ANCHORAGE - Ben Hankins was working on his Fairview duplex on Tuesday afternoon. He was replacing a door on the downstairs unit. He lives in the three bedroom unit upstairs, but he doesn't live there alone. Right now, he's looking for another roommate. For two years, he's done the same thing: posted an ad on Craigslist to find his next roommate. "I haven't really had a problem finding roommates," he said. "It seems like no matter what someone comes along." It's not just a coincidence. Hankins' ease in finding someone to live with reflects the very low vacancy rate in the city. He only charges $700 for someone to live in a furnished house. "I think it's a great deal," he said.
When you look around Anchorage, he's right. According to an article written in "Trends" by state economist Neal Fried, the average two bedroom will cost a renter over $1,200. Even if you can afford it, it's not easy to find one. That scarcity keeps costs on the rise, and the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation published a survey that said Anchorage incomes aren't keeping up. Bill Popp, CEO of ADEC [sic*], said, "We have household income in decline since 2008 by 8 percent. We have the average cost of a rental unit up 19 percent since 2008." He explained that squeeze is pushing up wages and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers. (my emphasis, added)
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* Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC)