Kalispell Homes Now Cost More Than Missoula
Missoula houses still aren't cheap, with a median home price that hit $520,000 at the end of 2022.
But that's a bargain compared to Kalispell, which has now soared past Missoula for the first time with the most expensive homes in Western Montana.
The comparison was part of the data released Wednesday morning as the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® released its annual "2023 Five Valleys Housing Report."
The report tells a different tale from a year ago, when Realtors described Missoula's housing market as "grim", as the median home price climbed to over half a million dollars for the first time. That was still climbing slowly by the end of the year topping $520,000.
Home sales drop slightly
MOR President-Elect Brint Wahlberg, who has tracked the statistics for years, said home sales were off by 12% at year's end, indicative of a market seeing pressure from higher interest rates and the inflationary economy. But he says the low supply of homes, and bidding at certain price points, were impactful too.
"Our sales volume this past year of 2022 was the lowest we've had since 2012 and 2012 was kind of our last year of coming off the floor from the housing bubble," Brint Wahlberg, MOR
Kalispell homes are now the most expensive in Western Montana
But while Missoula, Helena, Hamilton, and other cities in Western and Central Montana backed off the crazy market conditions of 2021 and '22, that wasn't the case in the Flathead, where the median price passed Missoula for the first time, hitting an astronomical $583,000.
"Don't necessarily know why, I'm not a practitioner in that market," Wahlberg explained. "We didn't really dissect that entire data as to why. But it is quite fascinating to see the Kalispell median price gains have continued to rise where the rest of us, like we've talked about challenges with supply challenges, with interest rates, challenges with migration, and things like that. Kalispell didn't seem to care. They jumped up."
All Californians as out-of-state buyers? No
One other immediate takeaway is that the in-migration of buyers during the pandemic has leveled off a couple of years ago, and changed from when Seattle was the number one market shopping for a home in Missoula.
"The number one market that was looking for homes in the Missoula area was coming out of Phoenix, Maricopa County. We saw Denver there, Seattle still in the top three, Los Angeles."
Supply is still a challenge under $750,000
Yet the report seems to reflect a cautious optimism, that while Missoula still has problems with the supply of affordable housing, it made considerable progress, especially with the end of the market, last year.
READ MORE: Where to sign up for affordable housing in Missoula