What I love most about selling real estate is that every property, every buyer, every seller is different so it is never boring! Putting all those variables together to complete a transaction gives you a uber high of satisfaction. Every year also has a different set of variables and circumstances that set it apart. 2016 was no exception. This is what I learned in 2016.
Despite the strangulation in the state legislature as to how to manage the state budget shortfall, the Anchorage residential market held its values with less than a 1% decline in sales price. Year to date MLS sales are 2645 compared to 2750 in 2015 and 2619 in 2014 so despite everyone’s dire predictions, the market remained stable. Cartus and Brookfield relocation homes, priced below market for a quick sale, came and went with little impact on the market. Builder permits limped along at historic lows. For the first eleven months of this year, only 182 single family homes were permitted.
Every week online and in print, I read about residential fires many of which are a result of our aging housing stock which is reaching functional and economic obsolescence. In many ways, our housing stock is just like an aging baby boomer. It requires a lot of maintenance to keep it going. Remodelers should rejoice as they are in high demand. What I also learned in 2016 is that low interest rates don’t last forever. Just this week, we had another bump up to 4.25 % for a 30-year fixed rate. A couple of months ago that rate was almost one point less, making any home purchase today considerably more expensive on a monthly basis.
At my open houses, I welcomed a lot of Hispanic and Asian visitors. Our home buying demographic is dramatically changing with multi-generational and blended families as well as minorities. New to America and Anchorage, these families crave the American dream of homeownership which was not available to them in a distant land. I also discovered the love for the return of the ranch home. And it’s just not for boomers. I saw many millennials at my open ranches because it was something different in the market and was easy living. I saw new smaller home sites due to the high cost of streets, water, sewer. Just less landscaping to maintain is my favorite response. More time for fun!
I listened to potential buyers talk about how they were tired of the drive in from the Valley. Some even wanted to move from Eagle River to Anchorage as they were tired of the pile-ups on the Glenn Highway. Being close to work became more of a priority in 2016. Also, close to family and familiarity with schools and shopping. Although we’re all connected online and with social media, physical neighborhoods seemed to take on more importance. Buyers wanted to know who their neighbors were and not in a negative way but a positive. It was as if they were reaching out for a sense of community and belonging that only home ownership could provide.
At Dwell Realty, we’re taking a break from open houses to enjoy this holiday season with family and friends. But, like we all know, real estate is 24/7 so if you need some relief from all that holiday cheer, call, text or email. We’re here. And thank you to all our buyers and sellers for their trust and belief in what we do.