A commercial real estate firm in Missoula has released a new analysis saying population, income and rent prices all rose in the county in 2020. Analysts say that it will take time for the housing market to catch up.
Sterling CRE, a commercial real estate firm in Missoula, says the average price to buy an apartment unit in a multifamily building went up 54% last year to $136,000. The average rent also shot up 5.5% to $931 a month.
"What happened in Missoula is exactly opposite of what happened in most major metros," said Sterling CRE's Matt Mellott. "Typically, especially in more urban dense environments, vacancy rates went up and lease rates went down."
Mellott is an advisor for the firm and says the difference in Missoula County is that there are a lot of people in the market for a home and not enough homes to go around.
Population growth also continued despite the pandemic and job losses, but the population grew at a slightly lower rate than the year before. More than 123,000 people now live in Missoula County.
Mellott says the housing industry is seeing the signals that it’s time to increase construction, but planning and building new units will take time. One of the biggest hurdles is the high cost of lumber, which has been an issue throughout the pandemic.
The median household income also rose 5.5% in 2020, to $56,765. Mellott said that in a pandemic and a recession, that’s "a little counterintuitive, on the whole."