Affordable housing in Anchorage is 'like the game of musical chairs,' says Cook Inlet Housing Authority
Finding affordable housing can be an issue across most of Alaska and Anchorage is no exception.
The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) ranks Anchorage in the top 20 most expensive housing markets in the nation. In fact, housing in Alaska’s largest city recently ranked more than 30 percent more expensive than the average American city.
Alaska Common Ground, a nonprofit that focuses on Alaska public policy issues, is hosting a three-part series where various organizations are speaking about the main housing problems and creating solutions.
The first meeting on Monday focused on the lack of affordable housing in Anchorage.
According to the Cook Inlet Housing Authority, an Alaskan has to make nearly $20 an hour in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment. In addition, it reports 32,000 households in Anchorage are considered cost-burdened, which means they spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent.
The issue could get worse. The Anchorage 2040 Land Use Plan predicts that Anchorage will grow by 45,000 people, 21,000 households and 44,000 jobs over the next 20 years.
President and CEO of Cook Inlet Housing Authority Carol Gore says this is the right time to be having this conversation.
"Our costs are increasing because of limited land supplies, skilled-labor shortages, impact of recent tariffs and increasing interest rates," Gore said at Monday’s meeting. "It's important to note the Anchorage’s senior population is expected to grow from 7.5 percent to over 16 percent in 20 years. It’s a bit like the game of musical chairs. We don't have enough places to live, so we compete for what is available. That drives the cost up."
A recent AEDC housing survey found there are certain types of homes and areas of town where people prefer to live.
Sixty-four percent of people want to see more “small, single-home cottages,” 41 percent want to see more multi-use apartment buildings and 83 percent want single-family, one-level homes.
The survey shows that the top three neighborhoods that Anchorage residents prefer are downtown’s South Addition, Turnagain/Lake Hood and the Lower Hillside.
Anchorage's housing inventory impacts employment too.
Forty-seven percent of employers in the AEDC survey say that the housing market impacts their ability to attract and retain employees.
Community leaders hope these lectures inform the public while helping Anchorage take a step in the right direction.
The next event will be on March 18 at the Anchorage Museum and focus on the housing supply and the challenges facing Anchorage.
The final lecture will on April 1 and focus on opportunities and solutions.
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