I know what you’re thinking. Finding affordable housing in every state sucks but Montana is rather unique.
75% of its residents, in a recent Zillow poll, said that affordable housing is probably the No. 1 issue faced by working Montanans. That’s a lot…75%!
According to real estate website Zillow, the typical home price in Montana was $430,000 in January, a slight dip from last summer, but an increase of nearly double in five years. Anecdotal evidence indicates that rents are also a major pain point for many residents, particularly in tight markets around Bozeman, Missoula and the Flathead Valley.
Montana lawmakers have advanced several bills aimed at making at least a dent in the challenges facing renters and aspiring homebuyers finding affordable housing but killed two of those bills, that if they had passed the subcommittee, would have helped tremendously in allowing more good housing options.
The first was House Bill 337, which would have required cities to allow construction on home lots as small as 2,500 square feet. It was sponsored by Rep. Katie Zolnikov, R-Billings.
The second was House Bill 553, which would have required local governments to treat manufactured housing like site-built structures and make it easier to build accessory dwelling units. It was sponsored by Rep. Alice Buckley, D-Bozeman.
While other bills concerning affordable housing passed Senate votes, these two didn’t even make it to the floor. Killed in a subcommittee on February 23!
One has to wonder if the influential NIMBYs (Not in my backyard) landowners had a hand in killing them.
Gary Fleisher, the Modcoach