Eagle River is a community that many residents and visitors envision as true Alaska. It has mountains, a meandering rafting river, parks, glaciers and scenic vistas. It’s hard not to find a view or a nature trail you don’t love. Eagle River’s population is 30,000 and Anchorage’s is 300,000. Yet last week, Eagle River had 83 properties for sale compared to Anchorage’s 393 or 17% of all available inventory. In other words, it is truly the bedroom community of Anchorage, despite the fact that many Eagle River residents like to consider themselves independent with their own potential township and Title 21 chapter with different land use regulations than the Anchorage metropolis.
There are, however, some distinct differences when it comes to available housing stock in Eagle River, the major one being the lack of homes valued over $750,000. There are none. Homes over $750,000 consist of 8% of our market, but none are in the Eagle River area. The most popular price range for Eagle River homes is between $250,000 and $400,000 with also over four sales per month between $400,000 and $749,900 which can be attributed to the popularity of the Powder Ridge and Eagle Pointe communities, both easy commutes to downtown Anchorage. The average sales price in Eagle River is $366,000 which is just slightly higher than Anchorage’s $358,000. Eagle River sellers can expect their home to be on the market about 10 days longer than the Anchorage average of 47 days as potential buyers contemplate the drive time in to Anchorage’s employment centers.
But, like Anchorage, Eagle River homes sell for 99% of the adjusted list price. Neither Eagle River nor Anchorage sellers and realtors have that southern California attitude of “List high and bring me an offer.” The fact that this is not a negotiating community sometimes comes as a shock to relocating home buyers, but our lack of inventory still makes for a tight market in both Anchorage and Eagle River.
Last year, I predicted an appreciation rate of almost 6%. We fell far short of that in 2014 with only 3.23%. This year we’ll be lucky to have the same in Anchorage and Eagle River. Sales the first half of the year will remain brisk for homes in good condition and built after 1990. No predictions yet for the second half of the year. That’s largely dependent on mortgage interest rates, the price of oil and how the state manages its deficit spending. New construction residential building does make a contribution to the overall economy, but in general our real estate market is reactive and not pro-active.