Anchorage, AK Real Estate News

By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
In the past two weeks, interest rates began to inch up slightly.  This week, RealtyTimes.com reports that today's interest rate fell back.  The current interest rate is 4.75% for a 30-year mortgage and 4.5% for a 15-year fixed rate.  That report led to today's blog.  Depending on your current interest rate, it just may be time for you to consider a refinance.  If your loan's interest rate is around 6.5%, a refinance is definitely something you should check into. * A reduction from a 6.5% to the current 4.75% interest rate would result in a savings of over $200 a month. If that statement made you perk up your virtual ears, then I would like to remind you about the Making Home Affordable Refinance program sponsored as part of the recovery plan. * You do not have to be in a distressed situ...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
Thank you to the mystery donor who has made a donation of $7 million to our University of Alaska Anchorage campus.  The University of Alaska is one of more than 12 colleges to benefit the mystery donor's generous gifts.  In total, various colleges have received over $80 million dollars. The requirement for receiving the funds is quite simple: "don't ask and don't tell.  The donation stipulates that the University must not try to find the mystery donor and, for the few that know, they must never reveal the identity of the mystery person. Approximately $6 million will be set aside for scholarships for University students, particularly for minority races and women, as requested by the mystery donor.  The Seawolf Opportunities Scholarship fund will provide 50 students with full scholarships...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
Spring brings thoughts of renewing our homes and gardens.  Spring is also the time we celerate Earth Day.  I was thinking of how Earth Day relates to Anchorage homeowners beyond recycling.  I was also thinking about how green living is becoming increasingly important to the homeowners in terms of the resale value of their homes.  These thoughts reminded me that the Federal government is offering to help homeowners go green while improving their homes with a tax credit.  The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act is providing a tax credit of 30% ($1500 cap) for energy efficient home improvements.   Home Improvement Tax Credit Guidelines:     *      The home improvements must be in operating condition or in use starting January 1 of this year and no later than December 31, 2010.    *     ...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
In spite of the economic downturn, Anchorage is still growing.  The University Lake Springhill Suites Marriott Hotel is nearing completion, with a grand opening expected in August.  The Springhill Suites are located in Midtown.  The hotel will not target the normal tourist trade, but will instead look to serve those visiting the UAA and APU campuses, as well those in town for medical reasons.  The Springhill Suites features 159 rooms, many of which overlook the nearby lake or park and many have a view of the Chugach Mountains.  In addition to the view, the suites include a coffeemaker, a microwave and a refrigerator.  Hotel amenities include a free continental breakfast, a fitness room, a swimming pool and shuttle service to the airport, university and medical district. Anchorage has ad...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
Anchorage has one of the best economies in the nation.  The State of  Alaska announced this week that the Alaskan job rate was up both in terms of new jobs and in the jobless rate.  However, no matter how strong the economy may be in Anchorage, Alaska or the nation, if you find yourself on the downside of the economy, you need to take action. Last week, the Obama administration unveiled the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.  The plan is two fold, offering both refinance and loan modification options.  The purpose of the plan is to help homeowners prevent foreclosure.  You do not have to be behind in payments in order to qualify.  HUD's Hope For Homeowners program was also revised to give more options to homeowners. If you see yourself on the downside of the economy, please con...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
Just a brief update on the Anchorage economy.  Anchorage and Alaska are still in a better economic place than most of the lower 48, but no state will escape its repercussions altogether.     *      The Alaska legislature is currently considering raising the minimum wage from $7.15 per hour to $8.75.  There is also a bill under consideration that would keep Alaska's minimum wage at least a $1.00 more per hour than what is federally mandated.     *      The budget shortfall for the State of Alaska is much more than what was reported two months ago.  The estimate now stands at $1.65 billion.  Lower gas and oil prices are the culprits for the increase in the estimated deficit.  Governor Palin has put forward a proposal to tap into the state's savings account as well as implementing budget c...
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By Ryan Tollefsen, Anchorage Alaska Real Estate
(Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group)
The word foreclosure is one of the most popular words buzzing around the Real Estate industry in the current market. Whether we like it or not, foreclosures are all around us, especially in areas such as Southwest Florida, Nevada and California. These are all areas that got hit excruciatingly hard when the real estate bubble burst. Although there are many contributing factors and each has its own story on why, the fact remains; the market is overwhelmed with these properties and in turn, presents nice opportunity for investors. It is known that the foreclosure market is sometimes a lucrative venture. On the other side of the spectrum, it is also known for being very risky and many people have lost their shirts trying to nail good deals. The difference between those who have succeeded an...
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By Ryan Tollefsen, Anchorage Alaska Real Estate
(Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group)
Buying and selling a home changes throughout time. In this day and age, the internet has been proven a valuable resource for many people and companies. When it comes to Real Estate, this can also be true, however, sometimes not in the way many people would think. In order to understand how the internet can help, it is first important to understand what the current market is. As of now, we are in a market that is very slow with residential sales. These sales will, in most probabilities, increase in years to come. For now, the market is highly geared towards buyers, especially investors. With that in mind, let us focus on the buyer first. The buyer is out looking for a good deal. They know the market and know they have the upper hand. There are typically a few resources they will check be...
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By Ryan Tollefsen, Anchorage Alaska Real Estate
(Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group)
Find out how to get the most return for your time and money when remodeling your home.  These 8 upgrades will bring you the best return on your investment.  In today's market it is important to maximize the return on your investment when updating your home or getting it ready to sell.  But which upgrades will be most worthwhile and give you the best return?  Here is our list of the top 8 home upgrades that will reward you with the greatest return for your time and investment. 1.)    Painting - Most homes these days are built as a blank canvas.  When the home is new, the walls are white the trim is white, nothing really stands out.  In an older home, chances are the walls or exterior may look tired from time and wear.  You probably have your fair share of nicks, scuffs, fading from the s...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
You may be able to experience a vacation of a lifetime by taking advantage of discounted cruises, lodging and tours.  Alaska is beautiful and most visitors consider this vacation trip, the trip of a lifetime. It is the vacation that they always remember and talk about to others. There is good reason for this.  There is no other place on earth as captivating as Alaska . The city of Anchorage  offers so much to see and do. Anchorage makes a perfect "home-base" to experience the wonders of our state. Cruise lines, travel tours, lodges, and hotels are offering specials discounts and "stimulus" vacation packages to travelers this season.  So, be sure to check them out. Travel north this year. Come to Alaska and make Anchorage your first stop. I can promise you will not be disappointed. Pauli...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
On January 3rd, Alaska celebrated its 50th year as a state in the Union. Friday and Saturday saw many celebrations throughout the state in Anchorage , Fairbanks , Juneau , Kodiak, Nome , Unalaska and Valdez. Anchorage sponsored a celebration which included a fireworks display following a cauldron lighting and a full day of musical entertainment. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Governor Sarah Palin and outgoing Mayor Mark Begich all addressed the crowds that gathered to participate. The Anchorage Daily News has posted several interesting articles as a "Countdown to Statehood" feature. This week's article talks about the 50 years of change Alaska has experienced as a state and the many benefits Alaskans have received. The article discusses how different life might be if Alaska never became a...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
Snowzilla was quite an attraction in Anchorage  with people waiting in line to get a picture with the colossus snowman. Unfortunately, Snowzilla is no longer with us and Anchorage must say bye-bye to our unofficial attraction. In 2005, Mr. Billy Powers did what many people like to do when the snow falls, he built a snowman. The large snowman did what many snowmen do when it warms up after a snowfall, he began to melt. Mr. Powers rebuilt his snowman which grew and grew and grew! The project soon became a family project and then the neighborhood began to help, too. The result was an enormous 16' snowman that somehow got dubbed "Snowzilla". The giant snowman's traditional corn cob pipe was made from manila evelopes. Glass bottles made the buttons and a collapsible hamper made the perfect t...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
The Anchorage Fire and Police departments will be competing once again in their annual hockey competition game, Guns 'n Hoses. The Guns 'n Hoses event is held each year as a charity event for local charities. This year proceeds will be donated to the American Diabetes Association. Last year's event raised about $31,000. The "Guns" hockey team, of course, represents the Anchorage Police Department while the Hoses hockey team represents the Anchorage Fire Department. The game will be played at the Sullivan Arena on Sunday, December 13.  It should be an exciting game, as the Guns try to even up the "score" and the Hoses fight to maintain the their lead in the most games won. The Hoses have won 6 of the 8 games played over the past years. Those attending the game will also be entertained wi...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
The Hillside area of Anchorage is growing rapidly; faster than any other Anchorage  community and plans are underway to plan its future.  Currently there are approximately 8,500 homes in the Hillside area. The projected growth (10,000 - 15,000) calls for another 5,000 homes to be added to the area.  The Hillside area has much of the undeveloped space in the Anchorage Bowl. Much of this space is steep and hard to develop. Construction higher up the hillside can cause major problems for the homeowners located down the hill. A district plan is entering its final stages after being developed by Hillside residents, city planners and consultants. The plan will guide development, population growth, open space, trails, roads, water and sewer service. The new plan is in drafting stages, it will ...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
It is that time of year again, Thanksgiving. A time to remember all the many blessings that we have enjoyed in our lives. With the bleak economic news constantly in the headlines, some may be thinking that there is not much to be thankful for this year. But blessings do abound in our lives and all around us. Just take a moment to sit quietly and begin to take stock and you will find you are wealthier and more blessed than you think. Share your wealth and your blessings this year by sharing your Thanksgiving meal with a neighbor, a senior citizen, a co-worker or someone who is ill. You will be much richer for it.  If you do not know anyone to invite, then you can share with those who are in need by donating to your local church food drive or to the many of the organizations  sponsoring f...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) has announced the recent launch of it's new website, Prospector.com.Businesses big and small, local and global are using the Internet to research business demographics, opportunities and potential locations. AEDC believes that Prospector.com will become one of the most powerful business recruitment tools ever developed in the State of Alaska . AEDC has developed a website for businesses around the globe to access available commercial properties and specific business data for the Anchorage area. This comprehensive online tool allows the business community to access data regarding the dynamic business atmosphere in south-central Alaska .Anchorage Prospector.com offers a "one-stop-shop" experience for businesses looking to move to or ex...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
It is Veteran's Day, a day to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and to honor all those who have served and are currently serving this nation in the Armed Forces. Fly your flag, tie a yellow ribbon or bolt a license plate. I know you have seen the Support Our Troops license place all over Anchorage and points beyond. I just wanted to remind you that it is not too late to get your own and you do not have to wait until your license renewal to purchase these special plates. You can order your plate at the Alaska  DMV website or you can go directly to your nearest DMV location. The Support Our Troops specialty license plate was created as a way to thank all of our service men and to give them a very public display of our support. If you have not joined the ranks of those w...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
The City of Lights is a nickname associated with Anchorage , Alaska during the winter months. Winter days are short and the nights are long in Anchorage . Sunrise at this time of year is around 8:45 am and sunset is around 4:40 pm, equaling about 7.5 hours of daylight. With more dark hours than daylight hours, the Municipality of Anchorage is often bathed in the glow of lights. Each year the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce sponsors the "City of Lights " program in which it encourages business owners and residents to turn on their lights. The City of Lights event is sponsored each year to promote a brighter and safer city. Everyone is encouraged to decorate the exterior of their homes and businesses with small miniature lights. There is some friendly competition between neighborhoods; each...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
The economy is not so scary here in Anchorage, Alaska . This Halloween season there are more than scary costumes to put our nerves on edge.  For all of us, the national and global economy reports have become scary in themselves. I am happy to report that here in Anchorage and the State of Alaska things seem to be not so scary after all. A recent news release by our Mayor Begich's office states that Anchorage has been named one of the Top cities in the nation to weather the current economic storm. As cited by the article, both Business Week and the Wall Street Journal have reported on the strength of Anchorage 's economy. Reasons cited were energy demands, tourism, and military presence. The Mayor's office added Anchorage 's fiscal responsility to the list. While other cities have report...
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By Pauline Hofseth, Daring to Care
(Prudential Jack White/Vista Real Estate)
Many movies and songs have used the theme of "wish upon a star" to move audiences to tears or laughter. In the next few days, you may have the opportunity to "wish upon a star" several times. Anchorage has so much in natural beauty and wonders to delight the eye that it is no wonder our skies provide one of the most dazzling celestial light shows to be seen each year. Look to the late night skies (or early morning) to provide a spectacular view of the Orionid Shower . Earth is passing through the center of the Orionid meteor belt providing many "stars" to wish upon. Technically, these stars are meteors, but they are falling stars to us not of the scientific mind. There are only one or two other meteor showers which rival this week's heavenly display. The meteor shower gets its name from...
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