10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alaska For 2019


We used data and science to determine which places in Alaska go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Alaska.

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Alaskans are lucky.

They have great fishing villages like King Cove, Santa’s house in the North Pole, and super great, super affordable places to call home.

Whether it’s on the side of Alaska’s Denali or a quintessential bay town like Sand Point, the last state to join the lower fifty US states has an affordable place that will fit any budget. And that’s where HomeSnacks comes in, folks. We took a look at the US Census data and cost of living data for The Last Frontier and created a list of the cheapest places to live in Alaska for 2019.

Now, just because these places in Alaska are affordable, doesn’t mean they’re not nice. Many of the cities on Alaska’s most affordable list are also on its safest list. It’s not rocket science, folks. When you save money on your cost of living in Alaska, you’re usually in a better place to invest in your community.

If you ask any Alaskan, they will say, hands down, that their corner of the frontier is the best. But if you’re the good people in our most affordable place in Alaska for 2019, you know you live in Alaska’s best of the best.

So, want to know where your income will go the furthest in Alaska? Where you can beat Alaska at their ‘cost of living’ game? Keep reading.

Did we mention the Alaska kick back? Yes, every Alaskan gets a certain percentage of the state’s oil revenue–it’s called the Alaska Permanent Fund. Probably why Alaska’s statewide median income is close to $73,000.

So, want to know where the Alaska Permanent Fund will let you live like Exxonmobil’s CEO on a fisherman’s budget? The most affordable place to live in Alaska would be King Cove.

To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below. And if you don’t find your favorite there, head to the bottom.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Alaska and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alaska For 2019

King Cove, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,003
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.8x (6th cheapest)
More On King Cove: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in King Cove comes in at $66,923 and the median home value is $119,000 for 2019.

Barrow, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,383
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.2x (3rd cheapest)
More On Barrow: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Barrow comes in at $82,964 and the median home value is $181,200 for 2019.

Valdez, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 3,921
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.7x (5th cheapest)
More On Valdez: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Valdez is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of the city is 3,976. The city was named in 1790 after the Spanish Navy Minister Antonio Valds y Fernndez Bazn. A former Gold Rush town, it is located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. The port did not flourish until after the road link to Fairbanks was constructed in 1899. It suffered huge damage during the 1964 Alaska earthquake, and is located near the site of the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. Today it is one of the most important ports in Alaska, a commercial fishing port as well as a freight terminal.

The median income in Valdez comes in at $94,003 and the median home value is $201,600 for 2019.

Sand Point, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,332
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.7x (14th cheapest)
More On Sand Point: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in Sand Point comes in at $67,917 and the median home value is $132,500 for 2019.

Hooper Bay, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,153
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.0x (17th cheapest)
More On Hooper Bay: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Hooper Bay comes in at $30,972 and the median home value is $75,500 for 2019.

Seward, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,748
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 80.4x (2nd cheapest)
More On Seward: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Seward is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 2,528. It was named after William H. Seward, United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In 1867, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia.

Mile 0 of the historic Iditarod Trail is at Seward. In the early 1900s the trail was blazed in order to transport people and goods to and from the port of Seward to interior Alaska.

The median income in Seward comes in at $74,397 and the median home value is $228,900 for 2019.

Chevak, AK

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,271
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.1x (25th cheapest)
More On Chevak: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in Chevak comes in at $40,855 and the median home value is $82,200 for 2019.

Wrangell, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,475
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (20th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.7x (7th cheapest)
More On Wrangell: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The City and Borough of Wrangell is a borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census the population was 2,369. Incorporated as a Unified Home Rule Borough on May 30, 2008, Wrangell was previously a city in the Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area.

The primary industry of the city is fishing, and it is a tourist destination. The former large wood processing factory in Wrangell closed down some time ago.

The median income in Wrangell comes in at $56,094 and the median home value is $194,000 for 2019.

North Pole, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,319
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.4x (11th cheapest)
More On North Pole: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole is home to two oil refineries, the town’s major industry aside from tourism. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, is a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.

The median income in North Pole comes in at $73,807 and the median home value is $216,700 for 2019.

Soldotna, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,516
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.0x (9th cheapest)
More On Soldotna: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Soldotna comes in at $68,662 and the median home value is $219,500 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Last Frontier For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Alaska
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Alaska to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 28 places in Alaska that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Alaska according to the data is King Cove.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Alaska Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Alaska, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in alaska for 2019.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Alaska according to the data:

  1. Homer
  2. Ketchikan
  3. Sitka

For more Alaska reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Alaska?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 King Cove 3.33 1,003 1.8x 71.8x
2 Barrow 4.67 4,383 2.2x 78.2x
3 Valdez 6.33 3,921 2.1x 75.7x
4 Sand Point 6.67 1,332 2.0x 64.7x
5 Hooper Bay 8.33 1,153 2.4x 63.0x
6 Seward 9.67 2,748 3.1x 80.4x
7 Chevak 10.0 1,271 2.0x 55.1x
8 Wrangell 11.33 2,475 3.5x 70.7x
9 North Pole 11.33 2,319 2.9x 65.4x
10 Soldotna 11.67 4,516 3.2x 70.0x

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.