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Business/Economy

Here’s how paychecks compare to rent around Alaska

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: August 4
  • Published August 4

Paying the rent each month in Juneau has become slightly easier since 2000, but in Fairbanks, it's gotten tougher to manage.

A new report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows how average monthly incomes compare to average rents around the state.

Rent has become less affordable since 2000 in most of the 10 housing markets that were included in an annual rental survey conducted in March by the state labor department and the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., the report said.

The survey includes data on about 16,500 units around the state, and takes into account the combined prices of rent and utilities for apartments as well as single-family homes.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough saw the largest drop in affordability between 2000 and 2017. The percentage of average income used for average rent there went from about 25 percent to nearly 29 percent.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, people in the City and Borough of Juneau now spend 30 percent of their income on rent on average, compared to paying about 36 percent in 2000, the report found. That's because income grew 9 percent there between 2000 and 2017, and rent was 2 percent lower this year when adjusted for inflation, according to the labor department.

Households are considered to be burdened by the cost of rent if they spend more than 30 percent of total income on rent and utilities, the department said.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is the one place other than Juneau where the portion of income paid toward rent each month went down, but only modestly so. Rent in the Wrangell and Petersburg area stayed essentially the same. The Kenai Peninsula Borough had the most affordable rent, and the least affordable was in the Kodiak Island Borough.

While rent is eating up a larger amount of Alaskans' paychecks, vacancies are also at a 10-year high of 7.3 percent across the state amid the recession here. That means a more renter-friendly market. Throughout all of these areas combined, people spent nearly 28 percent of their monthly income on rent in 2017 on average, compared to 26 percent in 2000.

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