As we look ahead to 2013 and consider what may happen with local residential real estate, let's first look back at the results of 2012. Keep in mind that your individual situation may well be different from the overall market. And because the Anchorage market isn't huge, small swings in numbers can look exaggerated as percentages.
Here are a few statistics from the Alaska Multiple Listing Service that help describe 2012.
Overall, by month, 2012 had fewer homes for sale than 2011. In fact, 11 out of 12 months had fewer homes for sale than any year back to 2007.
Even with fewer homes for sale, the total number of sales in 2012 was actually 285 more than 2011. In 9 out of 12 "monitored price ranges," there were increases.
The top three price ranges with more homes sold in 2012 were $400,000 to $499,999, with 106 more; $350,000 to $399,999, with 69 more; and $500,000 to $749,999, with 50 more.
The bottom two price ranges had fewer sales in 2012 than in 2011: $200,000 to $224,900, with 41 fewer, and $225,000 to $249,999, with 32 fewer.
When comparing sales of new homes to existing homes, new construction was just more than 7 percent (193 homes) of the 2012 market, compared to slightly over 6 percent (145 homes) in 2011.
In 2012, in both overall average sale price ($338,449) and median sale price ($309,900), values increased more than 4 percent over 2011.
The average sale price (ASP) for an existing home in 2012 was $332,087, compared to $317,154 in 2011.
The new construction ASP jumped from $403,241 in 2011 to $419,674 in 2012.
Median sale prices (MSP) showed the same trend: 2012 existing homes were $305,000, compared to $290,000 in 2011.
New construction MSP jumped from $371,187 in 2011 to $391,205 in 2012.
The increase in the number of sales can also be broken down by location. Based on the MLS area map, only Area 50 (Post Road-Glenn Highway) and Area 45 (Boniface Parkway to Muldoon Road) had fewer sales in 2012 than in 2011. Only Area 50 and Area 100 (Chugiak/Peters Creek) had decreases in the ASP.
Condominium statistics are usually the first to reflect a dramatic market change, and the last to recover from a drop. As would be expected, statistics were mixed for condos. Condo price ranges are not the same as those for homes, so a direct comparison is difficult.
There were 86 more condo sales in 2012 (933) than in 2011 (847), with the greatest level of activity in the $225,000 to $249,000 price range. However, three of the monitored price ranges did not have increased sales in 2012.
In 2012, the overall condo ASP ($195,434) was down almost 1.75 percent compared to 2011. The overall condo MSP ($191,000) was up more than 1.3 percent over 2011.
When broken down between existing construction and new construction, the change in the value of condos was not as dramatic as with homes, but was still substantial.
The ASP for the 835 existing condos sold in 2012 was $187,403, compared to $186,815 for the 736 condos sold in 2011.
For the 98 new construction condos sold in 2012, the ASP fell to $263,855, compared to $279,974 for the 111 condos sold in 2011.
The MSP for existing condos sold in 2012 was $183,000, compared to $180,000 in 2011.
The new construction condo MSP declined to $245,531 in 2012, from $252,500 in 2011.
If we had to use one word to describe Anchorage's 2012 real estate market, it would be "stable." Things were worse nationally, but we expect the turbulence caused by the financial crisis to work itself through the economy, which should lead to continuing improvement in markets around the country.
We'll offer our forecast for 2013 in a future column.
Barbara and Clair Ramsey are local associate brokers specializing in residential real estate. Their column appears every month in the Daily News. Their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara and Clair Ramsey