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Helena housing market in the pandemic: "surprisingly frantic"

Helena housing market
Posted at 6:54 AM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 08:54:01-05

HELENA — Technology in real estate is not new, but the tools to showcase homes virtually have only grown since the pandemic began in March 2020."We do professional photos, we do virtual tours, we do 360 videos, people can essentially walk through the house with this [tech] without being here," says Charlotte Snyder with Most Wanted Real Estate.

Connecting buyers to homes virtually have become more important than ever in this pandemic. Realtors tell MTN that offers for houses are pouring in, and in some cases, even without an in-person visit to the property.

“People are just throwing out offers left and right to try to get into something. I just listed one in Georgetown Lake and I had four offers on it instantly. Two of them did not even see the property," says Snyder.

WEB EXTRA: Helena Housing Market

The Helena Association of Realtors crunched the numbers in its 2020 housing report.

They say the most significant fact they’ve uncovered is the decrease in time a house stays on the market.

In 2018 and 2019, homes averaged over 20 days on the market. That number in 2020 is only ten days.

“Overall, I expected it to be a pretty strong market. I just didn't expect that the turnaround times to be as quick and solid as it was,” says George Harris, CEO of Helena Association of Realtors.

“Our realtors have been extremely busy. So 2020 was really quite an aggressive year in the housing market in Helena."

However, the hot real estate market has brought challenges for some agents. John Rausch with Fire Tower Reality says he hasn't sold a house since November 2020. He credits fewer houses coming onto the market, creating an inventory crunch.

“The challenge is not selling your house, that's gonna be easy, but you gotta find another house to live in. So that's the hard part, being able to affect both sides of your move,” says Rausch. “So when you have a limited number of homes available for sale and a lot of people chasing those homes, it pushes everything north, price-wise."

Helena Association of Realtors says the average sale price for a single-family home increased nearly $30,000 in 2020 to an average of $310,000.

The Helena Association of Realtors doesn’t have the exact cause for the increased demand for housing in Helena. However, it is suspected that employees transitioning to remote work may be a factor.