All so often Missoula's surrounding communities are not mentioned when we talk numbers and stats, so for my year-end reports I picked the three that are close to Missoula. This isn't so much a "neighborhood" report as it is a community or town report. First off, lets start with Lolo. Lolo is just 8 miles south of Missoula via highway 93. It began to grow very rapidly during the boom years of the early 2000's as it was considered a more affordable alternative to Missoula and a very quick trip for commuters. Lolo has grappled with it's growth and maintaining it's small-community feel, their school has gone through vast expansions, and the area has benefited from various commercial property expansion as well. When pulling these numbers for Lolo I'm just including the main community of Lolo and not the residential areas to the west of Lolo down highway 12.
In 2010 the community of Lolo had 42 residential sales with a median sales price of $193,700. For these sold homes the average time on market turned out to be 136 days. The median listing price for these properties was at $194,500 showing a pretty strong 99.5% sales price to listing price. There were just 2 foreclosures sold in 2010.
Jumping forward to 2011 the number of residential sales increased to 60 homes sold, with a median sales price of $199,350. The average time on market for the sold homes was 146 days. The median listing price for these homes was $214,900 showing that homes were selling for 93% of their original listing price. The amount of foreclosures sold jumped up to 10.
The 2010 numbers were a little surprising to me, the lack of overall reduction in price being the main thing. Lolo was driven largely by first time home buyers looking for affordable deals and larger or newer homes than what they could find in some areas in Missoula. Without the tax credit we see that Lolo's 2011 market returned to normal, but ont he good side it's median values went up again. As you can see, it takes a little longer for homes to sell out there, and foreclosures are starting to play a big role in Lolo's market, consisting of 17% of their market in 2011.
For 2012 hopefully Lolo can keep on pace, but the rising number of foreclosure sales makes me wonder if we'll see it receded in median values just a bit. Lolo holds a much stronger local community identity than areas like Bonner and Frenchtown, I believe, and their investment and pride in their community will keep it an attractive alternative for buyers that are looking to get a slight break from Missoula's prices.
Looking quickly at the 12-month window of absorption rates I'm returning 8.6 months worth of active inventory listed for sale right now through the MLS. That's about what I'd expect, it's probably a little low and should rise as the spring gets closer.