Latest Community Research Quarterly holds some good news for Fairbanks economy

Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 9:49 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Positive economic news for the Fairbanks North Star Borough, as the newest issue of Community Research Quarterly (CRQ) was released in August 2023.

The CRQ, issued every three months since 1978, keeps track of a variety of trends in the borough from housing prices to employment.

August’s issue covers the first quarter of 2023, spanning January to March.

During that time, bed tax revenues were at the highest levels ever seen for the first quarter. This follows record-breaking annual bed-tax revenues for 2022.

According to Stephanie Pearson, Community Research Technician with the borough, the bed tax rate hasn’t gone up since at least 2017. “The Purpose of the Community Research Quarterly is to provide the citizens of the borough with an unbiased treasure trove of data that they can use for many things, whether that be for grant funding, project planning, how to figure out how much rent they want to charge for their Mother-In-Law apartment.”

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate continues to be below the levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, not all news was necessarily positive.

The Interior continues to see housing shortages, with rental housing in particular at a low level of stock.

The numbers have slightly improved, as is expected during winter months. However, they are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.

According to Pearson, in December 2019, 600 rentals of all sorts were listed as available.

In December of 2022, that number was 265. “There are still a lot of annual new structures by unit being built, that has been shifted toward the North Pole area. Then the City of North Pole proper has more structures being built there than in the City of Fairbanks area currently. Obviously the balance of the borough always has more being built in them, but we’ve seen a definite shift toward the North Pole area ever since 2017, 2018.”