Analysis: Kodiak’s rental market

Kodiak’s rental market is steady, but a report released by the Alaska Department of Labor shows some concerning trends. 

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As previously reported by KMXT last month, Kodiak’s general cost of living, including rent costs, has trickled down slightly. This month, the Alaska Dept. of Labor released more details about how Kodiak’s rental market is trending.

The report says that the average rent for an apartment or house in Kodiak in 2020 is $1264. This is down nearly $100 from 2019’s average of $1366 and 2018’s average of $1370.

Sitka is still the most expensive place to rent in Alaska, with an average of $1300 per month.

The average studio apartment in Kodiak costs $800 per month, down over 1% from last year. Three-bedroom apartments have also decreased by over 1%.

The biggest drop in average rent is for two bedroom apartments: almost 5%, to $1,225.

Rent for one-bedroom apartments increased slightly by 1%, to $1,027.

Houses in Kodiak are a different story.

Renting a one- or two-bedroom house in Kodiak will cost 3% more than last year. But a four-bedroom home has gone down by more than 4%. Rent for a three-bedroom home this year will cost about the same as last year.

Vacancy rates for rental homes is relatively low this year, between 7 and 8 percent, compared to over 20% in 2019. This could indicate that fewer families are leaving Kodiak, and why home rents are trending up.  The national rental vacancy rate is 7%. In Alaska, it is 9%.

But this is complicated by double-digit vacancies in apartments, which may explain the decrease in average rent for apartments. Also, high vacancy rates generally mean that people are moving out, even as Kodiak builds more apartment units, such as the ones on Mill Bay and Sheratin.

However, nearly half of all housing units in Kodiak are rentals, the highest in the state. This means that Kodiak has the lowest rate of home ownership in Alaska, which can have some negative impacts on the community, but reflects Alaska’s and Kodiak’s high migration rate.

According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, healthy rates of homeownership are linked to many benefits, such as controlling housing costs, accumulating wealth, improved outcomes for children, and robust civic engagement.

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