Alaska Living at its finest…

Located at Mile 102.1 Glenn Hwy Mat Glacier Close Estate is this exceptional 15 acre parcel with outstanding Chugach Mountains and Matanuska Glacier views. This is an estate sale of the late Rex Close, the owner and his family whom built all the improvements on this property starting in 1978 with the log cabin just West of the main home. Construction on the main home started in the 1980’s and with the newer addition in the late 1990’s with a modern kitchen, enclosed porch and basement. A 2400 sqft shop was also added at this time and the owners moved here from Anchorage for year round living.

Additional buildings include the Hick’s Creek Cabin moved from Hick’s Creek when the Glenn Hwy was realigned; a tractor shed for the John Deere that Rex so dearly cherished; Fuel storage building with 1,500 gals fuel oil, 180 gals propane, and 500 gals gasoline for trucks and tractor plus storage; Main log home is 1700 sqft one bedroom with loft, 1 bath, modern kitchen, wonderful enclosed porch with glacier view, and a 20′ X 20′ basement; Cottage cabin on lower bench; 4 carport pole building; 2 carport industrial building incorporating 2 40′ connexes; and many more smaller wood sheds and storage buildings. This property also boasts frontage on both side of the Glenn Highway and on the Matanuska Glacier. Most all furnishings, tools, and equipment will be sold with the property with and acceptable offer.

Renovation financing

I’ve often fielded inquiries about making upgrades to clients homes such as kitchen or bath remodels. My answer always has return questions on how the client is going to pay for the upgrades and if the remodeling is to enjoy the home or get ready to sell. As you will not get dollar for dollar investment out of remodeling or upgrading including counter tops etc. it is best to invest in something you can enjoy for a couple years before you decide to sell. If the upgrades are recommendations to successfully sell your home, how you pay for these upgrades or remodeling is key. Check out this article from the National Association of REALTORS:
Then give me a call to discuss your best options.
Thanks – Russell

Living in the Mat-Su Valley

With 30 years in Alaska, Russell Joyce has extensive knowledge about life on the Last Frontier. Alaska is a growing frontier state with limited infrastructure and private land. Here we cherish our lifestyles and freedoms as do most Americans with added Alaskan touches; Savoring the beautiful scenery everywhere you go; enjoying the recreational opportunities that abound; and providing for our families from the bountiful harvests found in Alaska. Where you choose to place yourself in Alaska’s vastness is your choice. Many of us choose the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in SouthCentral Alaska due to it’s proximity to that listed above and much more, as well as closeness to Anchorage for work, entertainment, and travel.

Our Mat-Su Valley, as it is known, is the size of West Virginia and stretches from the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet and the Chugach Mtns. on the South and West to the Alaska Range the with Denali National Park on the Northern Border and as far as East as Lake Louise and Nelchina.  Recreational activities for all seasons is on the menu with summertime fishing, camping, hiking and climbing, ATV riding and much much more.  Fall hunting and fishing are the main theme before giving way to winter skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing and snow-machining (there is little snowmobiling here and until you experience Alaska riding you won’t know what I mean) and tons of other cold climate activities.  We all look forward to spring with an awakening of the hours of light and the combined activities late winter and early summer as it all starts over again. Mentioning the amount of light we experience from March to September is as wondrous as the amount of activities we try to include in our long daylight hours.  The opposite must be said about the fall and winter as the limited daylight leaves little time to accomplish those activities we look forward to doing when the snow flies.  This time of short days are just as enjoyable when the awesomeness of our land is brightened by the Aurora.

Alaskan living is much the same elsewhere in the state, except that here in the Mat-Su our young community is growing and vibrant. We are spread out with subdivisions that typically enjoy 1/2 to 1 acre lots around central communities with an ample mix of local shops and national chains for shopping and dining.  Schools are well placed within the communities and more are planned and in the process of getting built.  Jobs are continuing to be added in our area, although Anchorage will always have a substantial number of commuters from the Mat-Su Valley. Those that commute see a continual progress in the infrastructure that allows them to work in Anchorage and enjoy the rural lifestyle associated with the Mat-Su Valley.  Around the central areas of Palmer and Wasilla are the more distant communities of Big Lake, Willow, and Talkeetna to the North as well as Sutton, Chickaloon, and Matanuska Glacier to the East.

All of these areas stretch beyond the typical commute areas, although there are some whom drive from these communities as well.  Home price ranges are at or slightly above the national averages and Alaska wages are well above national averages.  Our nearest neighbor, Anchorage, has home prices that average 30% to 40% higher for the same home on less land, which explains the growth we experience and will continue to experience in the Mat-Su Valley. Population grew from 60,000 in 2000 census to a little over 80,000 in 2010 census. Growth has it’s pitfalls but also comes with opportunity. Development of our resources in the Mat-Su Valley is on the verge of expansions with a new Port at Point McKenzie and soon a rail line extension to that port.

Resources are why Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 and why it was admitted as a state in 1959.  However, resource development in Alaska is minuscule given the size of the state and barely visible here in the Mat-Su Valley.  We welcome responsible development of our resources within the context of preserving the intrinsic beauty and wonders that are inherent in Alaska. That is not to say other residents share my view and political divisions are generally split 50/50 on development, so most are slow to happen.  Given these checks and balances I believe the Mat-Su Valley is an ideal place to live with lots of economic opportunity and a lifestyle not found in most areas of the country.  If you find any of this of interest to you please visit my website often or send me an email or give me a call, I’d love to share what I can about life in the Mat-Su Valley and on the Last Frontier.

Economy is starting to run smoothly

Latest information on home sales and consumer confidence is much brighter in the past couple of months following concerns of a slow start in 2014. Reports from April to May see all home sales reaching highs of early 2008 with new home sales climbing too after several months of numbers tumbling downward from 2013. Additionally, consumer confidence of 85.2 not seen since 2008 are extremely welcoming as this current administration has not experienced. See quote from economist:
On Monday we learned that existing home sales in May jumped 4.9% to a rate of 4.89 million/year, the best pace since last October. Better yet, yesterday we learned that new home sales jumped from a rate of 433,000/month in April to 504,000/month in May, the best activity level since 5/08 and that consumer confidence hit 85.2 in June, its best level since 1/08! The economy really is s-l-o-w-l-y improving!
Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.
GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Family Homes often include dogs and cats, just how many?

As spring roles in, it becomes obvious to us pet owners that we have work to do cleaning up the past several months of poop that was hidden by winter snows. As you prepare your yard for summer use or are preparing your home and yard for potential sale, the need to scoop the poop is imparative. A yard free from need to tip toe around the smelly land mies is a must if you are selling your home and the yard that it resides upon. Just how many of us have these spring duties is wide reaching. Whether you live in rural areas with an acre or more for the pets to enjoy or in your urban townhouse with the 100 sqft patch yard the need to clean is the same. Some interesting numbers were provided by Mr. Eisenbeg in his economic blog with the following:
While Americans own 96 million cats and 83 million dogs, more families have dogs than cats. It’s is because 70% of dog owners have just one dog, while just 45% of cat owners have a single cat. By contrast, 10% of dog owners have three dogs or more, but 24% of cat owners have three or more cats, and 51% have at least two. At least I will not be alone in the yard clean up as many northerners watch the melting snow and what remains before the lawn mowing starts.

Interest Rates to go up?? there is always that possibility

Last week the Federal Reserve stated that employment is nearing the point that they will relax the downward pressure on interest rates. This translates to rising rates in the hopes that investors will buy secondary mortgages for investments. To date the Fed has been investing $60 Billion per month on mortgages down from $80 Billion per month this time last year. Interest rates need to rise from the current 4.5% 30 year rates ( today to something higher to entice those investment dollars to enter the market. Check out this statement from economist Elliot Eisenberg:
The most interesting thing to come out of last week’s Fed statement wasn’t that the Fed Funds rate will start rising in 2015 or that the unemployment rate isn’t the single most important number, but that the Fed expects the rate at which interest rates rise will be much slower than in previous recoveries. To wit, they currently expect Fed Funds to rise by just 2% between now and 1/16.
That is 2% in less than 2 years and we have not seen a rise or fall in rates of that much in any 2 year period since the 80’s. Put this in perspective a Priniciple and Interest payment on a $250,000 mortgage at 4.5% is $1,267 per month and at 6.5% interest is $1,580 per month. This $313 difference in monthly payment is a difference in buyer power of $49,547 or 1/5 of the sales price. I don’t know about you but in our area $50,000 difference today buys a lot more home. If the Federal Reserve is sincere about reversing the policy of keeping interest rates artifically low then now is the time to Buy and to Sell before these changes take effect. Hope to see you soon, I am available to list and to help find you the right home!

Overall Economic New is bright to start 2014

We have been able to enjoy much of the economic news floating around lately. Of course there will be ups and downs even in the best of times, however when we are grabbing for any news that provides stability as we move futher and further from the longest recession in history good news is uplifting. So here is my uplift for the day: My daily economic report from Elliot Eisenberg is we may see mortgage interest rates rise but the artifical low rates we’ve experienced from gov interference is waining, this is good:

Despite the weak December jobs report, the Fed will announce later this week that it’s reducing its monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage backed securities by another $10 billion to $65 billion/month, down from $75 billion/month in mid-December. Manufacturing continues to improve, Q4 GDP will be 3.3% or better which is good, net exports are rising, as is industrial production and purchases of core capital goods. Bye bye Bernanke.     

And reported in Autoweek by Nick Bunkley, Automotive News on 1/28/2014, Ford Automotive is reporting on sales of nearly 2.5 million vehicles in the US>

Ford posted net income of $7.2 billion for 2013, up from $5.7 billion in  2012. Its automotive operations generated a pretax profit of $6.9 billion on the  year, the highest in more than a decade. It was Ford’s 18th consecutive profitable quarter. Revenue increased 4 percent in the fourth quarter, to $36.3 billion, and 10  percent for the year, to $146.9 billion.

“We had an outstanding year in 2013, demonstrating that our One Ford plan  continues to drive solid results and profitable growth for all,” Ford CEO Alan  Mulally said in a statement. “We are well positioned for another solid year in  2014.”

Read more:

This is great news nationally and locally we will keep rolling along with hopes that Alaska can breathe easier given the improving economic climate in the Lower 48.  Hope they can stay warm as we experience the extended warm January thaw.
Looking for a great deal on a home, check out this fantastic listing:
Till tomorrow; Russell