Skeptical over Alaska housing market claim

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2007

As they say in bowling, bowlers lie but their averages don't. This is why I'm very skeptical of Alaska Housing Finance Corp.'s claim that the Alaska housing market is "steady overall."

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According to the corporation's April bond disclosure, about half of all its home loans were to first-time home buyers for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2007.

Its customers were "kids" with an average age of 20.7. They only put an average of 5.4 percent money down.

If housing prices have dropped five percent as the corporation claims, then half its fiscal year 2007 customers may not have any equity. If they were not sub-prime loans to begin with, they are now.

California banks sent out 72,561 mortgage default notices in the third quarter. That's almost 50 percent more than the previous record set in 1996. Builders are walking away from half finished homes because the prices are falling faster than they can build them. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that for the first time ever, a nearby city has issued no building permits whatsoever.

The question is, is Alaska 12-24 months behind California, or not?

D.K. "Dan" Lilja

Former Juneau resident

San Diego, Calif.

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