Snowbirding in Arizona—in Your Own Home
For more than a decade, Peggy Young was a successful real estate agent in Anchorage, the place she called home for a quarter century. She was well known in the community serving as a guest columnist in a local paper and lent her time to many local organizations.
However, for the past ten years, she’s been selling real estate in Arizona. Although she’s thousands of miles away, she hasn’t lost her ties to Alaska—far from it actually. She still sells real estate to Alaskans—but the properties are in Arizona. Young says a large percentage of the homes she sells in Arizona are to Alaskans.
“When I started, little did I know that so many Alaskans were interested in Arizona and I would still be selling real estate to them even though I now live thousands of miles away,” says Young.
It’s no surprise that the weather plays a factor in the Alaskan population boom in Arizona. But, unlike other popular cities such as San Diego, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles, the Phoenix area offers affordable housing options.
For many years, purchasing property in Arizona was a good business investment—whether you lived there or not. Arizona was in a recession and the housing market crashed. Prices were low and owners could quickly build equity. Over the years, Young has worked with many Alaska investors who use the properties as retirement homes or vacation rentals.
“I didn’t realize that I would specialize in helping people from my beloved home state buy and sell property in my adopted state,” says Young.
Peter Brautigam found Young from a recommendation provided by an Anchorage realtor connection. He and his wife were looking for a place to snowbird—live in a warm location during the cold Alaska winters and return in the summer.
“She really understood what we as Alaskans were looking for in terms of a winter home,” says Brautigam. “We had some very specific requirements on what we wanted and she was able to narrow it down.”
Brautigam says Young understood his and his wife’s needs in only the way a fellow Alaskan could understand. For example, they were unwavering in their requirement for lots of windows and light, a desire that fellows Alaskans could sympathize with after living through cold, dark winters.
While having an Alaska connection brought Young business, Brautigam says it helped him, too. “She went above and beyond the call of duty. I think other real estate agents would have given up on us,” he chuckles.
Young has found there are so many Alaskans who live in Arizona, either seasonally or year-round, that there are annual Alaska picnic in a number of communities in the desert, such as Yuma and Sun City Grand where hundreds of part-time or former Alaskans gather to maintain their connection to the last great state.
Young says that, while the market in Arizona has turned around, there are still a number of affordable options, particularly since the housing taxes are about a third to half of what they are in Alaska.
Young maintains her connections to real estate in Alaska because she knows she can be a valuable asset with knowledge of both the Anchorage and Arizona markets. She also appreciates working with people from her home state.
“There’s an instant connection. Many times, there’s only one degree of separation between most Alaskans, so we almost always have common acquaintances or frequented the same locations,” says Young. “I have the ability to use Anchorage neighborhoods to compare to the neighborhoods where my clients are searching for property. It helps that we can speak the same language.”
Peggy Young is a successful real estate agent with Re/Max Fine Properties and has sold in nearly every city within the valley and Phoenix metro valley area. She has family who still live in Alaska and visits often. She can be reached at (480) 241-1040 and [email protected]. Additional information is available at www.peggyyoung.com
Become an Industry Sponsor
In This Issue
Out of the Mine and into the Smelter
Mining has long been a key fixture of Alaska’s economy. On a small scale, people flock to the 49th state to tour different operations. Kennecott Mine was once a booming copper mining site and is now a National Historic Landmark, attracting tourists eager to visit the ghost town and get a feel of the Gold Rush era it once dominated.