The Hidden Snags of Selling Kenai River Real Estate

When it comes to selling Kenai River real estate agents are faced with the task of addressing the often unrealistic expectation of the sellers. Too often Kenai River homeowners believe the real estate tales instead of asking for the facts. In this post we will explore a few common misconceptions regarding Kenai River Real Estate. Hopefully this will help our sellers avoid getting caught on a snag.
Soldotna Real Estate For Sale

Kenai River Real Estate Snag #1: The best time to market my home is during the summer.

The numbers don’t add up! In fact over half of the Kenai River real estate sold when the ground was frozen. It is true that May and June are the busiest months with 6 of the 17 recent sales. But 7 of the sales happened before May and only 4 Kenai River homes sold after June.

1st Quarter Sales 5

2nd Quarter Sales 10

3rd Quarter Sales 3

4th Quarter Sales 1

The best time to sell a Kenai River home is starting January 15 after Christmas vacation travel. The bulk of the action happens before the fish start to run. Kenai River home buyers spend a lot of money to live on the river and want to be able to fish. They understand the seasons and plan their shopping around it.

Kenai River Real Estate Snag # 2: The average days on market is 75 days.

On average it takes about 151 days for a Kenai River Home to sell. That does not include the number of expired or cancelled listings. On average it takes two years to sell a river home. Well priced homes in good condition can sell in as little as ten days. Others sit on the market for up to five years while the homeowners fish for a buyer. Year after year they list during the summer and fall off in the winter. When they finally sell you only see the last listing. Not the years or numerous price reductions.

Kenai River Real Estate Snag # 3: People want to spend top dollar to live on the Kenai River.

Over half of the recent Kenai River homes sales were less than $400,000. The Kenai River real estate market is composed of vacation home market, local folks and lodges. Kenai River homes that do sell above $400,000 are contemporary, feature rich homes with upgraded amenities and are in excellent condition. None were fixer uppers and some included furniture, fixtures and equipment.

In the last twelve months 17 river properties closed or are pending.

  • $999,000 to $900,000 – 2 Sales
  • $899,000 to $700,000 – 0 Sales
  • $699,000 to $600,000 – 2 Sales
  • $599,000 to $500,000 – 3 Sales
  • $499,000 to $400,000 – 0 Sales
  • $399,000 to $300,000 – 6 Sales
  • $299,000 to $200,000 – 2 Sales
  • $199,000 to $150,000 – 2 Sales, they have a view of or access to the Kenai River

Kenai River Real Estate Snag #4: It doesn’t matter if I overprice my home. Someone will make an offer.

Home buyers in Kenai and Soldotna don’t negotiate, they buy. It is hard to explain but generally most buyers have an expectation of value and price based upon their research online. Buyers have more information about the sales history and comparable sales than at any point in the history of real estate in this country. They are aggressively comparison shopping homes. Most homes sells for about 97% of asking price.  There were roughly 48 active Kenai River listings and only seventeen sold. The buyers could be picky.

Kenai River Real Estate Snag #5: Buyers want to be on the Kenai River so badly that they will overlook the fact that my house is junk.

At the time I wrote this article there were forty eight Kenai River homes listed for sale. In the last 12 months only 17 actually sold or pended. So we have a 2.8 year supply of Kenai River real estate. Buyers want a quality asset. Kenai River real estate is often an investment or second home. They do not want to buy someone else’s problem. And with a 2.8 year supply of Kenai River Homes they don’t have to settle for subpar properties with construction defects or deferred maintenance.


All experienced fishermen know the difference between fishing and catching. Unfortunately many of our local homeowners choose to go fishing instead of selling their Kenai River home. They spend years fishing for buyers before realizing that they are not getting any bites. Only after adjusting the price and condition do most finally land a sale.


The Kenai River real estate market is in flux. The low returns for Kenai King Salmon has not helped the sale of high dollar river homes. Most fish charter companies have a very hard time booking Red Salmon only charters. Consequently the Kenai River lodges suffer as well.


This is further complicated by sellers setting their pricing and expectation at a very different level than the expectations of buyers, particularly those from the lower 48.  At the same time, buyers are often not familiar with the cost of maintaining the river bank on the Kenai River and are surprised by the continuing regulation and accompanying maintenance.


As with all important decisions, knowledge is power. If you have questions on the value of your Kenai River home or are considering buying call us today to get the real story. 907 252 2743

The Overdue Reality Check For Kenai River Real Estate

Kenai River Real EstateOn the river the ice is breaking up and taking a few unrealistic expectations with it. Lets take a look back at Kenai River real estate and homes for sale from January 1 to April 23, 2013. Five Kenai River homes have sold to date in 2013 and there are 34 actively for sale. In all of 2012 15 Kenai River properties sold. We can justifiably say we are off to a marvelous start in 2013


But hold up, lets look at the pricing. One Kenai River home sold for $5,000 more than it did less than 2 years ago. Another sold for $119,000 less than it was listed for in 2011, and a 3rd property sold for $134,000 less than it was listed for . At the time this post was written there are two river homes pending in the $300,000 to $350,000 range. As you can see, Kenai River real estate is making a market correction, if it is truly interested in selling. Kenai River real estate is not worth what is used to be


Some of the homes have been on a listing marathon. I can see one has been on the market since 2008, another since 2009, couple of 2010’s and a large group of homes listed between 2011 and 2012. My favorite was listed in 04, 05, 06, 07,09, 10,12. Don’t be discouraged folks, this just means the price of this home has not reached market level or market level has refused to reach the price of the home.


Regardless, we are seeing more homes make a market correction in pricing. I watched one current listing make a $600,000 correction-price reduction and another drop $620,000. With this said it is beginning to look like we are reaching an awareness in the market about where properties will sell. That it takes more than a river front lot, it takes a price that reflects the correct value for location, age and condition.


Buyers are no longer in love with just the river.  With an average sales price $100,000 to $350,000 over the area average, the homes need to sell themselves as much as the location.  Particularly if the homeowner can’t fish because of river closures. Buyers expectations far exceed mistakes like “expensive” listings with formica counter tops and the laundry in the kitchen which is next to the front door. If this is your thing, the home is still for sale.


Sale Volume & Price
(1) 500-550,000
(2) 450-499,000
(1) 300-350,000
(1) 200,000-250,000
(1) 199,000-150,000

Kenai River Real Estate Is Not Worth What It Used To Be!

Kenai River Alaska

I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had in the past few weeks about Kenai River Homes. Kenai River real estate be it homes or vacant land have been strongly influenced by national economic cycles. The strong price appreciation in early to mid 2000’s was driven by discretionary income and investments, often out of state 1031 exchange money. This money pushed river pricing to a point of refusal for many buyers. As a result Kenai River property values and the volume of sales have dropped during the market correction.

This article was written to review the 2012 market activity. For current information please visit the Kenai River Real Estate main page. The market activity and prices have increased with a strong recovery in 2013 and 2014.

The Good News: We are seeing signs of a recovery as the national real estate market slowly improves and a return in qualified buyers to the Kenai River.

The Numbers: a nonscientific sample

Sold Lots: In the last 12 months 13 Kenai River lots have sold with widely varying pricing. The sales ranged from 82.49 acres for $1,050,000 to .42 acres for $80,000.
Active Lots: On the market currently are 25 Kenai River Lots ranging from 14.35 acres for $2,290,000 to .07 acres for $29,900.

Sold Homes: In the last 12 months 12 homes have sold, one was a lodge for $750,000. Kenai River homes sales range from $575,000 to $200,000.
Active Homes: There are currently 29 Kenai River real estate and homes for sale. The listing range from $1,800,000 to $125,000 for a cabin .16 acre.

 We cautiously expect to see a positive improvement in the number of sales and a gain in sales prices. If you would like to learn more about purchasing or selling Kenai River real estate please contact us or call 907 252 2743.

By Glenda Feeken Broker and Owner of RE/MAX of the Peninsula and lead for TEAM FEEKEN

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Alaska MLS data last updated at April 30, 2017 1:22 PM AKT