Dinah Pearson, associate broker with Re/Max, thinks Ketchikan’s housing market is in a really, really good place. She said the market has been holding steady thanks to the work of local real estate agents.
“In the years I’ve been working here… I think the real estate industry is really good about not feeding the frenzy,” she said. “And when there’s multiple offers, every agent I’ve ever worked with has said, ‘Come back with your best offer.’ We’re not going to get into this eBay mentality. And that’s a big part of what drives an artificial boom – that we don’t have.”
Coastal Real Estate broker Mary Wanzer said Ketchikan’s housing market is looking good for sellers.
“Demand is up, inventory levels are low and home prices are increasing,” she said. “Definitely a good time to be a seller.”
Wanzer said there are currently only 44 homes for sale in Ketchikan, compared to 69 at this time last year. Inventory is indeed low, which is why Ketchikan home prices are well above national averages.
Wanzer added that the transitional nature of much of Ketchikan’s workforce is good news for both sellers and buyers.
“We’re fortunate because our community is so transitional, that even if you can only be in your house for a couple years and then you get transferred, there’s more people moving in looking for housing,” she said.
She cited the Coast Guard, the Forest Service and PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center as Ketchikan institutions that help drive this revolving door of buyers and sellers.
Rocky Elerding, a mortgage loan officer with First Bank, added that it often can be cheaper for these temporary residents to buy a home in Ketchikan rather than rent.
“I think it comes down to affordability,” he said. “Whether you’re looking to buy a home or rent a home, take a look at the market and see what a two-bedroom home is running for, what a three-bedroom home is running for, and then find out, talk to a local lender, find out what a comparable mortgage would be on that same home. You’d be surprised how affordable owning a home is versus renting.”
Elerding also mentioned that he noticed Baby Boomers buying second homes in places like Arizona and Hawaii, but retaining their homes in Southeast and Ketchikan, specifically.
Ketchikan’s housing market, while not booming, is holding strong, and local real estate gurus don’t foresee any big changes.
Except for one thing, said Pearson.
“We’ve kind of moved through that ‘HGTV-remodel-your-home-on-the-weekend, put in some laminate and an accent wall,’” she said. The crowd laughed.