Missoula’s Trendy Real Estate Market Makes This Agent’s Job More Difficult

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Mindy Palmer, real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway Montana Properties in Missoula, Montana.  (Courtesy of Mindy Palmer)
Mindy Palmer of Berkshire Hathaway Montana Properties. (Photo courtesy of Palmer)

“The Missoula real estate market is not for the faint of heart,” said Mindy Palmer, real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway Properties Montana Real Estate in Missoula, Montana.

Fueled in part by Americans’ desire for larger homes in less densely populated areas during the pandemic, house prices in Ravalli County, where Palmer works, have skyrocketed.

“I would say not a day goes by without someone commenting to me, ‘Oh, you must be loving this market right now. You have to make money hand in hand, ”said Palmer. “And I’ve always stopped them there and, God help them, they get my elevator talk every time, and it’s, ‘No, it’s not a nice deal… it’s a challenge. “”

With so few properties available for sale, Palmer said there was competition among realtors unlike anything she had experienced in over 20 years in the industry.

“There are 855 members in the Missoula County Realtors Organization,” Palmer said. “Currently there are 177 residential homes for sale. [It] you don’t have to be a math genius to understand that you have competition with your buyers.

Nationally, demand for homes exceeds supply.

According to data from the US Census Bureau last week, new home sales in June fell to the lowest level since the first months of the pandemic. Many people want to buy homes, but high prices and limited inventory discourage potential buyers.

Earlier this year, Palmer told Marketplace that first-time buyers – the type of customer she started her business with – were increasingly remote from downtown Missoula. In mid-2021, she said the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

To help a client find a home to buy in time to vacate their rental, she said they would drive 150 to 275 miles round trip just to see one or two properties.

“You work twice as hard for the same amount of money,” she said. “But when your customer gets the house, when you find something for that first buyer, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

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