Alaska is the sixth-most expensive state in the U.S. according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC). If you’re considering a move to the Last Frontier—and looking for ways to do it on a budget—you’ve come to the right place.

Living an affordable lifestyle in Alaska means considering a number of factors—utilities, groceries, housing, and more. We’ll take a look at some of these factors and offer several overall recommendations for living economically in Alaska.

But first, let’s take a look at the factors driving the cost of living in Alaska.

Understanding the Cost of Living in Alaska

Data from MERIC offers us a handy index to understand exactly what makes life in Alaska so expensive. On their scale, 100 represents the average cost in each of the below categories, offering insight into where Alaska residents get hit hardest compared to the rest of the U.S.

The Cost of Living in Alaska: MERIC Index

Alaska Ranking
Utilities 146.2
Groceries 134.1
Housing 121.3
Transportation 118.0
Overall 126.6

(100 = U.S. Average)
(Source: MERIC)

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these categories.


Perhaps it’s no real surprise that utilities are a huge part of the high cost of living in Alaska. After all, the winters in Alaska are legendary. Staying warm is about both comfort and survival.

If you’re using electricity to keep warm, it won’t be cheap. On average, Alaska residents pay the second-highest rates in the nation, with an average of 20.22 cents/kWh. Only Hawaii is more expensive.

Average Electricity Retail Prices
(in cents/kWh)

#1 Hawaii #2: Alaska #3: Connecticut
28.72 20.22 18.66

It’s also worth noting that homes in Alaska often have a few sources for heat in the winter: electricity, fuel oil, natural gas (where available), and wood. You’ll want to factor that all in—as well as the winter temperatures—to get a good sense of cost.

Additionally, although these electricity costs represent averages, your final cost will depend on where you live. Rural Alaska residents pay significantly more for their electricity through the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. Residents in almost sixty communities in Alaska pay rates like 56.11 cents/kWh, 86.21 cents/kWh, and even $1.09 per kWh for the first 750 kWh they use. In fact, rural Alaska residents pay among the highest electricity rates in the nation.

In contrast, Chugash Electric customers in the North District service area of Anchorage—just north of the airport—pay only 17.25 cents/kWh for their power.

Sample Alaska Electricity Prices
(in cents/kWh)

Ambler, AK

North District, Anchorage, AK

Alaska Village Electric Collective

Chugash Electric Association

(Sources: 1, 2)

That’s a big contrast, one that could significantly change your budget. Before you choose an “affordable” place to settle, make sure to account for the utility costs in that area.


For the most part, buying groceries in Alaska is about simple supply chain economics. 75% of Alaska’s non-petroleum marine cargo comes through Anchorage (exclusive of southeast Alaska which is served by barges from Puget Sound). As a result, buying groceries in Anchorage will often be cheaper, since those goods simply have to travel less.

Additionally, as is true in the rest of the country, buying in bulk at places like Costco—which has locations in Anchorage and Juneau—can be a great way to save on groceries. (R.I.P. Sam’s Club, which closed its locations in Alaska in 2018.)

Of course, you’ll need to manage your bulk purchases carefully, especially if you’ve got a small household. Food waste can cancel out the benefits of buying in bulk.

You can also take advantage of the Walmart Supercenters in Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks, Kenai, and Eagle River to help with your grocery bills. As of the writing of this article, a gallon of Great Value brand whole milk was $4.32 at all of the above Supercenters.

Here’s what this all adds up to: As you’ll see in a moment, locations like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau don’t have the lowest housing prices. However, they do have easier access to goods and supplies like groceries. This can help balance out the higher cost of a home.

The opposite can also be true: You may find an inexpensive piece of land in remote Alaska, but when you add up the cost of keeping yourself supplied, you might be surprised how much it impacts your budget.

If you’re determined to keep your grocery costs low, there’s always the possibility of embracing that Alaska do-it-yourself spirit and sourcing your own food.

In the Matanuska-Susitna Valley—which includes towns like Palmer, Wasilla, Big Lake, Houston, Willow, Sutton, and Talkeetna—farmers take advantage of the long summer hours to grow prize-winning fruits and vegetables. Cultivate a garden, harvest and preserve the results, and you’ve got a delicious source of nutrition that can be much cheaper than your local grocery store.

Hunting and fishing are also options in many parts of Alaska. Alaska residents hunt moose, muskox, caribou, and bear during open season. You’ll also find fishing opportunities in many places in Alaska. Locate the right fishing spot, and you’ll be enjoying some of the freshest Alaska salmon you’ve ever tasted.

Read more

What's It Really Like to Live Off the Land?

It takes a lot of work and persistence to grow, hunt, and gather enough food to keep you and your family fed. Want to see what it’s like?

Check out our favorite YouTube channels to get a better understanding of Alaska living—before you make the move.

Read more

Now that we’ve covered groceries and utilities, let’s look at the cost of housing.

The Top 30 Places in Alaska with the Lowest Median Home Price

Housing will significantly affect the affordability of the spot you choose in Alaska. Let’s take a look at the Alaska zip codes with the most affordable home prices.

Before we dive in, a note: Median home value doesn’t tell the whole story in Alaska. Alaska is a large state with a lot of different landscapes and lifestyles. The state also has a significant population of Native Alaskans who live a traditional lifestyle to maintain and preserve their cultural identity.

Take, for example, the village of Tununak, which has a median home value of $12,800. The population in the 2000 census revealed the village’s ethnic makeup as 94.77% Central Yup’ik, 3.08% White, and 2.15% from two or more races. While the median home value may look attractive for your budget, living in a traditional Yup’ik village may not be the right fit for all involved.

That said, median home value can be a useful statistic for starting your research. To that end, we’ve included two lists below:

  1. The Alaska zip codes with the lowest median home value and a population of 1,000+
  2. The Alaska zip codes with the lowest median home value and a population of 2,000+

We also included the median household income to offer you an added dimension of insight into these locations:

Lowest Median Home Value
Population of 1,000+

City Name Zip Median
Home Value

Median Household Income

1. Mountain Village, AK 99632 $23,600 $31,339
2. Kotlik, AK 99620 $70,700 $47,844
3. King Cove, AK 99612 $108,300 $71,875
4. Alakanuk, AK 99554 $111,400 $36,071
5. Emmonak, AK 99581 $111,400 $43,533
6. Metlakatla, AK 99926 $159,600 $58,000
7. Salcha, AK 99714 $164,100 $63,786
8. Tok, AK 99780 $165,900 $52,250
9. Valdez, AK 99686 $169,100 $93,237
10. Sand Point, AK 99661 $181,900 $85,833
11. Houston, AK 99694 $182,100 $53,942
12. Sutton-Alpine, AK 99674 $189,500 $47,625
13. Anchor Point, AK 99556 $190,800 $54,152
14. Willow, AK 99688 $193,300 $47,500
15. Talkeetna, AK 99676 $196,700 $68,450

Lowest Median Home Value
Population 2,000+

Name Zip Median Home Value Median Household Income
1. Valdez, AK 99686 $169,100 $93,237
2. Anchor Point, AK 99556 $190,800 $54,152
3. Willow, AK 99688 $193,300 $47,500
4. Barrow, AK 99723 $197,200 $87,870
5. Fairbanks, AK* 99701 $198,700 $64,153
6. Deltana, AK 99737 $207,700 $73,456
7. Cohoe, AK 99610 $213,400 $73,125
8. Wrangell, AK 99929 $221,800 $58,542
9. Big Lake, AK 99652 $222,100 $53,168
10. Petersburg, AK 99833 $228,400 $68,667
11. Badger, AK 99705 $231,600 $85,739
12. Kenai, AK 99611 $236,200 $64,157
13. Kotzebue, AK 99752 $239,700 $87,000
14. Anchorage, AK ** 99503 $241,500 $63,338
15. Sterling, AK 99672 $242,300 $72,372


* Fairbanks covers three zip codes. While median home values are only available for the 99701 zip code, the average median household income across the Fairbanks zip codes is $60,473.

** Anchorage covers 18 zip codes. On average, across those zip codes, the average median home value is $344,400 and the average median household income is $78,121.


The lists above will help you start to get a lay of the land, as well as offer you some ideas to start your search for a cheap(er) home in Alaska.

We’ve also got a few ideas about affordable places to live in Alaska that we want to share. Some of them are on the lists above. Some aren’t—but we’ve got our reasons for mentioning them! Let’s dive in…

6 Affordable Places to Consider in Alaska (Plus, One Bonus Idea!)


With a cost of living that Sperling’s Best Places estimates at 16% higher than the U.S. average, Anchorage may not feel that “affordable” to you. However, the home prices in Anchorage can be as low as ~$240,000-ish in certain parts of the city. Additionally, access to the big box stores we mentioned above and the variety of shopping options mean you can do some bargain-hunting for supplies, unlike in more rural parts of Alaska.

Add in the fact that Anchorage is easily accessible by plane, boat, and car, and the City of Lights and Flowers is worth a look for future Alaska residents on a budget.


Like Anchorage, Juneau has a higher median home value than several other spots in Alaska—$456,700. However, the cost of living is only 14.2% higher than the U.S. average—2.3% lower than the state average of 16.5%. Additionally, the city has a relatively high average household income—$84,750. If you’re earning at that level, Juneau—with its history and its vibrant arts scene—may feel both affordable and worth it.


At $236,200, Kenai’s median home price is one of the more affordable in Alaska. You’ll also find a low median rent in Kenai, according to the latest Craigslist average—$965. All in total, the cost of living in Kenai is almost on par with the U.S. average. Consider the gorgeous scenery on the Kenai Peninsula, and you’ll have even more reason to explore living in Kenai.


Like Kenai, Valdez offers its residents an attractive median home price, plus a close-knit community (population: ~3,800) where most people know each other. If living off the Alaska road system isn’t an option for you, here’s some good news: You’ll find Valdez at the end of AK-4, also known as Richardson Highway. While Anchorage is more than a five-hour drive from Valdez, it’s still only a road trip away. (Just in case you need to do a massive supply run!)


You’ll find Wasilla just over 40 miles from downtown Anchorage, making its overall cost of living comparable to living in the city—i.e., somewhat higher than some areas, but with more opportunities to offset it with some smart shopping.

Wasilla sits in the Knik-Fairview zip code (99654) where the median house value is $336,500, a little cheaper than the median in Anchorage overall ($344,400). Nearby Houston, Meadow Lakes, and Willow offer even lower median housing costs. The whole area is definitely worth a look if you’re on a budget.

Delta Junction

In the 99737 zip code—where you’ll find Delta Junction, Big Delta, Deltana, Donnelly, Dot Lake, and Dry Creek—you’ll also find an economical median home value: $207,700.

Fairbanks is 90-120 miles away, so it’s close enough for a day trip to stock your pantry and keep your grocery costs down. However, Fairbanks is also far enough that you’ll enjoy plenty of peace and quiet in the area, as well as a number of locally owned businesses, including a pizza place in Delta Junction that brews its own craft beer.

What About Bush Moves?

If you’ve got dreams of building your own off-the-grid house, growing your own garden, and hunting for your food, you might be ready for a bush move. Moving to a remote location can be an affordable way to live (once you cover the setup costs!), but there are a few things to consider before going all-in on a remote Alaska location. We’ll show you what you need to know in our article all about bush moves in Alaska.

The Economics of Living in Alaska

Alaska’s isolated location has its perks and its drawbacks. On one hand, much of Alaska remains an unspoiled wilderness, just waiting for you to explore. On the other hand, Alaska is simply an expensive place to live where just about everything has to be shipped in—groceries, supplies, raw materials, etc.

Plenty of people have made it work—more than 730,000 at last count. Once you find yourself an affordable place to live—and you’ve developed your own tips and tricks for staying within your budget—you’ll see for yourself why so many people love living in the Last Frontier.

Need some help moving to your new home in Alaska? We’ve done moves all over the state, including bush moves to Alaska’s most remote regions. Just reach out to our team to get started with a complimentary quote for a safe, easy, and affordable move.

Tell us about your move!

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.