Alaska home values tick up, despite recession: State labor economists credit a generally-stable population with keeping Alaska home prices level, with even small increases, in the state’s major cities. Residential values were up in Anchorage, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai boroughs between 2015 and 2017, despite the recession. Statewide, home values ticked up from $315,602 in 2015 to $323,462 in 2017. Two other factor involved include the state’s growing population of retired seniors and the fact that many who lost jobs in the recession did not own homes in the state. About 40 percent of North Slope oil workers, for example, live in the Lower 48. The state’s petroleum workforce was hit hard with job losses in 2016 and 2017.
Army Corps midway through Nome port expansion study: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is midway through a feasibility study of deepening Nome’s port facility so that it can accommodate larger vessels. The $2.9 million study is being jointly funded by the corps and the city of Nome. Corps officials have now settled on a preferred alternative that would deepen Nome’s small boat harbor to 12 feet at the low water mark and to 28 feet at low water in the outer harbor. Studies like this typically take three years but this one has been accelerated to two years by taking advantage of a previous corps study of a major port expansion. That was shelved after Shell pulled out of its Arctic exploration program in 2015.
October target for Chugach electric approval of ML&P deal: Chugach Electric Association has set an Oct. 24 target for its board to approve the acquisition of Anchorage’s city-owned Municipal Light & Power electric utility. Ballot language passed by Anchorage voters favoring the sale requires approval by the municipal assembly by Dec. 31, 2018.
Plastic bag ban now before Anchorage’s assembly: Anchorage’s assembly is considering a ban on plastic bags use in retail stores. Twenty communities across the state, mosty small, have banned the bags already, but the effects would be larger in Anchorage, which has about half the state’s population. Details of the plan are still being worked out.