Housing Construction in Alaska: keeping up with population growth?

Author:Chepurko, Juliia

All across Alaska, many communities are faced with severely overcrowded housing markets, making home construction a key recurring issue impacting the state economy.

Based on the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Housing Assessment report, there are significant needs: more than fifteen thousand homes are overcrowded or severely overcrowded, more than seventy-five thousand homes are cost-burdened, and nearly twenty thousand homes use large amounts of energy. Ideally, these homes need to be replaced, but in practice housing construction cannot meet immediate needs. In addition to the current housing shortage, Alaska's population is growing.

Looking at the population by economic region, the Anchorage and Mat-Su Region contains about 54 percent of residents and is by far the most densely populated region in Alaska. About 68 percent of all housing built in 2014 was constructed in this region (based on Alaska Housing Indicators report prepared by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation). On average, this region has the highest share of cost-burdened or non-affordable houses, leading about 34.5 percent of households to spend more than 30 percent of total household income paying for a place to live.

The Southeast economic region has the second highest number of houses built in 2014 (218 houses or 16 percent) and has the fourth largest population in Alaska. About 27.6 percent of housing does not fit the affordability criteria, and 4 percent is overcrowded. Looking at the last seven years of data available, Southeast Alaska housing construction has a strong correlation with population growth. In other words, the number of houses built keeps pace with the number of people living in...

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