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 2022.
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 2022, 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 2022
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 $108,300. Combining that with King Cove’s median income of $71,875/year gives the city the third 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 $825/month. If you’re into wildlife, look out for seals, brown bears, and puffins on the ferry ride to Cold Bay.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.5x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 87.1x (11th cheapest)
More On King Cove: Real Estate
Our second cheapest place to live in Alaska for 2022 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 $93,281/year. That’s enough to offset a slightly higher median rent of $1,136/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 fourth 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.
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 $47,844. The unemployment rate stands at 16.18%. Given a median home value of $70,700, 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.
Rank Last Year: –
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.5x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.1x (26th cheapest)
More On Kotlik: Real Estate
Located on Popof Island off the coast of the Alaskan Peninsula, Sand Point ranks as the fourth 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 eighth cheapest in the state, going for a median price of $181,900. 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 fifth best home price to income ratio in Alaska.
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.4x (7th cheapest)
More On Sand Point: Real Estate
Obviously, Houston isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you hear the name “Houston.” And, with 1,952 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 5 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 $178,000. This ranks as the seventh most affordable figure in Alaska. Rents are similarly easy to swing. The median rent in the area sits at $708.
The median income for Houston workers comes in at $53,594. The unemployment rate stands at 16.44%.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.7x (27th cheapest)
More On Houston: 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 sixth most affordable place in Alaska. Homes in Delta Junction go for around $216,800 and rent for about $860/month. Thanks to a median income of $64,792, Delta Junction is safely in the top ten statewide for housing to income ratios, both for buyers and renters.
Rank Last Year: –
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (13th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.3x (15th cheapest)
More On Delta Junction: Real Estate
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.
Another incredibly small town in Alaska is Mountain Village, the eighth most affordable city in Alaska for 2022. Unfortunately, the town ranks as one of the poorest in the nation, which is part of the reason for its relative affordability.
Homes in Mountain Village have a median price of $23,600, while rent is the cheapest in alaska at $610. The median income here is $31,339, and the unemployment rate is 21.85%.
Rank Last Year: –
Home Price To Income Ratio: 0.8x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.4x (28th cheapest)
More On Mountain Village: Real Estate
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 $251,700, a median income of $74,110 keeps the city competitive in terms of relative cost. Not to mention that Seward is the fifth most economical place to rent in Alaska, with a median cost of $989/month.
Located 10 miles from the Bering Sea is the tenth cheapest city in Alaska for 2022 — Emmonak. The town is made up of mostly Yupik Alaska Natives that are heavily involved in commercial fishing and processing. The area is part of some of the most remote locations in Alaska and a relatively large part of the population lives in poverty.
The overall cost of living in the town is 20% lower than the Alaskan average driven mostly by the relatively low cost of housing. The median home price is $111,400, while rent is the sixth cheapest in alaska at $855.
Rank Last Year: –
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.9x (29th cheapest)
More On Emmonak: Real Estate
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 2022
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- 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 2016-2020 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 30 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. You can download the data here.
Summary: 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 2022.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Alaska according to the data:
For more Alaska reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Alaska