York for the theatre, Miami for a medical spa, LA for playwriting classes, Kauai for down time and fresh poki, and Seattle to visit friends and my nephews at Seattle Pacific University. Well, Covid-19 changed all that and I soon discovered Homer, as have hundreds of other Alaskans, US citizens and international travelers as well. It is truly the end of the road and I can’t wait to get back there and visit our BHHS Alaska Realty branch. A shout out to the five new realtors that have joined our family and especially to Claire James, Business Development Director and Natalie Smyre, Assistant Broker, who spent days and hours last weekend opening up the office. Hello Homer!