Want to escape the fast-paced life connected with the great outdoors? Then owning land in Alaska is the best choice for you. Let’s consider the pros and cons.
The State of Alaska is filled with mountains and rough terrains that are not suitable for everyone. Moreover, the cold temperature, fewer population, etc., can also be a negative aspect for some people, but still, in 2020, Alaska profited from positive net migration, since losses from 2013 to 2019.
Owning land in Alaska, the Last Frontier, has pros and cons. Many of the land available for sale are remote, don’t have road access, or are arctic swamps. In contrast, the land is abundant, and you can work remotely and explore. It also offers affordable living, and you get paid to live there.
There are a lot of things you need to consider about owning land in Alaska. Such as the zoning laws, access to basic amenities, population, job opportunities, and more. Alaska is spectacularly beautiful and offers you an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, learn snow sports, enjoy the outdoors, etc. But it also has extremely cold weather that can limit your accessibility and motion. Moreover, it has higher prices for utilities and food.
This article will discuss the pros and cons of owning land in Alaska in detail. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons of Owning Land in Alaska
Connecting With the Outdoors
People consider purchasing land in Alaska because of the new opportunities and lifestyle. In Alaska, you don’t have to live your life a certain way; you are free from the pressure and expectations of society and are now part of a welcoming community.
Aside from that, Alaska is a beautiful state and offers plenty of opportunities for you to reconnect with nature and slow down and relax. All popular activities are outdoors, and you can learn snow sports, go trailing, explore the state, and do a lot more, even when it’s freezing cold outside.
Since it’s a remote area, utilities, food, and basic amenities can cost higher than in other states, this is one of the reasons why people rarely migrate to Alaska. Thus, through the state’s oil royalties, the state government gives a dividend to citizens to manage the high cost of amenities and living. But you do have to meet the criteria and live a full calendar area before applying for the fund. In 2020, the total dividend per person was $992.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has taken on an entirely new meaning, and Alaska supports that. As there are not any proper working spaces available in Alaska, people who migrate there tend to work remotely unless they are working in the oil or gas industry. Thus, owning land in Alaska is a great opportunity for people with remote jobs that want to isolate themselves further and live a calm and peaceful life. Moreover, Alaska has the infrastructure to enable remote work, such as a 5G network and high internet speed that goes up to 1 Gig.
Before moving, talk to your employer and see if this works out for them. Moreover, ask your landlord about any caps and restrictions regarding internet usage.
Living in Alaska is not entirely affordable. As we mentioned before, the cost of basic amenities, utilities, and food are higher as they are imported and shipped from a long distance. That said, there are other ways people can save up. Real estate in Alaska is affordable compared to other states. However, prices also depend on whether you want to live in a well-populated or remote area.
For example, the median price for a home in Alaska is $299,000, although this can vary. It also has the lowest tax rate in the entire United States. Residents don’t have to pay income tax or sales tax, and they also benefit from the yearly payout from the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD).
Thus, you end up saving a lot of money, balancing out the extra cost for food and utilities.
Don’t like the sweltering hot sun? Great, move to Alaska! Alaska offers the best summer experience in the entire world. With temperatures varying around 60 to 80 degrees throughout the summer, it is not too hot that you’ll want to stay cooped up with the air conditioner on, and it’s not too cold that you can’t go outside. It is the perfect temperature for you to go out and explore the aesthetic landscapes.
From May to June, the Alaskan sky is light, and there is rarely any dark or night. Thus, you can explore the state and enjoy the multiple activities it provides, such as fishing, mountain biking, hiking, trailing, canoeing, and more.
Among the many reasons to live in Alaska, snow sports is a given. You will benefit from multiple snow activities and sports like skiing, backpacking, snowmobiling, hiking, and much more. This means you’ll also have a cool mode of transportation while living in Alaska.
Another popular sport in Alaska is mushing or dogsled racing. This sport is a great form of entertainment for residents living in Alaska and is a healthy outdoor activity.
Before you think of owning land in Alaska, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The first amongst them is the cold climate. The temperature in Alaska averages 0°, and the more you move in the northernmost region, the lower it goes. This cold temperature is not suitable for everyone, and many people also die from exposure to carbon monoxide from clogged chimneys or broken heaters.
Moreover, when winter arrives, the sun goes away. There is rarely any daylight throughout several months, and people rarely leave their house. This results in SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), in which a person suffers from anxiety, depression, isolation, etc. So if you can’t handle cold temperatures and being alone well, Alaska is not for you.
The State of Alaska is also a very dangerous place to live, thus it is not for the faint-hearted. The state experiences around 5,000 earthquakes in a year. The strongest earthquake, with a magnitude of 9.2, was recorded in 1964.
Moreover, over 400 people die every year due to various causes in Alaska. The most common causes are wildlife or bear attacks, cold temperatures, and natural disasters.
Apart from earthquakes, Alaska also suffers from frequent volcanic eruptions.
Fewer Job Opportunities
Most of the land in Alaska is underdeveloped, and if you are thinking of owning land in Alaska, you need to consider it as a long-term investment. Alaska’s tourism industry is improving every year, but it still has fewer job opportunities due to the lack of resources and limited population. Usually, tourists arrive by air or ferry, with very few opting to drive to Alaska. Thus, investors rarely see an opportunity to invest there. The only jobs available in Alaska are in the oil and gas industry.
Higher Cost of Living
We know this contradicts the pros of owning land in Alaska, but there are living costs to consider besides taxes and real estate. One of the reasons food and basic amenities are expensive in Alaska is because everything is imported and needs to be shipped. Shipping is an added nuisance since it takes time.
For instance, let’s consider the food prices. In 2019, one person annually spent $450 in Alaska on food. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, bread costs around $3.62 vs $3.40 in other states, similarly eggs cost $1.99 vs $1.39, and coffee costs $5.49 vs $4.32.
When it comes to utilities, like electricity and gas bills, there is a 30% difference between Anchorage vs other states. Similarly, health care is also very expensive in Alaska and costs around 82% above the national average.
Another major con of owning land in Alaska is the isolation. Despite the growing popularity, Alaska is a scarcely populated area where people rarely live full-time. People might use it as a vacation spot, but the scarce number of people and activities can make them feel lonely for those staying in Alaska full-time.
Not to mention you are also away from friends and family and can’t make frequent trips for emergencies or family events. There is a lot you will miss out on, which could lead to depression and anxiety.
Now that you know the pros and cons of owning land in Alaska, you can make a well-informed decision before taking such a huge step. If you want to live in an isolated place with less population and as far away from the hustle and bustle of life, then Alaska is the place for you. You can work remotely, affordably, and not invest an arm and leg when buying land in Alaska. In contrast, if cold temperature and isolation are something you are not comfortable with, then you should look for other places.
Before moving to any place, you need to dig deep and find as much relevant information as you can about livability, zoning laws, access to utilities, financing options, and job opportunities. We hope this article helped!
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling