Despite rising mortgage rates, housing market up in Missoula

MISSOULA COUNTY

Faith Cronin By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
POSTED: 10:41 PM Aug 28 2013   UPDATED: 10:42 PM Aug 28 2013
Despite rising mortgage rates, housing market up in Missoula
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The U.S. housing market is gaining traction and the numbers we found show Missoula isn't far behind.

Realtors tell NBC Montana they're much busier than they were a year ago and we wondered why.  Interest rates are up so we wanted to find out what spurred this new buying trend.

Realtor Shannon Hilliard has been selling homes in the Missoula area for nearly 10 years and she tells us she's excited about how busy she's been this year.

“We're at kind of a historic time right now where interest rates are low and prices are low,” Hilliard tells us.  “We saw competitions again this spring and we saw things going for over asking -- I had one competition where we bid $15,000 over the asking price and we got beat.”

Hilliard tells us it's an encouraging sign coming off the depressed market that developed in 2008.

“The number of sales went down significantly and a lot of realtors got out of the market,” she says.  “At that point the people selling were the people that had to sell.”

Despite a recent increase in mortgage rates people are buying .  Even though the cost of borrowing is up the rates are still lower than they were before the housing bubble burst.

We tracked the history -- in 2006 rates sat at around 6.2 percent, while today mortgage rates are available at 4.6 percent.

Hilliard says part of the reason people are buying homes now is because they have a pent-up desire to buy the home they’ve been putting off buying for years.  

“They want to own their own home, they want to rip up carpet, they want to paint the walls and have a pet if they want,” says Hilliard.  “People are no longer afraid to buy a home.”

NBC Montana pulled the numbers from the Missoula Organization of Realtors: In July 2008 realtors in the Missoula area sold 110 homes.  Just two years later that number dropped to 84 homes.

In July of this year Missoula area realtors sold a whopping 157 homes -- nearly double the number of sales from three years ago.

To review the full Missoula Organization of Realtors report, click here.