MISSOULA – There are no surprises to be found in the latest Missoula Housing Report as prices continue to drive home sales with shoppers scrambling to find homes and sellers continuing to enjoy a robust market.
If you’ve tried to buy a house in the Missoula area in the past few years you know the drill: You find a house in your price range, only to find someone outbids you, or “price creep” puts it out of your budget quickly.
The 2018 Missoula Housing Report released this week shows more of the same — short supplies, especially of “affordable” homes, and higher median house prices.
"So certain price points are very, very fast paced. It’s definitely a seller’s market because they’re seeing multiple offers, competitive situations. Buyers are feeling a little more frustrated because they can’t wait on things," said Brint Wahlberg with the Missoula Organization of Realtors. "They have to submit near, or at full, or sometimes over full price."
The new report shows there were just over 1,500 homes sold in the Missoula market last year, with the median price climbing to a record $268,000, marking the seventh year in a row we’ve seen an increase in prices.
Three years ago the sweet spot in the Missoula market was about $275,000 but the latest report shows that’s gone up by quite a bit and is now well north of $300,000.
"We virtually had no sales under $100,000 at this point — not even condos. So that price creep…has kind of moved everything up a little bit. Especially buyers too, where they’re starting to make that move up," Wahlberg said. "So the $250,000 house — go to the 350, 400 with equity. It’s kind of making that whole thing shift a lot."
While Missoula continues to be a seller’s market, there have been some signs of softening already during the first quarter. Realtors are suggesting that sellers should not get too many dollar signs in their eyes as their setting a price.
But the good news is, if you need to move quickly, there are still willing buyers.
"Sometimes we’re seeing some sellers really test those boundaries. And especially early in this First Quarter of 2018 some of the buyers are kind of rejecting those things a little bit," Wahlberg said.
"So we’re seeing some situations where the buyers are walking away and saying ‘look I’m not going to go to that number that you want. In other situations though as long as those houses are priced accurately and reflect what the market is showing, they’re moving really quick," he added.
The report also shows Missoula rents climbing between 5% and 6% last year.