What Can You Buy for $700,000?

Anchorage has had sixteen homes sell so far this year with an original list price between $700,000 and $850,000. There are also six pending sales and currently nine homes for sale in this price range. One home sold downtown built in 1939 and a bluff home sold that was built in 1975. However, half of the pending and sold homes have been built since 2000. The more recently built homes vary in price per square foot between $185 and $337, depending on location and style with ranches being the most expensive and homes with basements the least expensive per square foot. Although we frequently lament the high cost of our housing, the price per square foot and age of these homes seem modest when compared to some lower ’48 markets.


In San Antonio, Texas, a home built in 1902 with 3,637 square feet has an asking price of $695,000. It was recently remodeled in 2015 and is located in an eclectic historic district I suspect similar to our original township. Price per square foot is $191. In the center of Houston on a cul-de-sac, a newer home built in 1981 has an asking price of $689,000 and is 1,916 square feet. That $360 price per square foot is higher in this price range than any new construction reported in Anchorage through MLS. The location of the cul-de-sac is inside the Inter-state 610 loop around the center of Houston which is famous for its lack of zoning. Although, it’s been several years since I’ve been to Houston, I’m assuming this area is similar to the subdivisions in southeast Anchorage where most lots are serviced by public utilities and are less than a quarter of an acre. The lot for this home is 0.11 acres.


In Omaha, Nebraska, which is home to Warren Buffett and his conglomerate of Berkshire Hathaway companies, a 1975 home with three bedrooms and three baths has an asking price of $715,000 and sits on a quarter acre lot. With 3,890 square feet, it calculates to $184 a foot. In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about forty miles south of Philadelphia, you can buy a 1,296 square foot stone cottage built around 1705 for $699,000! I think I’ll pass on that one as I’m not much of an historic preservation buff.


What’s interesting about all these homes, however, is that they all have outdoor spaces which add to the value of the property. Some have a summer cottage perhaps similar to our accessory dwelling units. Others have multiple seating areas, terraces, landscaped lighting, sculpture gardens, extra parking and detached garages. Anchorage homeowners are also wanting these exterior amenities. Almost every new home buyer wants a deck larger than the customary 4 x 8 builder provided deck. And almost all want the maintenance free Trex, even though its cost per square foot is about $12 to $20 more per square foot. The MOA also has a rule that requires any deck higher than 30 feet off the ground must have a rail and steps. More and more buyers are also looking for enlarged or a supplemental detached garage. And despite moose and Alaska weather, more and more home buyers are spending thousands on landscaping, even if for a brief summer aesthetic. So maybe Anchorage homeowners aren’t so different than the rest of the country when it comes to wants and desires. And maybe our homes aren’t as old and expensive as we’ve been lead to believe.

Author: Connie Yoshimura

Connie Yoshimura, owner/broker of Dwell Realty, has over 30 years of residential real estate experience with an exemplary track record of excellent customer service and extensive community knowledge in Anchorage and Eagle River. Connie has built a solid reputation in the real estate community and she was the number one individual realtor according to MLS in 2015. Connie served as the Chair of Planning and Zoning Commission for the Municipality of Anchorage and she has ample experience on developing communities from the ground up, including such popular neighborhoods in Southport and southeast Anchorage.

Her avocation is playwriting and she has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Her plays have received productions and/or staged readings in Los Angeles, New York City, Oklahoma City and her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska where she resides with her husband, Ric Davidge, project manager for CY Investments, LLC and two poodles, Peaches and Hapa. Connie is a popular real estate columnist and her articles appear in Alaska Journal of Commerce, Alaska Dispatch News, and Homes and Land Magazines. She was featured in Anchorage’s Centennial book on Anchorage by Charles Wohlforth. If you’re interested about real estate in Anchorage and Eagle River, you could read her latest blogs at www.columnsbyconnie.com.

Connie is proud to have helped thousands of buyers and sellers through the challenging process of marketing, negotiating, and closing on their homes. She looks forward to assisting you with your home buying and selling needs. She is also available as a residential land development consultant. You may contact her at cyoshimura@gci.net or call her at 907-646-3670 (Office) or 907-229-2703 (Cell).

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