Living in Alaska is like living nowhere else. Buying a home in Alaska can be pretty different, too.

In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about Alaska real estate. We’ll give you an overall lay of the land, walk you through the quirks of buying a home in Alaska, and answer the common questions we hear about the Alaska real estate market. We’ll also take you on a tour of the best places to live in Alaska, and then walk you through the whole home buying process from start to finish.

You’ll leave with a solid foundation in Alaska real estate, which will set you up for finding the house of your dreams in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

In This Article:

Stats & FAQ’s About the Alaska Real Estate Market

  • Key Indicators
  • Is Alaska Good for Real Estate?
  • How Much Is a Down Payment on a House in Alaska?
  • Do You Have to Pay Property Tax in Alaska?
  • What’s Different About Buying Real Estate in Alaska?

The Best Places to Live in Alaska

  • The Best Options in All 5 Regions
  • The Best Places for Retirees
  • The Cheapest Places to Live in Alaska

Starting the Search for Your Alaska Home

  • Understanding the Overall Process
  • Financing Your Alaska Home
  • Finding a Local Real Estate Agent
  • Seller’s Disclosures

Stats & FAQs About the Alaska Real Estate Market

First, let’s begin with an overall lay of the land where home buying in Alaska is concerned. We’ll walk through the average sales price in Alaska to set the groundwork, then we’ll answer a few common questions we hear about buying a home in Alaska.

Alaska Real Estate: Key Indicators

In 1992, the average sales price for a single-family home in Alaska was $133,952. In 2022, that number had risen to $422,584.

Average Sales Price for a Single-Family Home







Home prices in Alaska have seen modest increases over the years, more modest than other destinations, like California. Ultimately, though, this means that homeownership in Alaska remains in reach for many, making the state a more attractive destination. For some homeowners, these steady increases in sale prices—plus the opportunity to live in Alaska—is enough to keep them in the state.

Is Alaska Good for Real Estate?

As we noted above, Alaska home prices haven’t increased as significantly as other locations in the lower 48. However, Redfin has reported a five-year downtrend in available homes for sale in Alaska. Continued diminished supply may only drive prices higher.

At the end of the day, real estate is largely a long-term investment. Living in Alaska isn’t for everybody. If you need to leave quickly, it can be tough to predict the return on your investment. However, if you’re committed to the Last Frontier for the long run, you’ll have a much better chance of doing well on your real estate investment.

Where Are the Most Competitive Places in Alaska to Buy a Home?

Below, you’ll find a list of the ten most competitive locations in Alaska to buy a home, as reported by Redfin. To put this list together, they looked at 1) the number of offers a home receives, 2) waived contingencies, and 3) how long a home takes to sell:

Most Competitive Areas to Buy a Home in Alaska
1. Anchorage, AK
2. Tanaina, AK
3. Kenai, AK
4. Kalifornsky, AK
5. Lakes, AK
6. Meadow Lakes, AK
7. Big Lake, AK
8. Farm Loop, AK
9. Fishhook, AK
10. South Lakes, AK
When Is the Best Time to Buy a Home in Alaska?

According to data from, homes in Anchorage sit on the market for the longest in November and December. If you can stand to house hunt during the Alaska winter, you might find a seller who’s more amenable to making a deal.

In contrast, homes move pretty quickly between February and June. Take a look at the difference between December and February in the chart below:

Month Median Days on Market
January 32
February 8
March 6
April 6
May 11
June 14
July 23
August 28
September 33
October 31
November 48
December 64

If you’re selling your house, February–June will offer you the quickest path to settlement. As a buyer, consider aiming outside that window so you’re house hunting during a less competitive time.

How Much Is a Down Payment on a House in Alaska?

If you’re buying a home right around the single-family average sales price (~$422,584), a traditional 20% down payment would run you ~$84,000.

If you’re not able to swing that payment, you can shop around for other mortgage options. Note: Many of those options require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which will raise your monthly payment.

Alternatively, if you qualify for a VA or an FHA loan—or any of the other alternative loan options available in Alaska—you may be able to put down significantly less. We’ll cover financing options for Alaska homes in greater detail below.

Do You Have to Pay Property Tax in Alaska?

Many residents in Alaska don’t pay property taxes. Instead, smaller municipalities in Alaska charge a local sales tax, for a couple of reasons.

The boroughs and municipalities that do charge property tax include:

  • Aleutians West Census Area
  • Anchorage Municipality
  • Bristol Bay Borough
  • Dillingham Census Area
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Haines Borough
  • Hoonah-Angoon Census Area
  • Juneau City and Borough
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough
  • Kodiak Island Borough
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough
  • Nome Census Area
  • North Slope Borough
  • Northwest Arctic Borough
  • Petersburg Borough
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area
  • Sitka City and Borough
  • Skagway Municipality
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area
  • Valdez-Cordova Census Area
  • Wrangell City and Borough
  • Yakutat City and Borough
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area

Within these jurisdictions, exemptions to lower the assessed property value may be available for senior citizens, disabled veterans, owner-occupiers, and widows/widowers of servicemembers.

Of course, if you live outside of one of the areas listed above—for example, in the Lake and Peninsula Borough—you won’t have to pay property tax at all.

What’s Different About Buying Real Estate in Alaska?

As you might expect from a place as remote as the Land of the Midnight Sun, there are a few things that stand out, including:


Alaska communities inaccessible by road

Accessibility: 82% of Alaska communities are not accessible by road. If you live in one of these areas, you’ll need to travel home by boat or airplane. Before you commit to a home in one of these communities, ask yourself if this is a lifestyle you’re willing to live long-term. If not, choose a house on the Alaska highway system.

Utilities: If you’re used to public water and sewer, life on a well and a septic system may feel like an adjustment. While plenty of Alaska residents use both with little trouble, both require specific care and maintenance.

Make sure you educate yourself on the well and the wastewater system in the house you’re intending to buy. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Water website is a great place to start:


Homes in Alaska that are air conditioned

Climate Control: Nearly 90% of U.S. households have air conditioning. In Alaska, that number is just 7%. In other words, don’t be surprised if the houses you tour don’t have air conditioning. Instead, turn your focus to the other end of the equation: the heating system. Alaska winters can be harsh, so that’s where you’ll want to put your priority.

Now that you’ve got a lay of the land in terms of Alaska real estate, let’s zoom in and talk about where to look for your ideal home.

The Best Places to Live in Alaska

In Alaska, you’ll find a wide variety of options for buyers: undeveloped land, dry cabins (which don’t have a built-in water system), starter homes, single-family homes, and all the way up to expansive homes on significant acreage.

Finding the perfect home means locating both the property type and the location that’s right for you—and anyone else who’s relocating with you.

To help you find the best places to live in Alaska, check out the following articles:

The Best Places to Live in Each of Alaska’s Five Regions
Alaska is a huge state. We’ll take you on a tour of each of the state’s regions and show you the best places to live within each.

The Best Places to Retire in Alaska: Where to Move if You’re 65+
Retiring in Alaska? We’ve got eight spots perfect for seniors and retirees to enjoy their golden years.

Discover the Cheapest and Most Affordable Places to Live in Alaska
If you’re moving to Alaska on a budget, we’ll show you where to find an affordable Alaska lifestyle.

Starting the Search for Your Alaska Home

homes on a ridge overlooking ketchikan harbor

Finally, we’ll run you through some must-knows for a smooth and simple home buying experience in Alaska. With these tips, you’ll have a solid understanding of how the process works so you can find, finance, and close on the perfect Alaska home.

Buying a Home in Alaska: The Process from Start to Finish

First, let’s start with an overview of the process, so you know what to expect along the way.

The Home Buying Process in Alaska

1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

2. Select an Alaska real estate agent and share what you’re looking for in your Alaska home

3. View properties, both online and in person

4. Pick a home you love

5. Work closely with your agent to put in an offer

6. Negotiate with the seller and the seller’s agent until you reach an agreement

7. Go through the final details, including a home inspection, appraisal, title search, and a final walkthrough

8. Finalize your financing

9. Come to your closing, and pay all your closing costs and fees

10. The sale is officially recorded (often the next business day)

11. The sale becomes official, and you get your keys

All that’s left is to settle into your new Alaska home!

Now that you’ve got an idea of how the overall process works, let’s dig into your options for a mortgage in Alaska.

Financing Your Alaska Home

If you’ve got the finances for an all-cash purchase, you can skip this section.

Otherwise, we’d recommend starting the search for financing early—before you start looking at homes or engaging a real estate agent. Your mortgage will ultimately dictate your budget. By getting your financing in order, you’ll know exactly how much home you can afford.

Additionally, getting pre-qualified for a mortgage shows that you’re a serious buyer, which will only position you well during the process.

In Alaska, you’ll find options for conventional loans, plus a few other options buyers will want to be aware of:

FHA Loans

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans were created to help buyers who might not qualify for conventional loans. Because these loans are insured by the federal government, lenders are able to offer perks like lower down payments, lower closing costs, and easier ways to qualify. These loans also have specific requirements and rules, including lending limits.

To learn more, talk to an FHA lender.

VA Loans

Alaska has the highest population of veterans in the U.S. by percentage—10%, meaning that one in 10 Alaska residents is a veteran. Both veterans and active servicemembers with 90+ days of service can qualify for VA loans.

Because these loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, lenders can offer advantages like no down payment, lower interest rates, and no need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

For more information, visit the Veterans Affairs website.

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Options

The AHFC offers a few different programs to assist Alaska homebuyers. First-time homebuyers, owners of mobile homes or nonconforming homes, and others who don’t qualify for conventional financing may find options with the help of AHFC. (Loans are ultimately secured through an approved lender.)

Check out all of their loan programs on the AHFC website.

Next, let’s talk about a key person who’s going to guide you through much of the home buying experience.

Choosing a Local Real Estate Agent
real estate agent holding house keys

Your real estate agent has a huge impact on your sales process. While the DIY spirit is always alive and well in Alaska, this is one of those areas that we recommend leaving to a pro.

A good real estate agent can help with things like:

  • Narrowing your search quickly so you don’t waste time looking at the wrong properties
  • Negotiating skillfully with the seller and seller’s agent
  • Offering professional guidance, based on their experience in the Alaska real estate market
  • Connecting you with other professionals, like home inspectors, to assist with other aspects of your buying journey

Ideally, you’ll want to find someone with experience in the specific area in which you’re searching. That kind of hyper-local knowledge can pay off significantly.

You might also consider going with a REALTOR®. These professionals belong to a national association that requires continuing education and adherence to a specific code of ethics. Not all real estate agents choose to become REALTORS, but the designation can help an agent stand out in the crowd.

Alaska Seller’s Disclosures

Like many of the states in the lower 48, Alaska requires every seller to make a written disclosure. As you can see in this sample form from the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, each seller is asked to list property defects, repairs completed in the last five years, zoning code issues, and more.

As the buyer, you should also order your own, independent home inspection to either confirm the information in the seller’s disclosure or catch anything it missed.

If you don’t have the name of a trusted home inspector, your Alaska real estate agent can offer a recommendation.

Be Aware: Radon Risks in the Last Frontier
The Alaska Division of Public Health has identified radon as an under-recognized health risk in the state. Sellers are required to disclose known environmental hazards like radon. However, if no radon risk is indicated, it might be worth doing a test, just to make sure.

You can find out more about radon risks and testing on the Department of Natural Resources Geological & Geophysical Surveys website.

Making Your Home in Alaska

Alaska has so much to offer: pristine wilderness, breathtaking landscapes, fascinating Native culture and traditions, and interesting people with a dizzying array of experiences and stories to share. When you make your home in Alaska, you’ll enjoy all of this—and more. All that’s left is to get started—and take the first step toward finding the perfect home in Alaska.

Need help getting your belongings to your new Alaska home? We do moves to, from, and within Alaska, and we can help you get anywhere in the state. Just reach out to our team for a complimentary quote to get started.

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