A new report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows Alaska's rental prices aren't changing much overall.
The cost of rental housing here is essentially the same as last year. Average monthly rent across the state increased less than 1 percent — just $9 — since 2015, to $1,238 including utilities, according to the results of a survey the state conducts each March with Alaska Housing Finance Corp.
The residential survey includes apartments, single-family homes and mobile homes.
The results show some stability, said state economist Karinne Wiebold, even as people talk about Alaska dealing with a recession.
"It indicates that rents are moving at the same pace as inflation," said Wiebold, who prepared the report. "It's been pretty steady for the past six years," when adjusted for inflation.
"I was a little bit surprised that we haven't seen any reflection of the recent economic slowdown," she said. "But a lot of things haven't changed yet in our economy, we're still waiting for that."
Rents can fluctuate based on changes in population, wages, jobs, and the condition of the housing market, the report notes.
Some areas did see rents going up more quickly than others. Rents in the Kenai Peninsula Borough shot up 7 percent, and the Valdez-Cordova Census Area had 6 percent growth, the report found.
In Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Kodiak, rents were up less than 1 percent from 2015, and Fairbanks was the lone area where prices fell, though by just 1 percent.
Wiebold said she was also surprised by the fact the vacancy rate has gone down, from 6.2 percent in 2014 to 5.8 percent this year. Many factors play into that figure, including the market for home sales and population changes.
Fairbanks had the highest vacancy rate at 11.2 percent, but that's down from last year's rate of about 16 percent, the report found. Anchorage and Juneau have "historically low vacancy rates," at 3.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.
Rental affordability in Alaska is the same in most parts of the state in 2016 as it was in 2000, the report found, showing wages and rents "have been moving mostly in tandem."