Alaska’s cheapest places to live offer low living costs without sacrificing lifestyle or safety. Alaska has outstanding 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, Alaska has an affordable place to live that will fit any budget. And that’s where HomeSnacks comes in. 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 2023.
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. 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 2023, you know you live in Alaska’s best of the best. Keep reading to learn where your income will go the furthest in Alaska.
The 10 most affordable places to live in Alaska
So, what is the cheapest place to live in Alaska? The cheapest place to live in Alaska is King Cove according to the most recent Census data.
Did we mention the Alaska kickback? Yes, every Alaskan gets a certain percentage of the state’s oil revenue- the Alaska Permanent Fund. That is probably why Alaska’s statewide median income is nearly $73,000.
To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below of the most affordable in Alaska. And if you don’t find your favorite there, head to the bottom for a full table of the cheapest places to live in The Last Frontier.
Check out some more reading about Alaska and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 cheapest places to live in Alaska for 2023
1. King Cove
Median Income: $71,591
Median Home Price: $109,600
Median Rent: $845
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.5x
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.1x
More on King Cove: Real Estate
Starting off our list of the most affordable places to live in Alaska is King Cove, a small city on the eastern coast of the Alaskan Peninsula. King Cove is the place where you’ll find the third cheapest homes for sale in Alaska, with a median price of $109,600. Combining that with King Cove’s median income of $71,591/year gives the city the second best home price to income ratio in the state.
On top of that, King Cove earns the title of most economical place to rent in Alaska, with a median rent of $845/month. If you’re into wildlife, look out for seals, brown bears, and puffins on the ferry ride to Cold Bay.
Our second cheapest place to live in Alaska for 2023 is Valdez. Formerly a gold rush town, the economy of today’s Valdez is primarily centered on oil transportation. We gave Valdez an 8/10 on our overall SnackAbility scale, with an emphasis on safe streets, good schools, and solid markets for both housing and jobs. Maybe that’s why we named it one of the best places to live in Alaska.
Valdez has the highest-paid populace on this list, with residents earning a median income of $99,151/year. That’s enough to offset a slightly higher median rent of $1,250/month and give Vladez the second best rent to income ratio in the state. And if you’re buying a home in Valdez, know that you’re spending the third least percentage of your income on housing anywhere in Alaska.
Thrill-seekers or just plain nature-lovers will enjoy an epic rafting journey down the Lowe River at Keystone Canyon.
3. Delta Junction
Median Income: $71,765
Median Home Price: $222,800
Median Rent: $1,014
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.2x
More on Delta Junction: Real Estate
Delta Junction has been known by many identities over its history; a gold rush town, Bison City, a military outpost, and a farming community. Today it’s known as the official end of the scenic Alaska Highway and the third most affordable place in Alaska. Homes in Delta Junction go for around $222,800 and rent for about $1,014/month. Thanks to a median income of $71,765, Delta Junction is safely in the top ten statewide for housing to income ratios, both for buyers and renters.
Median Income: $47,833
Median Home Price: $57,300
Median Rent: $825
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.2x
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.2x
More on Kotlik: Real Estate
Kotlik is very tiny town on the north west coast of Alaska. It is something of a small port town on the lower Yukon River.
Taking a look at some economic measures, the median income in town is $47,833. The unemployment rate stands at 19.02%. Given a median home value of $57,300, that income can stretch relatively far for Alaskan standards. The cost of living in Kotlik is 28% lower than the state average and 3% lower than the national average.
5. Sand Point
Median Income: $75,625
Median Home Price: $180,900
Median Rent: $1,240
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.2x
More on Sand Point: Real Estate
Located on Popof Island off the coast of the Alaskan Peninsula, Sand Point ranks as the fifth least expensive place to call home in Alaska. About half the population of Sand Point is Unangan, which you can celebrate and learn more about at the annual Culture Camp. Homes in Sand Point are the fifth cheapest in the state, going for a median price of $180,900. Even more importantly, folks don’t have to hand over half their paycheck to get a decent place to live in Sand Point, because the city has the fourth best home price to income ratio in Alaska.
Median Income: $53,409
Median Home Price: $185,500
Median Rent: $735
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.2x
More on Houston: Real Estate
Obviously, Houston isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you hear the name “Houston.” And, with 1,739 residents, the Last Frontier version is about as far as you can get from Texas’s biggest city. But this Houston has one major thing in its favor: it serves as the number 6 best value in the state.
Located in the southern part of Alaska, Houston sits just down the road from Wasilla and across the Knik Arm from Anchorage, the state’s biggest city. With a prime position on Highway 3, this makes the community something of a gateway between the population centers of the south and the central part of the state.
The median home price in Houston sits at $185,500. This ranks as the sixth most affordable figure in Alaska. Rents are similarly easy to swing. The median rent in the area sits at $735.
The median income for Houston workers comes in at $53,409. The unemployment rate stands at 13.44%.
Turns out Santa Claus is pretty adept at financial planning, because North Pole is one of the most affordable places to live in Alaska. Volunteers in North Pole work to respond to around 400,000 letters addressed to Santy of them each year, so you know that the community spirit is strong here.
And, of course, the city comes alive when Christmas is close. As far as affordability goes, North Pole residents spend the seventh smallest proportion of their income on housing statewide, for both renting and buying. It’s also one of the best cities for singles in Alaska, so looking for love has never been so affordable as it is in North Pole. We think even Scrooge would get over his hatred of Christmas for the savings on offer here.
Next up on our list of mega-affordable places in Alaska is Seward, one of the prime jumping off points for trips to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. There are seriously way too many outdoors activities nearby for us to list them all, but a boat trip through Kenai Fjords is the most quintessential Seward activity.
With all these wholesome entertainment options available, it’s no wonder that we named Seward the best family citiy in Alaska. While Seward does have the priciest homes on this list, at a median cost of $241,600, a median income of $75,050 keeps the city competitive in terms of relative cost. Not to mention that Seward is the third most economical place to rent in Alaska, with a median cost of $955/month.
Known as the “Gateway to the Arctic,” Kotzebue ranks as the ninth least expensive place to call home in Alaska. At $1,463/month, Kotzebue does have the steepest price on rent you’ll see on this list. However, a high median income of $95,385/year keeps the relative cost reasonable. If you decide to settle down here, a home will set you back about $246,400.
While Kotzebue is the major economic hub of the region, you can easily get off the grid by heading to Noatak National Preserve; just don’t expect to drive, because there are no roads here, only plane access.
Soldotna is a great place to live in Alaska and also one of the most affordable. With a population of 4,370, this small city offers a median home value of $219,300, which is significantly lower than other Alaskan cities. Additionally, the median rent in Soldotna is only $921, making it an ideal location for those looking to save money on housing.
Overall, Soldotna’s low home prices and reasonable rent make it a great choice for those looking to live comfortably on a budget in Alaska.
Cheapest places to live in Alaska FAQs
The county in Alaska with the lowest cost of living is Kusilvak Census Area. The average living wage in Kusilvak Census Area is $75,124 according to MIT data. Kusilvak Census Area has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Alaska as a whole. Childcare costs $7,708 a year in Kusilvak Census Area for two children compared to the Alaska average of $16,624. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $10,356 per year in Kusilvak Census Area compared to $14,566 on average in Alaska.
The cost of living in Alaska is 0.4% higher than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Alaska is $90,080 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Alaska household is $77,790.
The cheapest housing market in Alaska is Mountain Village. The average home value in Mountain Village is $23,600, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Alaska is $275,600, almost 11.7 times higher than Mountain Village.
Methodology: How we determined the most affordable places to live in the Last Frontier for 2023
Determining affordability for places in Alaska boils down to two factors:
- How much money do I make?
- How much does it cost to live here?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make to determine affordability. For example, imagine a place in Alaska where median incomes are $100,000 and housing costs $200,000 to buy. That’s more affordable than living in a place with a median income of $50,000 where houses cost $101,000. The ratio of income to home prices is higher in the first example.
With that logic in mind, we derived several cost of living statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2017-2021 for Alaska. The cost of living statistics are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Rent / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Home Price
You can include median home price as a stand alone variable because high home prices generally correlate with higher costs for all goods and services (heating, electricity, food, etc). You then compare these cost of living metrics for each place in Alaska to figure out which is the least expensive.
We aggregate those rankings into a “Cost of Living Index” for each city in Alaska. The “Cost of Living Index” allows you to rank all of the 29 places in Alaska that have more than 1,000 people from least expensive to most expensive.
The place in Alaska with the lowest cost of living according to the data is King Cove.
We updated this article for 2023. This reports reflects our tenth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Alaska.
Alaska Affordabilility Summary
This is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Alaska for 2023, if you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Alaska.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Alaska according to the data:
For more Alaska reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Alaska
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Alaska
- Best Places To Buy A House In Alaska
Cheapest Places To Live In Alaska
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