The median price of a home in beautiful Missoula, Montana has gone up $53,000 since 2011 and now sits at a quarter million dollars. Meanwhile, median household income holds steady at $47,029. On a 20-year mortgage, the median household must pay 38 percent of its income to live in the median house. On a 30-year mortgage, they pay almost exactly 30 percent. Renters, whose median incomes are much lower, can put 30 percent toward mortgage payments and get a $145,935 loan. There are currently 25 homes listed on Missoula Trulia below that price. Eight of them are auctions.
Missoula has a housing shortage, and it’s working on a permanent underclass. Now that home prices have reached a record high despite low wages, Missoula has become the perfect place to charge other people to live. Whether you sell your house to Californians or put it on our four-percent-vacancy rental market, you’ll find there’s no better place to own a home you don’t live in.
If you insist on living in your house, the all-time high property taxes that happen to coincide with all-time-high home values and all-time-same wages make the deal less sweet. But we can’t have everything. In fact most of us can have very little, and houses aren’t on the list. You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, which has already won me free attacks on my character from realtors. I’ll match honesties with any motherfucker in a red jacket, anytime.