Juneau Rated Number One in Cost-Of-Living

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by Russ Slaten

Many people already know that Alaska is an expensive state to live, but a recent study revealed Juneau as the most expensive city in Alaska.

The state study looked at many different costs, with the highest expenses being housing, transportation, groceries, and utilities.

The largest single cost increase was energy, which brought up the prices for both housing and transportation.

Rural areas have higher fuel and grocery prices, and Fairbanks may be the city with highest utilities costs, but Juneau's high housing costs-- along with a few other factors-- make it the most expensive city in Alaska.

The average home in Anchorage was valued at $329,000 making it the pricest city average in the state. Juneau's average home value was $321,000, but the state's study showed homes are less affordable in Juneau because it would take 1.6 average household incomes to pay for a home. In Anchorage, it requires 1.4 paychecks to buy a house.

Additionally, Anchorage has relatively affordable heating with access to natural gas, but because Juneau largely uses fuel oil to heat homes it drove up costs. Utilities factor into place, making Fairbanks the second most expensive city to live in Alaska-- which also saw the highest consumer utilities price index in the nation.

State Economist Neal Fried said one factor that makes the numbers a little more unpredictable is the cost of energy.

"We are a bigger consumer of that because it takes more energy here. Generally, first of all to get moved goods in a transportation sense. It's also the kind of weather we have we're gonna consume more energy than they do in most other places," said Fried.

The cost of energy in Anchorage rose from 2010 to 2011 by nearly 11 percent, but saw about an 8 percent decrease from 2008 to 2009.

Juneau rates 10th in the US, with New York City, Honolulu, and San Francisco as some of the most expensive places to live in the nation.

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