Someone recently asked why they should buy a home in the Palmer-Wasilla area as opposed to Eagle River so I said:
“OK…lets take a look.”
Assume that you are driving 50 miles each way…100 miles a day.
Your car gets 25 mpg and you are paying an average of $3.50 cents a gallon for gas. That will be $14 a day for gas.
Also assume that you are working 51 weeks a year. That is 255 days of commuting at $14 a day or $3,570 a year or $297 per month.
So you can afford to pay $300 a month more for housing in Eagle River over the valley.
I focused on Wasilla because instead of the whole valley so as to not completely blow Eagle River out of the water.
The median price of a 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage house in Wasilla is $212,275 or $1,272.70 per month at 6% interest for principle and interest. There are 130 of these houses to choose from.
The median price of a 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage house in Eagle River is $279,900 or $1,678.14 per month at 6% interest for principle and interest. There are only 21 of these homes available.
So it averages out to about $400 per month. Of course, we didn’t figure anything into the deal for extra mileage on your car, or the extra commuting time. It will probably take you about 20 minutes to commute to Eagle River and one hour to Wasilla or Palmer. Also, we didn’t take into account that you might buy a Toyota Prius and get 50 mpg.
Another big difference is that most of the houses in Wasilla have at least one acre of land, and most of the houses in Eagle River are on city lots of 1/10 acre or less.
The biggest reason that people who work in Anchorage buy in the valley is the lifestyle, they just aren’t city people and would rather live in Alaska.