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Alaskan homes showing their age

By Lauren Maxwell 8:28 PM June 24, 2014

When it comes to housing, Alaska stacks up a little differently than the Lower 48.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation recently released a report that looks at existing housing across the state and compares it to the rest of the country. According to the report, homes in Alaska use nearly twice as much energy per year as homes in other northern states. They tend to be smaller and much less energy efficient. The smaller size also lends itself to another statistic; Alaskan homes are overcrowded — more than twice the national average.

“In 2009, which is when we did the last housing assessment, there were roughly 10,000 homes that were considered overcrowded in Alaska,” said AHFC’s Jimmy Ord. “Today we stand at 15,000 homes in Alaska that are overcrowded.”

Ord estimates there are nearly 90,000 homes in the state that have issues which require updates to make them more livable or energy efficient. Most homes in the state were built during the pipeline boom of the 1970s and ’80s, he said, and many are showing their age.

Nearly one in three Alaskan households may also spending too much on their housing costs, the report says. If you’re spending 30 percent or more of your household income on housing costs — whether it’s rent and utilities or a mortgage and property taxes — you could be putting yourself at risk for affording basic things like food and medical care.

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