CAn I still get land in Alaska for cheap?
March 21, 2004 4:55 PM   Subscribe

My Dad, who worked as a social worker for natives in southern Alaska for the year of 1963, says at the time there was a program wherein you could get for free 150 acres of your choice of undeveloped land, if you helped establish civilization there by building a cabin etc., then IIRC after a couple of years paid a relatively small fee. Someone he'd met had a free island 3 days by boat from civilization. And, of course, large parts of the state were up for dollars or even cents an acre anyway. But now even more remote smallish Alaskan islands are sold in the millions, and I hear nothing about obscenely low land prices anymore. What has happened? Has that program disappeared, and why? Have private interests bought up all of thousands of acres of tundra (certainly not using it all!)? It's an interesting economic phenomenon, a ten-thousandfold (or infinityfold) property value growth.
posted by abcde to Grab Bag (8 answers total)

According to that website (I googled for "free alaska land government"), that government program ended in Alaska in 1986.
posted by m-bandy at 5:30 PM on March 21, 2004

Thanks. That answers that part
posted by abcde at 5:44 PM on March 21, 2004

In second or third grade (which would have been around 1979-1981), I remember reading a story about modern homesteaders starting a town on government lands somewhere in the west -- I assume reading this thread that perhaps it was meant to encourage what was probably a fading activity. Does anyone else remember something like this?

(Or perhaps the government realized we could fund other things with the desire for land, and we'd reached a turning point between where land in remote areas was a wilderness to be conquered and land was a scarce commodity. )
posted by weston at 5:55 PM on March 21, 2004

florida still has homesteading in the everglades portions of the state. most people where i live can get homestead rebates even though it hasn't been a homestead for 50 years.

the problem is that most of the land that's usable (near roads or canals) has already been bought. there are rivers down here that are hours away from most civilization that already have a few acres to either side bought and paid for for its entire length.

real estate is weird.
posted by taumeson at 7:04 AM on March 22, 2004

Texas still has homestead exemptions as well. You have to know to apply for it...but it does make a difference. The exemption removed about 30K of appraisal value from my house, which lowered my taxes by a few hundred dollars.
posted by dejah420 at 1:23 PM on March 22, 2004

related to this, I heard the other day that alaska is so grossly underpopulated that every resident gets paid ~$2000, just to live there. That sounded like something that couldn't be right, but is there any truth to it?
posted by rorycberger at 7:24 PM on March 22, 2004

You don't get the money because Alaska underpopulated. You get the money because there's a big-ass pipeline transporting oil and gas through the state. The pipeline is owned by the public and the public gets the profits from it. No joke.
posted by kindall at 9:52 PM on March 22, 2004

Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend FAQ. There are certain eligibility requirements (e.g. if you go away too long, you may no longer qualify), and a formula for the dividend, so it is slightly different every year -- presently, roughly in the $2000 range.

The pipeline, by the way, is privately owned; the dividend is paid out of an endowment funded by a royalty tax on the oil pumped from all sources in the state, and isn't specifically tied to the pipeline.
posted by dhartung at 12:20 AM on March 23, 2004

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