Park County community report pins housing as a looming worry
A recent survey of residents in one of central Montana’s most in-demand regions found affordability and growth among the biggest concerns.
The report shows the majority of respondents worry about a shortage of housing in Park County and the inability to afford the housing that is available.
More than half of the 800-some residents who responded to the Park County Community Foundation’s survey are in Livingston, with the remainder scattered across the county.
The report is a product of Foundation’s We Will Park County, a citizen-driven initiative that outlines a vision for the community and explores challenges, data and community opinions.
Foundation executive director Gavin Clark says the survey flagged a growing gap between average pay and cost of living, with residents expressing doubt over whether they can afford to stay in the county long term.
“When asked about the future of Park County, I think a lot of these open-ended responses were filled with fear and anger and blame and worry,” he said.
The report cites local data that show Park County home prices have increased 168% over the last 7 years — the cost of living is about $78,000 annually, but the average income is $53,000.
Clark says the Park County Community Foundation will conduct the survey yearly and is currently planning the 2023 timeline.