The median national average for owner-occupied homes is $144,200. The average in Alaska is $119,600, making Alaska's home prices 7.1% below average at the end of 2009. Fortunately, this shouldn't be too worrying since price averages fluctuate.
Anchorage is Alaska's most popular and fastest growing city-borough. Slightly less than 280,000 residents were estimated to live there in 2008, more than 40 percent of the state's total population. The National Civic League has named Anchorage the All-America City four times, in 1956, 1965, 1984/85, and 2002.
Alaskan tourists often choose Anchorage as the initial stop on their vacation because of the large population and convenient location. Tourists can head south to the Kenai Peninsula, a popular fishing location, or north to other heavily toured locations such as Fairbanks and Denali National Park.
Anchorage has grown 2% since 2008 and 12% since 2000, but why? Most likely because Alaska's oil, gas and mining sectors continue to employ. The health and education services in Anchorage have also seen steady growth, even in the recession.
Cities with available jobs are attractive to people looking to move, which explains not only Anchorage's growth, but the next two cities as well.
The largest city in the interior region of Alaska is Fairbanks. Fairbanks is home to the oldest college in the state, the University of Alaska Fairbanks. More than 300,000 people tour Fairbanks each summer. Mining is a significant part of their economy, with the gold mine of Fort Knox producing 1,200 ounces per day and providing jobs to tens of thousands of people.
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and the third most populated city. The primary employer in Juneau is government. This includes the state and federal government, municipal government (harbors, the local hospital and airport, and the school district), and the University of Alaska Southeast. Offices in state government and indirect economic impact of those offices compose roughly one quarter of Juneau's economy.
The mortgages rates in Alaska are slightly below the national average, though that can change quite quickly.
A fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) may appeal to Alaskan borrowers who don't want to deal with potentially rising payments and interest rates. Since these things don't change on a fixed-rate mortgage, the borrowers are able to plan and budget long-term. If market interest rates decline significantly, refinancing might be a desirable option. Most fixed-rate mortgages are paid off in 30 years, but 20, 40 and other term lengths are available.
Alaskan lenders are allowed to foreclose on mortgages and deeds of trust in default using a non-judicial or judicial foreclosure process. The length of the process varies depending on the method used, but it's typically 3 months.
In this type of foreclosure, the lender files a lawsuit to acquire a court order to foreclose. After the court declares a foreclosure, the home will be auctioned to the highest bidder. This method of foreclosure has become more popular since the late 1980s, when lenders discovered that they frequently foreclosed on property worth much less than the amount owed.
This type of foreclosure is used when a “power of sale” clause exists in the deed of trust or mortgage. A “power of sale” clause means the borrow pre-authorized the property sale to pay off the loan balance if they default. This gives the lender or their representative, sometimes referred to as a trustee, the power to sell the property.
If the mortgage or deed of trust specifies a time, place and terms of the sale, that procedure must be followed unless it doesn't meet the minimum protection laws in Alaska. The foreclosure is carried out as follows:
The representative/trustee must record a notice of default in the recording district no less than 30 days after the default and no less than 3 months before the sale.
The notice of default must state the borrower’s name, describe the property, the borrower’s default, total amount the borrower owes, the book and page the deed is recorded, and the representative/trustee's wish to sell. Additionally, it must state the place, time and date of the sale.
Within 10 days, the representative/trustee must mail a copy of the very same notice of default by certified mail to the last known address of the borrower, in addition to anyone whose claim or lien on the property in question appears on the record or is known to either the trustee or any occupant. It is acceptable for the trustee to have the notice of default delivered personally.
The borrower can immediately stop the sale at any time by paying the sum equal to the missed payments plus attorney's fees. The lender cannot require the borrower to pay off the entire loan, only the attorney's fees and missed payments. If the lender has recorded a notice of default twice before, the lender is free to refuse the borrower's money and proceed with the sale.
The sale of the property must be a public auction held at the front door of the courthouse of the superior court in the judicial district the property is located. The representative/trustee must sell to the highest and best bidder. The lender is free to bid at the auction.
The representative/trustee can postpone the sale of any portion of the property by writing a signed request to the conductor of the sale, complete with a stated date and hour. It must be publicly announced that the sale has been postponed, and take place at the original location.