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  • AKDoug
    replied
    I'll tell you something... the Aurora Borealis keeps me here every year!
    Did you guys even get any this year? This winter was the worst northern lights viewing I can remember in my 35 years in AK.

    Leave a comment:


  • akjw7
    replied
    Exactly part of the problem I was getting at earlier - people that have been fortunate enough to capitalize on high prices (here or elsewhere) are able to sustain the inflated market.

    good for you, bad for me...but that's life and I'm still smiling. I'll get back where I was a while ago with time and hard work, but it's frustrating that a house costs twice what it did 10 or 15 years ago. Disheartening at times that salaries are relatively unchanged over the years, but costs for housing, transportation, utilities, healthcare, etc have slowly (wait...not so slowly in many cases) eroded the...oh just forget it. The sunshine has me in too good a mood to think about this stuff!

    Leave a comment:


  • Bambistew
    replied
    Houses are cheaper in AK than where I live now... I'm looking forward to having a lower mortgage and getting more house.

    Leave a comment:


  • COtoAK
    replied
    Originally posted by AKDoug View Post
    Now, the Fairbanks area...I don't know why anyone would want to live there..LOL..
    Uh huh. :rolleyes:
    That's why there are about 35,000 people living in Fairbanks area.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairbanks,_Alaska

    Maybe people would rather live in the Interior to get away from the city people such as... (smiles)

    Who knows... maybe we are all radicals, but you'd never know because you don't know why anyone would ever, ever want to live here.

    I'll tell you something... the Aurora Borealis keeps me here every year! :rolleyes:

    Leave a comment:


  • Paul H
    replied
    And ultimately you need to prioritize what you want. Since buying a homee was a #1 priority for our family, we were here 10 years before getting a boat, and I've been on one fly out hunt. I don't have 4 wheelers, snowmachines or other "toys"

    Leave a comment:


  • AKDoug
    replied
    Funny thing is.. it's about a wash from Boulder to Anchorage. Utilities difference between Denver and Anchorage is 1%. That's why the Valley and Anchorage have grown so much. It really doesn't cost all that much more to live there than many places in the lower 48. Now, the Fairbanks area...I don't know why anyone would want to live there..LOL..

    Why are they so high in Anchorage? I don't believe its because things have to be shipped. Other parts of the state have similar homes for much less.
    Home prices have NOTHING to do with cost of construction, it has everything to do with supply and demand. I have a 2000sf house in Talkeetna that is assessed at $120,000 (when I finished the exterior it will most likely jump to $200,000. My cousin's 2000sf house in Orange Country, CA is assessed at $700,000... and my house has a WAY nicer interior and a bigger lot.

    Leave a comment:


  • COtoAK
    replied
    Here you go.
    This is a cost of living comparison.
    Let us know how much of a difference it is from your part of the world to ours.
    http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costofliving/costofliving.html
    From Denver to here (where I moved from), I need to make $14,000.00 more per year to make it up here.

    I just pulled it up again. Utilities will cost 107% more than in Denver. That's the truth, too.
    Groceries will cost:
    16% more
    Housing will cost:
    36% more
    Utilities will cost:
    107% more
    Transportation will cost:
    14% more
    Healthcare will cost:
    33% more

    Leave a comment:


  • akjw7
    replied
    Good story, thanks

    Trees would be great, but in my house I'm alone on that one. My wife likes to be in town in a paved everything kind of neighborhood. :confused:

    When the time does come to buy a house I hope we'll be on at least an acre - I think my rule of thumb will be that if I can't shoot my bow in the yard without the cops being called then it's not the house for me! (that hasn't happend, but probably would - if I did!)

    I hear you on the boat and snow machine. I'm no mechanic, but I am kind of handy and in the last few years I have done really well finding old or broken down (or old and broken down!) toys for cheap and fixing them up. Sure they are old and far from fancy or even pretty, but they work and they get me out fishing or hunting all year long. Come to think of it my toys are "Alaska beautiful" like blue tarps and duct tape! (there's nothing wrong with naming your boat "lumpy" is there? )

    Paul - I spent a couple of years in the bay area (miserable time for this Alaskan) but you aren't kidding about it seeming affordable here. We rented a nothing special house in a crappy part of town that sold for $700K when we moved out, it was (is?) absurd.

    And of course you are dead on that Alaska is worth it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Paul H
    replied
    Having moved from California (shh, don't tell anyone ) I was suprised how affordable housing was. That and when we moved up here 12 years ago houses cost 1/2 what they do now.

    And yes in some fields the salaries are quite good, which has contributed to driving up housing prices.

    With the housing market having softened, and homes in foreclosure, you should be able to get into a starter home for say $250k, maybe down to $200k if you find the right foreclosure.

    Just make sure you factor in costs for heating, electricity, property taxes, water and garbage, that can approach $1000 a month in the winter.

    And as a few folks have opinioned, Alaska is expensive because it's worth it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Louis
    replied
    Originally posted by akjw7 View Post

    In the meantime my biggest dissapointment with our current financial situation is that I can't afford a home where my kids can have a dog. I always had a dog growing up and have great childhood memories of fun times. I really think every kid should have a dog for a friend...makes me sad that my kids are missing that.
    I prefer not to think about giving my kids what my parents gave me. My mother bought three acres in Girdwood which had a cabin and was butted up against the Chugach National Forest....for $25.00. We had great neighbors and could walk out the door and hike to the tops of the mountains without encountering another human. Deals like that are a little bit harder to find now.

    I decided I'd be happpy just to have some trees for boys to play in. That dream was rapidly disappearing the way our former location in North Pole was becoming industrailized. We had great neighbors there too, but decided we needed to get out of that area. The way prices had gone and with so many houses on the market (it was about this time last year) It was hard to imagine how we were going to improve our lot.

    Amazingly, the house sold right away and we found an unfinished house, along with a cabin on three wooded acres on the back side of Chena Ridge,for about $115,000.

    Just keep your eyes open, things can work out in ways you didn't expect. I think your kids will have a dog sooner than you think.

    We're a family of four living on about the same income you have. We have a canoe instead of a motor boat, and XC skis instead of snow machines, but we have a good time! Good luck....Louis

    Leave a comment:


  • akjw7
    replied
    OK maybe I'm just bitter because I missed out on the rise in home prices!

    Owned a small 3 bedroom ranch, 1 bath, no garage, in a cookie cutter anchorage neighborhood that we bought for $90 something in the 90's (before kids when wife and I both worked). After finally wrapping up at UAA I had to leave state to kick start the new career. We made maybe 20K on the house when we sold it. We had to sell it and use the $20K we made on the deal to pay off debt so we could live off my entry level salary (we had already had our first kid at that time). Stupid house more than doubled in the five or six years after we sold it :eek:

    just keep telling my self "long run" "long run" "long run" as I write out those student loan payment checks and find myself in a worse financiial position than before!

    Oh well, it will work out...in the long run!

    In the meantime my biggest dissapointment with our current financial situation is that I can't afford a home where my kids can have a dog. I always had a dog growing up and have great childhood memories of fun times. I really think every kid should have a dog for a friend...makes me sad that my kids are missing that.

    Leave a comment:


  • sweepint
    replied
    Houses

    There are a ton of homes out there on the market that are under 150kand a large amount that are under 125k if you want to go after forclosured homes. Granted they are not in Anckorage but you sure can find them in Wasilla or palmer.
    I just saw one the other day that was for about 124k 3br 2b 1500sq ft and i am overseas so they are out there.
    The houses are out there if you are willing to look for them.

    Someone said that they had a house back somewhere else and they bought it 60k. You will not find that here.

    I think its better in ak than other places i have been.
    Just my 2 cents

    Leave a comment:


  • Dirtofak
    replied
    Originally posted by akjw7 View Post
    I don't think that is a universally true statement.

    I have a graduate degree and a good professional job in my field. The two people in this job before me were there for a long time and retired from the position. I make less than $60K a year (and no, that's not net) and it's not easy to support my family of five in what I believe is a middle class fashion. I absolutely cannot afford a decent 3 bedroom family home. Our rent alone is nearly 40% of my income and that's with rent that is considered a screaming good deal in fairbanks.

    Making the choice to live on a single income instead of the now normal two incomes is of course the main reason we aren't doing great financially. Recession??? Heck I've been in recession mode for years...the rest of the country is just now catching up!

    Really though I'm not bad off. I have a job, I can feed my family, I still get to play a little, and in most cases I can pay my bills (although even paying my 20% share of health care costs with kids and a wife is enough to break me).

    I'm not in near as bad of shape as some people out there, I'm just offering up a little different point of view.

    Oh one final thought has to do with a large percentage of homeowners out there, specifically those people that owned a home before the massive housing inflation in the last 10 years. I believe this group of people may not realize how bad it has gotten, because their homes appreciated and then they were able to leverage that new found equity into the next home or into their pocket. Many salaraies have not kept up with that big bump in house prices, so if you don't have a house to sell that appreciated a great deal in the last ten years and you don't have a great salary then it's not so easy to get into the family housing market.
    Agreed - People have different incomes and needs. This is the first home that we purchased. 21 years in the AF and moved a lot. While we had a decent down payment, we also looked at building a nest egg for retirement, recreation and upkeep. If I were moving, I would gladly take 300K for it.

    Referring to the OP, retired military and professional couple could easily manage a 300K home. With no children a nice condo for 200K would seem a better deal. I would guess that a couple in their shoes would easily break 100K per year. If one were to go unemployed, the 200K condo would make better sense.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rovingarcher
    replied
    Owning a home...

    If I were going to build in Alaska,it would be to live away from it all,but still have road access.When people talk about 250-300,000 for a home, thats nuts.I don't care what you say,that will buy me one heck alot of material and a lot,even in Alaska..This place is about 950 sq ft...475 each floor,daylight bedroom down stairs.Couldn't get a concrete truck up the mt, so had to hand mix all the grout for the concrete block wall foundation and bond beams,bedroom slab was out of a mixer and five gallon buckets.Can heat it with a match...ok maybe two.Nice part, all I pay for a mortgage is taxes(900 a year with the 11 acres)Everything is free and clear.I couldn't even dream of owning a place and paying a 1000 dollar mortgage every month for 30 yrs.I'd rough it and build.GR

    Leave a comment:


  • akjw7
    replied
    have to disagree

    Originally posted by dirtofak View Post
    Until you get here and realize that the income pretty much matches the higher cost of living.
    I don't think that is a universally true statement.

    I have a graduate degree and a good professional job in my field. The two people in this job before me were there for a long time and retired from the position. I make less than $60K a year (and no, that's not net) and it's not easy to support my family of five in what I believe is a middle class fashion. I absolutely cannot afford a decent 3 bedroom family home. Our rent alone is nearly 40% of my income and that's with rent that is considered a screaming good deal in fairbanks.

    Making the choice to live on a single income instead of the now normal two incomes is of course the main reason we aren't doing great financially. Recession??? Heck I've been in recession mode for years...the rest of the country is just now catching up!

    Really though I'm not bad off. I have a job, I can feed my family, I still get to play a little, and in most cases I can pay my bills (although even paying my 20% share of health care costs with kids and a wife is enough to break me).

    I'm not in near as bad of shape as some people out there, I'm just offering up a little different point of view.

    Oh one final thought has to do with a large percentage of homeowners out there, specifically those people that owned a home before the massive housing inflation in the last 10 years. I believe this group of people may not realize how bad it has gotten, because their homes appreciated and then they were able to leverage that new found equity into the next home or into their pocket. Many salaraies have not kept up with that big bump in house prices, so if you don't have a house to sell that appreciated a great deal in the last ten years and you don't have a great salary then it's not so easy to get into the family housing market.

    Leave a comment:

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