Can You Feel the Buzz?

By The Missoula Organization of REALTORS®

Perhaps it is the chill in the air, the sunshine, or the wrap-up of holidays spent with families and loved ones, but members of the Missoula community are experiencing an unmistakable buzz in the air.  According to testimonials from Missoula REALTORS®, that buzz is translating into interest in the housing market.

During the January Board of Directors meeting at the Missoula Organization of REALTORS®, discussion focused on consumer confidence. It seems that polls completed in January of this year reflect unanticipated and dramatic positive shifts in consumer confidence and optimism in the economy. Numbers haven’t been so favorable since April of 2007.

  • The Conference Board’s measure of Consumer Confidence rose to its highest level in eight months, indexing 60.6 from 53.3 in December. While polls tend to see optimism in January, that increase far exceeds the increase that economists had predicted.
  • CNN/Opinion Research Polls revealed that 43% of those surveyed thought things were going well in the country. That is up 14% since December. The number of those surveyed that believe things are going badly dropped from 71% to 56% in that same amount of time.
  • In a Pew Research Center poll, they found that the percentage of those who said they were hearing mostly bad news dropped from 42% to 24% since last summer. The drumbeat of bad economic news in the media is lessening and consumers have taken note.

These national polls tell us that the buzz we’re feeling goes beyond Missoula or Montana. It seems consumers in the United States are beginning to feel better about the economy and the direction that we’re heading; so what does this mean for us?


  • Companies have been earning profits, but have been reluctant to spend that capital expanding operations or product lines. These high levels of consumer confidence might be just the incentive they need to move forward.
  • Pending home sales improved further in December, marking the fifth gain in the past six months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.


  • Many economists say that the housing market will stabilize when affordability has been regained. Using the 2010 median price of $202,500; a four person household can afford a home for the first time since 2003! It’s an exciting step in the market locally.
  • The Best Place Project, initiated by Mayor Engen, has garnered widespread community support and is moving forward. The project is looking at long term goals of increasing economic diversity and bringing high paying jobs to Missoula.

As with many things, we can only surmise how the increased consumer confidence will translate to improvements in our community in the long term. However, we can recognize that it is a positive next step as we move out of the Great Recession.  Back to the Real Estate home page.


Diane Beck has been selling real estate in Missoula for over 20 years.  Her knowledge, experience and commitment to the community has placed her in the forefront of the real estate market.  Diane is serving the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® as their 2011 President and she continues to strive for the best interests of their members, community and her clients.