(Black Press file photo)

(Black Press file photo)

Peninsula rental rates some of state’s lowest

The median rent payment on the Kenai Peninsula Borough was about $1,009 in 2020 and about $1,023 in 2021

It’s cheaper, on average, to rent a single family home or an apartment in the Kenai Peninsula Borough than almost anywhere else in Alaska. That’s according to the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s September edition of Trends magazine, which analyzes the 2021 rental market in Alaska.

The median rent payment on the Kenai Peninsula Borough was about $1,009 in 2020 and about $1,023 in 2021, the department survey found. That’s compared to Wrangell-Petersburg, where the median rent payment in 2021 is lowest at about $950, and Sitka, where the median rent payment in 2021 is highest at about $1,323.

Rent payments on the Kenai Peninsula, like most other regions in the state, are higher for people who rent single-family homes than for people who rent apartments. That difference is about $360 on the peninsula. The highest discrepancy is seen in Anchorage, where the difference in rent price for a home versus an apartment is about $950.

Vacancy rates on the Kenai Peninsula, like elsewhere in the state, dropped in 2021 from 2020. According to the department’s report, Alaska’s vacancy rate has steadily increased, from 4.4.% in 2011 to 9.2% in 2020. That increase is attributed to the state’s migration pattern, which has seen more people leaving Alaska than moving to Alaska in recent years. The vacancy rate dropped to 5.9% this year.

“Renters were more likely to stay put, including those who had lost their jobs,” the report says. “Evictions, which normally create some availability, have been on hold throughout the pandemic.”

The sales price for single-family homes increased and saw interest rates of about 2.8%.

Statewide, most regions saw rent prices increase over the last year, while vacancy rates went down, which the department partially attributes to an influx of people to Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the department’s survey found that state rents were about 2% higher than last year, and that the Kenai Peninsula Borough has the second-lowest median rent price in the state.

The report also showed that Alaska is one of five states that have recovered less than 50% of jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The full report can be found on the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development website at labor.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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