PRESS CONFERENCE: Mayor Ward Discusses Housing Needs
Mayor Bryce Ward
July 6, 2021
Today, I held a press conference to talk about the need for additional affordable and efficient housing in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. From 2017 to 2020, our community responded to the arrival of F-35 personnel and exceeded the forecasted new construction need in the 99705 and Salcha areas (per the FNSB Regional Growth Plan).
In 2021, the picture looks a little different. Several factors have increased the housing need in the FNSB:
• At Eielson, a higher percentage of singles than forecasted (58% versus 46% singles and lower ranks) and approximately 110 more civilians than projected.
• At Ft. Wainwright, quality-of-life improvements to on-base dormitories means those units are being renovated, which means an estimated 450 soldiers have been given authorization that would otherwise be living on base.
• Cost of lumber jumped 40% on one week.
• Sales prices have been on a steep increase, selling for considerably over asking price.
• Rental rates have increased since 2017, with significant increases for 3-bedroom units (9% for apartments and 11% for houses).
• COVID-19 pandemic impacted people’s choices: to stay in Fairbanks, buy a new(er) home, move to North Pole, do home improvements, buy a rental property, etc.
So... where do we go from here?
With the latest EAFB data indicating that 283 more F-35 personnel are slated to arrive over the next 6 to 8 months, we need to provide quality housing for those remaining 283 F-35 personnel and their families.
TO OUR RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS(especially those in the 99705 area): what quality product do you have that can help house incoming F-35 personnel and their families? Call 907-377-1840 or email at 354CES.firstname.lastname@example.org
To OUR BUILDERS & DEVELOPERS: as lumber costs come down, what do you anticipate building in the remaining 2021 season, especially in the 99705 area? Would you be willing to share that with the FNSB or with Eielson Leadership?
TO OUR REALTORS: what do you know about existing supply and potential/anticipated construction of new units, especially in the 99705 area? Would you be willing to share with the FNSB or Eielson Leadership?
TO OUR COMMUNITY: we will continue to work with our Air Force partners to learn more about who is arriving when and their housing needs so we can communicate that more frequently to the community and we can work together – as Fairbanksans always have – to welcome military personnel and their families to our Golden Heart community. Thank you FNSB Community and thank you to the women and men that serve our nation.
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