MISSOULA, Mont. - A recent report shows that less than one percent of apartments are vacant, leaving Missoulians with not many options.
When a housing market is normal, or at equilibrium, four percent of apartments are available. Missoula is currently at less than a fourth of that at .95%.
Matt Mellott, Sterling Commercial Real Estate advisor, said this is caused by multiple factors, like Missoula's growth, challenges in finding land to build on and city permit delays. This low availability means rent prices can go up and renters will have less options.
"There's just not enough turnover in the market, and not enough availability for people to make normal choices, where they go out and you've got maybe five choices to pick from," Mellott said. "If you get one [apartment], you have multiple people putting in applications in on a single property and your choices are severely restricted."
Mellott advised renters to look at listings daily, have rental references ready and be prepared to get their credit checked as soon as a new listing is posted.
The good news for Missoula is over 400 unites are expected to finish being built in 2021.
Mellott said other Montana cities are seeing similar trends. Bozeman is also facing low apartment availability, and while Billings isn't quite as tight, demand is picking up.