A Student Renters' Advocacy Organization Providing • Counseling for students experiencing issues with their landlord • The new Neighborhood Ambassador program • The online Housing Finder • Educational programming on rights and responsibilities
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Missoula County building permits in 2011 decreased sharply across all housing types. Single-family housing permits have decreased every year since 2007, standing in 2011 at 85% below the 2007 level. The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011, a yearly release from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, reported a small increase in single-family permits from 2009 to 2010 (the most recent data available) “and substantially larger 10.9% gain in multi-family permits,” consistent with recent activity in the Missoula housing market. The national increase, however, was from a level of permit issuance from 2009 that was the lowest ever recorded.
Rental Occupancy Rentals are an important segment of any housing market, but are especially vital in a university town such as Missoula, where a significant number of students create greater demand for rental housing. Surveys show that Missoula’s rental market share is larger (vs. the owner-occu-
pied housing market) than the rental market share in Montana or the U.S. About half of rental units in the Missoula market area are owner managed. While comprehensive statistics on all rental units are not routinely gathered, the Western Montana Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) gathers monthly information from its member property management firms regarding vacancy rate and rental rates for the units they manage. A normal vacancy rate for a healthy rental market in the U.S. is in the range of 4% to 6%. (Vacant units are defined as currently unoccupied and ready to rent.) Missoula often has a lower rate, probably because our university population exerts continuing product demand. Recently, however, the national vacancy rate has dropped closer to Missoula’s rate, likely owing to households losing their owned homes or failing to meet toughened standards for mortgage loan qualification. Harvard’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2011 noted that the national
Missoula home sales declined in number in 2011, but registered a small increase in median price. 46
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