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Alaska's housing prices continue to buck national trend

A national news headline this week said, "Home prices sink to new lows." Prices in a dozen big metro markets have fallen to their lowest levels since the housing market first crashed in late 2006.

In Alaska, we still don't care how they do it Outside. Alaska's home-sales prices continue to maintain their values more than in much of the rest of country, according to state economists and local real estate experts.

The average sales price of homes rose about 2 percent annually in Anchorage and 1 percent statewide from 2007 to 2010, right through the recession, says state housing economist Caroline Schultz.

That compares to a 9 percent annual rise in Anchorage and 8 percent statewide from 2000 to 2006.

A temporary federal tax credit for home buyers pushed average prices up last year, the experts say.

But apart from that, Anchorage prices have been steady.

Meantime, from February to March, prices fell in 18 of 20 cities nationwide in the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index, The Associated Press reported. Prices dropped 3.7 percent in Minneapolis, 2.4 percent in Chicago, and 2 percent in Detroit. They rose .1 percent in Seattle and 1.1 percent in Washington, D.C.

Anchorage has the highest single family home prices of areas surveyed in Alaska, according to a report in the May issue of the Alaska Department of Labor publication, "Alaska Economic Trends."

The average Anchorage sales price rose from $318,000 in 2009 to $328,000 in 2010, with the tax credit, the Labor Department report says.

This year so far, the average for an Anchorage house has dropped back down to around the levels of '07, '08, '09, with an Anchorage average sales price of $316,000, said Niel Thomas of Coldwell Banker Fortune real estate.

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