In mid-October, qualifying Alaskans received their annual "Permanent Fund" distribution- at least for those who had direct deposit to their account. This year it was $1,281. Last year, the 2009 check was for $1,305.
For the past 29 years (yes! 29 years) the payment has gone up and down each year based on the five-year average of the fund's performance, varying widely depending on the stock market and other factors that influence the fund portfolio. Checks usually vary between $900 and $1,800 annually.
All Alaskan residents know that there is a boost in retail sales in October. Business traditionally spikes up for retailers of automobiles, snow machines, computers, furniture, vacations and various Christmas shopping.
Realtors know that a family of five could pool their deposits and have 5% down for a modest starter home. Really, talk about a gift that keeps on giving that the whole family will enjoy.....!
I am in touch with a lot of real estate agents, both across the companies in Anchorage and of course Keller Williams, my own company. I am sure there are some, but I haven't heard of any sales that occurred because the family got their annual distribution. In years past, there were certainly sales at permanent fund time.
One fairly good thing is that the State's top banks are reporting that bank deposits are on the rise. This report is keeping in line with a national trend for savings. With times not necessarily bad, but no clear direction on how long the slower times might go on, the trend is for people to save. I understand the trend completely. Saving like the ant who saved all summer for the winter; Or the old saying "saving for a rainy day", which we all hope won't come. It's not a bad habit to re-learn.