The Missoula Organization of Realtors released their 2018 Missoula Housing Report on Tuesday during a press conference at the Doubletree Hotel and the two takeaways are higher home prices and a tighter rental market.

Coordinating Committee member Brint Wahlberg of Windermere Real Estate provided the highlights of the report.

“In 2017, Missoula continued its pace ahead where a new record was set for sale of residential properties at 1,543, and that shattered the ceiling of where we were in 2016 with a 5.5 percent volume increase,” said Wahlberg. “What we also saw was an increase in the median sales price for a home in Missoula of a similar amount of about five percent which translates to $268,250, and that’s an all time high. That’s good news and bad news. If you’re a homeowner looking to sell its great news, but if you’re looking to buy, you’re really feeling the pressure. What you’re noticing is that homes at a certain price point are beginning to vanish. When you get to $200,000 and under you’re just not finding what we call single family detached houses.”

Wahlberg said there were some encouraging signs in the report.

“Our market supply has ticked up a little bit,” he said. “Most of last year it was under supply, which meant a sellers market. This year, while it’s still favorable to sellers it has moved back into the normal range again with about three months worth of supply.”

Wahlberg described what is termed the ‘affordability index’.

“That’s where we take the median price of a house, the reported interest rate at the end of the year, and then we look at the median incomes in the area by household size, and as no surprise, Missoula’s affordability index is not that great,” he said. “When we took a buyer with a five percent down payment or with a 20 percent down payment the affordability index actually took a small tick up. The reason being that Missoula’s reported wages took a small tick up and the interest rates were a little better than they were before.”

Wahlberg said Missoula’s real estate market is similar to the rest of the country in that prices are increasing while for the most part inventory is decreasing.

Wahlberg said rental vacancy rates have stayed very tight, at between two and three percent.

The entire report can be read here.