Posted: Jun 4, 2013 8:30 AM by Jacqueline Quynh - MTN News
MISSOULA - You can't drive through many Missoula area neighborhoods these days without seeing one for sale sign after another and a lot of sold signs, too.
There's no doubt, the housing market has turned a corner and is heading back in the right direction for many homeowners.
The Missoula housing market is once again hot with home prices jumping nearly 15% in April, while the number of sales is now at a five-year high.
So, for those of you in the market, is it a buyer's or seller's market?
"Today is the best market I've seen," Kevin Bailey, Exit Realty Missoula owner Kenin Bailey said.
He took a risk and joined the realty business just as the housing market collapsed. So, he has some perspective on what a bad housing market looks like - and this is not it.
"There's a shortage of inventory in the $250,000 and less market and with the increase of activity there have been a lot of people who have decided to get back into real estate," Bailey said.
That means if you're a buyer, you'll have to be pre-qualified and ready to move, and that may not even be enough.
"It's been a very strong buyer's market over the last five years and as of lately there have been a lot of multiple offer situations, and sellers are getting their asking price or more," Bailey said.
"One property, there were six offers by noon, so that was pretty crazy," Matt Pickett said.
Pickett has been shopping around for a couple months to find a single family home. He says it hasn't been easy, he's found good listings, but in some cases he's been outbid.
"There's a lot of people making bids on good properties for sure," Pickett said.
But while Pickett is trying to beat other buyers to the punch, Lenora Larson had the opposite experience, "it was on the market 40 days."
Austin James with the Missoula Organization of Realtors says part of the growth is due to banks easing up.
"The ratings of interest rates have changed in the last four years, you're also seeing a great climate, to buy," James said.
So with more people feeling comfortable to buy, people like Lenora don't have to wait too long to find a buyer.
As the market heats up, the realtors we talked with offered up some tips for those looking to buy a home:
Get pre-qualified, and be ready to make an offer, a hold-up could cost you a home
Know your price range and what you're looking for
Take a very narrow snap shot of the neighborhood, and be careful of national averages
The Missoula Organization of Realtors reports that Missoula area home values did not fall as much as the nation in recent years. Locally, the drop was only 6%, as opposed to 30%, which realtors say is a sign that the area is closer to returning back to our normal market levels.
The average price for a gome in the Missoula area is nearly $235,000, according to the Missoula Organization of Realtors.