General Relocation Guide Living in Alaska: Real Estate, Amenities, Lifestyle and More
A move to Alaska is one of the most exciting decisions you will ever make for yourself and your family. Whether it is Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks or North Pole the real estate opportunities, lifestyle options and endless outdoor activity is ready and waiting. The Chucach and Talkeetna Mountain ranges, Denali National Park and the Eagle River are only a few of the natural attractions you can have steps from your front door.
This is the fastest growing area in Alaska yet prices are lower than homes and land closer to Anchorage. This area is a good investment if you want to enjoy Alaska’s unique landscape and lifestyle over a period of several years.
A 1,250 square foot three-bedroom, two-bath home on almost an acre of land in Palmer will cost approximately $215,000. A four-bedroom home with 1,560 square feet is listed at $245,000. A three-bedroom home in Wasilla can range from $200,000 to $320,000. These prices are estimates based on current listings but they offer you a price range to consider.
Homes are on large lots and many have magnificent mountain and lake views. The styles vary from one-story ranch and log homes to two-story contemporary architecture. Acreage is available for people who want to build their own home. Prices for an acre range from $34,000 to $99,000 depending on the location.
Lifestyle and Recreation
This is an area of rugged beauty. People in the Mat-Su Valley love to participate in winter sports that include snowmobiles, skiing and sledding. This is the place if you enjoy the outdoors all year. Hunting in season, hiking, mountain climbing and fishing the many lakes and rivers are normal activities.
Rain and snow are common in the winter and the days are short. Temperatures may dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer days bring 17 to 19 hours of daylight and temperatures over 70 degree F. The Mat-Su Valley is Alaska’s agricultural center with the intense summer growing season. There is always competition for the largest cabbage or pumpkin at fall harvest.
Many residents own all-wheel drive and all terrain vehicles including trucks and SUV’s. They may also have recreational vehicles and boats for fishing and other water sports along with their snowmobiles. Residents may also keep their airplanes at the municipal airport in Palmer or the private airport in Wasilla.
Major highways are open all year but watch out for the occasional moose and other wild animals crossing the the streets anytime. These communities offer good shopping and sophisticated dining but this is still rural Alaska.
The headquarters for the annual Iditarod, the last great race, is located in Wasilla. The Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race headquarters is also a museum detailing the history of this race from the Anchorage area to Nome.
The Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla offers indoor sports facilities year-round. This includes an ice rink for skating and hockey, running track and baseball batting and pitching cages.
MASCOT, the Mat-Su Community Transit System, connects Palmer with Wasilla on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. The system has many bus stops in both communities including the Wasilla Senior Center and Meadow Lakes Mall.
The Valley Mover connects Wasilla, Meadow Lakes and Houston with Anchorage offering 14 round-trips a day Monday through Friday. This is the best way for Wasilla and Palmer residents to commute to Anchorage. The MASCOT buses stop at the Valley Mover stops.
Soaring Eagle Transit provides service between the Copper River area and Palmer with service continuing to Anchorage and Valdez.
The historic train depot in Wasilla is a stop on the Alaska Railroad between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
The Mat-Su Borough School District for example maintains 45 school sites in Wasilla, Palmer and other towns in the area. In the past few years families have flocked to this area for more space and room to grow. As a result the school districts have developed wonderfully with fantastic educational opportunities for your children. The Anchorage School District includes 19 schools with many having high ratings across the board.
And don’t think for a second that you will have to go far for highly rated higher education options. The University of Alaska has campuses in both Anchorage and Fairbanks along with private colleges such as Alaska Pacific University and other junior colleges around Anchorage. Raising children and sending them to both public primary and secondary schools is far from an issue here in Alaska with so many options.
Sustainability in Employment, Home Values and Lifestyle
Alaska is bustling with industry and growth in business, energy, military and educational employment. The area is growing exponentially and property values are forecasted to grow tremendously in the next decade. Home prices may be higher on average than several other areas in the U.S., but salaries are high and taxes are relatively low with annual compensation still provided for the move to Alaska. Once you arrive the lifestyle will make you want to settle down for the long haul. For more specific information on industry in Alaska, check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ page here. If you would like to learn more about moving to Alaska, what area is best for you and how to find your perfect home, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
- Downtown Anchorage
- Midtown Anchorage
- West Anchorage
- East Anchorage
- South Anchorage
- Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson (JBER)
- Eagle River
- Mat-Su Valley
- Girdwood / Turnagain Arm
- Alaskan Lifestyle Properties
- Commercial Properties
- New Construction
- Military Relocation
- Relocation Guide