Price, space push new homes to Mat-Su
If you’re building a home in Alaska, there's a good chance it’s in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports almost half of new homes that went up in 2016 were in the Mat-Su Valley.
That growth is keeping construction companies busy.
Rob Yundt, owner of Robert Yundt Homes since 2004 and president of the Mat-Su Homebuilders Association, is building a four-plex off Knik-Goose Bay Road in Wasilla. He said price is one of the big reasons why people choose to live in the Valley.
“This four-plex went for [$700,000]," Yundt said. "In Anchorage it’s $1.1 million, if you can find that land.”
Anchorage has limited opportunities for construction because it’s bordered by the Chugach Mountains, Cook Inlet and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The Mat-Su, on the other hand, is the size of West Virginia with wide open spaces to build.
“In Anchorage I’m just finishing 32 units right now and we have to put that on 2.3 acres; it wasn’t easy," Yundt said. "Out here that would have been on five to eight acres.”
State economists tracked population growth around Alaska from 2010 to 2016, and found the Mat-Su Borough was the only area that saw a significant increase. The Mat-Su grew by 15 percent, while the rest of the state saw a 4 percent increase and Anchorage just 2 percent.
Don Dyer, the president of the Mat-Su Economic Development Corp., estimates that rate could double in the next two decades.
"There are actually 2.3 families every day move to the Mat-Su,” Dyer said.
He echoed Yundt, saying price is a driving factor for most people.
“The cost of the homes is almost 30 percent less, but you get twice as big of a house,” Dyer said.
Yundt, who was born and raised in the Mat-Su, understands why people continue to be a part of the community.
"This is the place you can come, raise your family and stay forever,” he said.
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