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Anchorage housing gridlock driving up rental costs

By KTVA Alaska 7:40 PM June 6, 2014

The Anchorage housing market is in gridlock, according to city leaders.

They gathered Friday to address the current gridlock, in which the demand for housing has been outpacing production. That according to housing experts is driving rental rates sky high.

Of the 25 most common jobs in Anchorage, only 7 pay enough for someone to afford area housing, according to studies done by the United Way of Anchorage.

“Right now, a household has to have 2.8 minimum wage jobs to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment,” United Way of Anchorage president Michele Brown said.”That’s not sustainable.”

The federal government says tenants should pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing. Any more and you’re considered financially unstable.

Due to Anchorage’s housing gridlock almost half of the population spends 50 percent of their income on housing, according to the United Way.

At that rate, the non-profit is concerned a single missed paycheck – due to illness or the loss of a job – could be the difference between keeping or losing housing.

Right now, Brown says Anchorage is at 3 percent vacancy, an improvement over the one or two percent vacancy of recent years. But it’s still lower than the suggested 5 percent vacancy rate.

“There is just so little vacancy that it just keeps driving the price up, and as the production rate has gone down that price keeps going higher and higher,” Brown said.

The United Way hopes to have 18,000 new housing units built by 2030. Brown says they plan to continue working with the Anchorage Assembly and other local agencies to make those plans a reality.


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