It comes as no surprise that housing in Missoula is not only very expensive, but also in very short supply.

The Missoula Organization of Realtors held a press conference on Tuesday to provide a snapshot of the current housing situation.

The MOR provided this comment in a press release that capsulizes the current housing situation.

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‘Supply is at an all-time low, with an absorption rate of .64 months. Absorption rate is calculated by dividing the total number of available homes in the market by the number sold in the last month. A normal range is a supply of housing to support three to nine months of demand. The estimated supply gap at year-end, using the mid-point of a normal range and current sales, is a deficit of approximately 640 homes for this point in time.’

Incoming President Mandy Snook provided the opening statement, a portent of things to come for the Missoula housing market.

“I want to be frank with you,” said Snook. “All these numbers are difficult to hear. Data is an essential piece of problem solving and the data is clear, we need more housing. In an effort to provide a comprehensive view of our community, we have added a few new data elements and visualizations. These include information from the city of Missoula as new Homeless Management Information System, more detailed neighborhood maps and an affordability map.”

Local MOR Director Brint Wahlberg began with this explanation of the perfect storm for housing non-affordability.

“Median house prices are at an all time high,” began Wahlberg. “Interest rates are climbing. And then also, reported median incomes in the Missoula area were down. Now why were they down? The reason is because our most recent income data that we retrieved has been influenced by COVID. So you had layoffs and you have retirements, so you have a lot of factors that came into play. So rates up; prices up; incomes down. So it's probably no surprise that we see our affordability index at its lowest point.”

Wahlberg described some of the Missoula neighborhoods that have seen high growth in the past year.

“What we saw was the highest increase in the median sales price last year, which was in the Lower Rattlesnake, where sales prices increased by 50.3 percent. River Road by 40.2 percent. South 39th  by 39.2 percent. “As we were discussing this the other day someone said it's interesting that River Road and South 39th areas which were previously lumped in with a little bit lower median sales price, why are they going up so much? Well, in a market where affordability is an incredible challenge, people are trying to find homes at more affordable price points. Unfortunately, there's more people looking and there's fewer options. And so that points to where we're seeing the most amount of overbid activity, thus the highest amount of real estate prospects.”

Jim McGrath with the Missoula Housing Authority also provided numbers for Missoula’s homeless population.

“In March of 2022, We had 650 homeless people in our system. The one thing you look at people ask why you're doing a survey in January. But aren't there more homeless people in the summer? You can compare to March of last year we had 652. July, the high point we had 655, so maybe there's more people in the summer, maybe not.”

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