SOMETIMES GEOGRAPHY FORCES BUILT-IN LIMITATIONS. That's the case in Anchorage, Alaska, where the Anchorage HBA says the city will run out of developable land in about two years. The HBA delivered this stark assessment at its annual media briefing at the end of March. The trade group predicts that about 500 new single-family homes will be built in the city in 2005, a 40 percent drop from the year before.

Harley Sudsbury, HBA president, says roughly 14 percent of the city's land mass is not developed, about 5,000 acres. Sudsbury says out of that, only about 1,000 acres can be developed, and some of that is marginal.


The land mass in Anchorage is known as the Anchorage Bowl, so-named because of the bowl-shape form of the land. Look at Anchorage on a map and notice the bowl form squeezed between water to the north, west, and south and mountains to the east.

“Much of the land is [undesirable because it is] wetlands and has steep slopes,” Sudsbury points out, adding that the HBA is working with its state legislators to free up the city's remaining land for development. Sudsbury says there's still strong demand in the region for new housing.


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