July 23, 2024

Mortgage Payments Surge by More Than 50 Percent in One State

Buying a home in Alaska is increasingly challenging for residents, as home prices are higher than during their 2022 and 2023 peaks and mortgage rates have risen by more than 50 percent in the past six years, according to a new study by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC).

Between 2018 and 2024, the average principal and interest payment for homes purchased in Alaska increased by 52 percent, the study released on June 19 found. Newsweek contacted AHFC for comment by phone on Wednesday morning.

Higher mortgage rates are likely to be another factor in making homes unaffordable for many aspiring buyers in the state, on top of relatively high home prices.

Homes Alaska
A summer view of large wooden residential houses in Ketchikan, Alaska. Between 2018 and 2024, mortgage rates rose by more than 50 percent in Alaska, according to a recent study.

Getty Images

According to the latest Redfin data, the median sale price of a home in Alaska was $388,400 in May, up 2.2 percent compared to a year earlier. In May 2022, it was $363,000. Anchorage, the state’s largest city, was the number one metropolitan area in the state with the fastest-growing sale price, up 3.8 percent in May compared to a year earlier.

Prices are still climbing despite inventory growing significantly in the past year, with 2,230 homes for sale in Alaska in May, up 19.8 percent year-over-year. Newly listed homes were up 21.3 percent compared to a year earlier. But the average month of supply is only two months—far from the six months that is considered enough for the market to turn in favor of buyers.

The situation isn’t any easier for people renting in the state. Since 2018, average rents have increased by 24 percent, reaching an average of $1,325 statewide in 2024, up from $1,250 a year earlier.

All seven communities analyzed by the AHFC experts saw rents increases, including the Municipality of Anchorage (+7.84 percent), Fairbanks North Star Borough (+4.17 percent), Juneau (+3.85 percent), Kenai Peninsula Borough (+4.71 percent), Ketchikan Gateway Borough (+8.41 percent), Kodiak (+20.83 percent), and Matanuska Susitna Borough (+6.38 percent).

Daniel Delfino, the director of planning and program development for AHFC, told Alaska News Source that the housing situation in Alaska is complicated, with “a lot of things moving at the same time.”

“We don’t have a ‘it’s this’ or ‘it’s that’ answer anymore to some of the housing challenges that people are facing,” Delfino said. “It’s an expensive place to build, Alaska. Most of our communities are expensive to build, and before the pandemic and the challenges after the pandemic, inflation and interest costs of land made those challenges harder.”

Are you an Alaska resident trying to get a mortgage, or struggling to buy a home? Have you been affected by the recent increases in mortgage rates? Tell us about your experience by contacting g.carbonaro@newsweek.com.