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MISSOULA – The Missoula Organization of REALTORS released the 2016 Missoula Housing Report Thursday in a press conference at the DoubleTree in Downtown Missoula, and the report showed increased sales and sales prices in the past year.
For the fifth straight year, the median sales price in the Missoula urban area increased, reaching $238,700 in 2015.  “Median” describes the point at which half the sales are above that price and half are below.  There were 1390 homes sold in 2015, the highest total recorded since 2007.
The largest number of sales last year happened in the segment of the market with homes priced between $200,000 and $275,000.  Supply in that price range is often low and demand can be high.  Many homes in that price range sell quickly, even with multiple offers or offers over asking price.
Among rental properties, despite the creation of a number of new apartment complexes, vacancy rates in Missoula remained below the national average, while the average cost of rent in Missoula increased slightly for nearly every type of unit.
And once again, Missoulians face challenges when it comes to finding attainable, affordable housing.  The “Housing Affordability Index” calculates the median income level at which a family could afford a median-priced home.
Using a typical scenario – interest rate of about 4 percent, down payment of 4 percent – Missoula families would struggle to afford a median-priced home.  Median family income ranges from $43,560 to $62,220, while the income necessary to afford a median-priced home is over $80,000.
On the development side, building permits in the city of Missoula remained steady.  At the same time, subdivisions are at a standstill, with one subdivision approved in 2015.
Data in the report came from a variety of sources, including Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, the Missoula Housing Authority, HomeWord, the City of Missoula and Missoula County.  The report uses the most recent available numbers, which is typically from 2015 but in some cases is from 2014 or 2013.