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Missoula Market Continues Stronger Than National Average But Still Down 17%

NAR (National Association of Realtors) released national figures on Tuesday that show home sales plummeted more than 27% . This is the largest drop nationally, in one month for as far back as 1968.

Obviously, some disparities show up when looking at the Missoula market. The drop locally was less severe, but there was a drop of 17%.  The Missoula Organization of Realtors released it’s figures last week showing a dip in sold homes from 99 sales in 2009 to 82 this year in July.

Overall what does that mean to Missoula home sellers today? The market is still correcting after the huge gains made a few years ago, and the median price is leveling out from $244,000 in 2008 to $223,000 today.  The tax incentive for new home buyers brought a flurry of sales in April May and June and since then have started to slow.

But it is not all doom and gloom here locally, we are still experiencing the lowest mortgage rates in decades and there are still some incentives out there for new home buyers. Sellers are beginning to understand that the overinflated prices of a few years ago are not realistic – even if their neighbor sold for much higher than they can expect today. It’s a harsh reality, but sellers are adjusting.

Equally a lot of buyers weren’t interested in a “deal” but rather a “steal” and that is not realistic today either.

While other areas of the nation have experienced a huge foreclosure market and huge declines in values like the 35% in the Midwest, 30% in the Northeast, 25% in the West and 23% in the South seen in July alone, Missoula has remained stable.

Buyers are learning that foreclosures and short sales are not an easy route to home ownership. The delays that have been prevalent in short sales have tied buyers up for as long as 6 months … being in a contract and yet not able to close. While the homes in foreclosure have provided a financial incentive with their lower prices, they too have had numerous problems with closing on the properties because of improper filing/recording of deeds, which too have delayed closings by as much as 8 months.

So as the market continues to adjust we are seeing more realistic expectations from both sellers and buyers which will ultimately lead to a healthier market in Missoula.

About the author

Sherry Fields Sherry Fields has been working in real estate since 2002. Working with the development team for the Hilton Garden Inn gave her strategic information on the commercial real estate market in Missoula. Broadening her scope she moved into the residential market and earned the designation SFR in short sales and foreclosures. Currently affiliated with Prudential Montana Real Estate, she works with both buyers and sellers "building relationships so you can buy & sell with confidence". Sherry Fields has recently earned the CREN designation - Certified Real Estate Negotiator. While price is a large part of negotiation - it is also about timing everything from the closing date to inspections, appraisals, home insurance - and it is about negotiating items that can show up in home inspections to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome.

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