For anyone who has entertained the idea of buying land in Alaska, there are some definite pros and cons to consider before you make that decision.
Alaska has been called the last frontier, and for good reason. There are so many pluses to buying land in this state, but they come with some big negatives as well. Determining if Alaska would be the right place for you to buy land is going to depend on what you’re looking for, and how your needs align with what this state has to offer.
Here are some pros and cons to buying land in Alaska:
- pro: land is inexpensive and abundant
- pro: the cost of living is low
- pro: you are surrounded by the great outdoors
- con: the lifestyle can be very isolating
- con: travel around the country and back home can be challenging
Alaska is a vast and diverse state with a myriad of opportunities, depending on what you are looking for. Trying to list your priorities and determine if they mesh can feel a bit challenging. Having a list of pros and cons will hopefully help you narrow down whether or not Alaska is the place for you to buy land.
I have lived in a number of remote places and appreciate the advantages they offer, but also realize they are not for everyone. Let’s figure out if the last frontier of Alaska is going to be a good fit for you.
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Should I Buy Land in Alaska?
Alaska is a vast landscape and life there is not for everyone. The state is our largest, taking up the same amount of space as Texas, California and Montana combined.
For an outdoor enthusiast, or anyone looking to forge their own way, Alaska may seem ideal. But, it can also be a land of challenges and not always an easy place to live.
Finding a place to call home isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Many of us are looking for more space, while also having the conveniences we’ve grown accustomed to. Others of us are hoping to live more off the grid or want to drastically lower our cost of living. Still, others want adventure.
Alaska is worth considering as a place to buy land, but it is a good idea to first explore some of the pros and cons to help you make your decision as to whether this great frontier is going to be ideal for you.
1. Land is Inexpensive and Abundant
In a state as large and remote as Alaska, it makes sense that land would still be widely available and relatively easy to still obtain.
And it’s true…if you are looking for your piece of dirt on this planet, Alaska is a good place to start.
Though homesteading in Alaska was eradicated in 1988, there is still a good incentive to encourage people to buy property in this state for their own personal use. Much of Alaska’s more remote and unclaimed land is owned by the government.
Through a program with the Department of Natural Resources, an individual can purchase land directly from the government at a set, fair market cost. These parcels of land come anywhere from one to forty acres and are available at set times during the year, after the government has had a chance to survey the area and then deem it appropriate for sale.
It is also possible to buy land from individuals who have already acquired it. These are private sales, and are similar to the way in which you would buy land in any other state.
Regardless of the process, an acre of land in Alaska is still, on average, less expensive than in most states and options are limitless as to what type of land you can acquire.
2. The Cost of Living is Low
Another perk to buying land in Alaska is the low cost of living.
Because Alaska is so remote, it makes sense that some things may be more expensive than on the mainland of the United States.
That said, there are also plenty of perks to living in Alaska when it comes to your finances.
The average home price in Alaska is $299,000, which is well below the average price in the rest of the states.
Alaska also has some of the lowest tax rates in the country and residents of this state do not pay any income tax or sales tax, which means it ranks as the state with the lowest tax burden out of all fifty.
Another perk that is offered by the government and helps to keep the cost of living low in Alaska is the Permanent Fund Dividend program.
The PFD program was set up by the Alaskan government as a fund that pays out dividends to residents from oil revenue. Each resident of Alaska receives around $1600 annually from the fund, though this can fluctuate year to year.
The bottom line is this. Though Alaska is more remote than other states, and goods and services may be more difficult at times to receive, there are a variety of incentives that are put in place that lower the cost of living in this state.
3. You Are Surrounded by the Great Outdoors
No one can deny that Alaska is an outdoor person’s paradise.
One visit to this great state will reassure you that – if you long for outdoor adventures – there are few places on this planet that can provide more than Alaska.
It really doesn’t matter what you are into – there’s pretty much something for everyone in Alaska when it comes to being outdoors.
Winter sports, are of course very popular. Alaska has some of the best ice fishing conditions in the world, and the snowmobiling and snowshoeing opportunities are second to none.
If summertime outside is more your speed, you will find endless things to do, from hiking endless trails to backwoods camping and a bounty of water sports as well.
That said, if you’re not really the active type, but just enjoy being outside, you will never tire of looking at the Alaskan landscape and appreciating the beauty of this state.
Anyone who buys land in this state will appreciate the beauty of raw nature and will not have to venture far to find it.
4. The Lifestyle Can Be Very Isolating
All this talk about the outdoor lifestyle of Alaska is a great reason to consider buying land in this state. But this can also be seen as a con for some.
Even if you are longing for more space to spread your wings, Alaska may prove to be a bit too isolating, even for the most recluse individual.
With a population of less than a million people, the entire state of Alaska has fewer inhabitants than a small to average-sized city on the mainland of the United States.
Only Wyoming has fewer inhabitants than Alaska, and it is about a third of the land mass!
You aren’t going to feel cramped if you buy property in Alaska. But, you may actually at times feel alone.
Alaska also has a relatively transient population. Many who work in the fishing, logging, or oil industry come to Alaska for seasonal work, then leave for long periods of time when their contracts end.
There is also a decent amount of the population who like to spend their summers in the northern state, but then travel to warmer weather when winter comes.
If you like isolation, Alaska may be a good place for you to buy property. But be aware that it could get a bit more lonely than what you bargained for.
5. Travel Around the Country and Back Home Can Be Challenging
Along with the potential to make you feel isolated, buying property in Alaska may also make you actually be isolated.
Traveling in and around Alaska is not always easy. Cities are spread out and there is not a great national public transit system.
It is almost impossible to travel unless you have access to a car. And though the terrain is gorgeous, it can be challenging to travel across it at certain times of the year, especially in winter or in areas where there are significant wildlife concerns and little to no access to cell phone coverage, in the event of an emergency.
Travel to the mainland of the United States or abroad can also be tough. Because of the rough terrain and largely remote areas, Alaska boasts more than 700 airports, many of which help residents just get from one area of the state to another.
But, travel off the continent can still be tough, as larger airports are confined to the bigger cities, such as Anchorage and Fairbanks.
They are also not cheap. A typical round trip flight from Anchorage to Los Angeles can be upwards of $800, even in non-peak season.
If you decide to buy land in Alaska, know that travel is going to be more of a challenge than in more populated areas and will take more planning than you may be used to. The appeal of Alaska’s remote lifestyle also makes reconnecting more difficult than you may realize.
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