Most Expensive Places To Live In Alaska For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in Alaska that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Alaska.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Alaska does this very well. Families love the Last Frontier's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in Alaska that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Alaska for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Alaska? That would be Homer.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 27 places in Alaska with more than 1,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Alaska? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Homer is the most expensive place to live in Alaska.

So hopefully King Cove (the cheapest place to live in Alaska) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

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

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Alaska For 2020

Homer, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,607
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.6x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.8x (7th most expensive)
More on Homer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Homer is a city located in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is two hundred and eighteen miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."

The median income in Homer comes in at $59,837 and the median home value is $273,300 for 2020.

Sitka, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,738
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.9x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.7x (14th most expensive)
More on Sitka: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City and Borough of Sitka, formerly Novo-Arkhangelsk, or New Archangel under Russian rule, is a unified city-borough located on Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean, in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,881. In terms of land area, it is the largest city-borough in the U.S., with a land area of 2,870.3 square miles and a total area of 4,811.4 square miles ; however, it is the smallest of Alaska's boroughs. Urban Sitka, the part that is usually thought of as the "city" of Sitka, is on the west side of Baranof Island.

The median income in Sitka comes in at $71,534 and the median home value is $349,300 for 2020.

Ketchikan, AK

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,224
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.0x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.4x (5th most expensive)
More on Ketchikan: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ketchikan is a city in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska, United States, the southeasternmost city in Alaska. With a population at the 2010 census of 8,050, it is the fifth-most populous city in the state, and tenth-most populous community when census-designated places are included.

The median income in Ketchikan comes in at $59,132 and the median home value is $237,700 for 2020.

Wasilla, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,675
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.9x (10th most expensive)
More on Wasilla: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census. Estimates in 2013 put the population at roughly 8,621. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013.

The median income in Wasilla comes in at $62,982 and the median home value is $238,000 for 2020.

Anchorage, AK

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 296,112
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.8x (15th most expensive)
More on Anchorage: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population.

The median income in Anchorage comes in at $83,280 and the median home value is $308,000 for 2020.

Unalaska, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 4,781
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.8x (19th most expensive)
More on Unalaska: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Unalaska is the largest city of the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a regional component of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska. The population was 4,376 at the 2010 census, which is 79% of the entire Aleutians West Census Area. Unalaska is the second largest city in the Unorganized Borough, behind Bethel.

The median income in Unalaska comes in at $92,273 and the median home value is $342,600 for 2020.

Juneau, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 32,330
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.9x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.0x (23rd most expensive)
More on Juneau: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City and Borough of Juneau, commonly known as Juneau, is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, and it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was then the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900. The municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality, which is larger by area than both Rhode Island and Delaware.

The median income in Juneau comes in at $88,213 and the median home value is $344,000 for 2020.

Dillingham, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,250
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.3x (12th most expensive)
More on Dillingham: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Dillingham comes in at $73,500 and the median home value is $260,200 for 2020.

Nome, AK

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,813
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (20th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.6x (3rd most expensive)
More on Nome: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Nome is a city in the Nome Census Area in the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. The city is located on the southern Seward Peninsula coast on Norton Sound of the Bering Sea. In 2014 the population was estimated at 3,788, a rise from the 3,598 recorded in the 2010 Census. Nome was incorporated on April 9, 1901, and was once the most-populous city in Alaska. Nome lies within the region of the Bering Straits Native Corporation, which is headquartered in Nome.

The city of Nome claims to be home to the world's largest gold pan, although this claim has been disputed by the Canadian city of Quesnel, British Columbia.

The median income in Nome comes in at $81,449 and the median home value is $239,800 for 2020.

Bethel, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,424
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (19th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.2x (8th most expensive)
More on Bethel: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bethel is a city located near the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, approximately 400 miles west of Anchorage, in the Bethel Census Area. Accessible only by air and river, Bethel is the main port on the Kuskokwim River and is an administrative and transportation hub for the 56 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

The median income in Bethel comes in at $89,000 and the median home value is $265,700 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Last Frontier For 2020

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 2014-2018 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 most 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 27 places in Alaska that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Alaska according to the data is Homer. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Alaska For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Alaska that have the highest cost of living, with Homer ranking as the most expensive city in the Last Frontier.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Alaska according to the data:

  1. King Cove
  2. Valdez
  3. Sand Point

For more Alaska reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Alaska

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Homer 5.0 5,607 4.6x 57.8x
2 Sitka 5.33 8,738 4.9x 63.7x
3 Ketchikan 6.67 8,224 4.0x 53.4x
4 Wasilla 9.0 9,675 3.8x 59.9x
5 Anchorage 9.33 296,112 3.7x 63.8x
6 Unalaska 9.67 4,781 3.7x 65.8x
7 Juneau 9.67 32,330 3.9x 72.0x
8 Dillingham 10.33 2,250 3.5x 62.3x
9 Nome 11.0 3,813 2.9x 52.6x
10 Bethel 11.33 6,424 3.0x 59.2x
11 Kenai 12.0 7,687 3.8x 64.4x
12 Cordova 13.0 3,055 3.7x 81.3x
13 Kodiak 13.0 6,107 3.4x 63.8x
14 Fairbanks 13.33 31,677 3.3x 44.9x
15 Soldotna 14.33 4,589 3.4x 61.8x
16 Houston 14.67 2,172 3.3x 53.0x
17 Wrangell 16.33 2,484 3.7x 71.2x
18 Craig 16.33 1,263 3.4x 68.6x
19 Palmer 16.33 6,978 3.4x 63.5x
20 Kotzebue 16.67 3,288 2.5x 59.7x
21 Chevak 18.67 1,144 1.7x 50.5x
22 Seward 19.0 2,770 3.1x 82.7x
23 Hooper Bay 19.33 1,101 2.0x 57.3x
24 North Pole 19.67 2,660 2.8x 71.8x
25 Sand Point 22.67 1,372 2.0x 65.7x
26 Valdez 25.33 3,870 2.0x 85.2x
27 King Cove 27.33 1,074 1.6x 86.5x

How Is The Area In ?

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.