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Missoula Housing Supply At 'Historically Low Levels'

House for sale.
House for sale.

Missoula’s residential real estate market remains red-hot with home sales up more than 20% from last year. A mid-year report released by local realtors Friday shows historic lows in available housing.

Windermere Real Estate agent Brint Wahlberg didn’t mince words when summarizing Missoula’s real estate market.

“We are at historically low levels of housing supply, to points that we’ve never seen before,” he said.

Wahlberg chairs the group that released The Missoula Organization of Realtors 2020 Mid-Year Missoula Housing Report.

The global pandemic took the wind out of the sails of Missoula’s long-standing hot housing market in April and May, but Wahlberg said COVID-19 only had a fleeting negative impact.

“So Missoula’s sales volume, regardless of the COVID impacts and the slow down in sales volume that we saw in April and May, overall remained up 4.61%,” he said.

This year’s median home sales price in Missoula’s urban area is $337,950, 9% hike over the same period last year.

That’s out of reach for many working Montanans, but far less than the sticker shock felt by prospective home buyers in Gallatin County. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported the median sales price for a single-family home is now over $575,000.

Home prices in Missoula County are 5.5 times as high as the median household income in the area, according to a 2019 report from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana. In Gallatin County, home prices are 4.6 times higher than median household income.

Back in Missoula, supply is not keeping up with demand.

The Missoula Organization of Realtors said 2019 finished just below normal market levels with two-and-a-half months of housing supply. A normal range is sufficient to support three to nine months of demand.

Wahlberg noted there is no conclusive evidence showing out-of-state buyers are snapping up Missoula real estate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.