A new report suggests that while more multifamily housing has come online in Missoula recently, the amount of commercial space available for businesses is the lowest its been in the past six years.

That's the upshot of the market research being released this week by Sterling CRE, Advisors, which will be presented in a forum later this week.

Every year the commercial real estate firm, which is based in Missoula and Bozeman, looks at commercial real estate vacancies statewide, including office, retail, and industrial facilities. And the group says they've never seen vacancy rates this low since they started collecting data half a dozen years ago.

And the crunch is expected to continue

While Sterling CRE's report shows the "low supply and saturated demand" have pushed up prices for everything from offices to retail, to warehouse space. And because of the time it takes to bring new properties online, they aren't expecting that to change anytime soon.

“The planning and permitting pipeline of new projects is also leaner than it has been in prior years,” she notes. “As a result, vacancy may stall or keep falling as very few new facilities come online in the next 12 - 24 months," says Research Director Sara Townsley.

However, multifamily shows improvement

The report shows that multifamily apartments, condominiums, and other units are climbing at a rate of 2.91% to start the year, with a jump of 2% over last year.

Townsley says the "gridlock" of last year has eased somewhat, with some "breathing room", with more projects lining up for planning and permits.

The firm will present the findings of the Missoula Marketwatch on March 9th at the Missoula Public Library and is welcoming property owners, investors, builders, government officials, and others to hear the details. The event is in-person and will last from 5:00 to 7:30 pm. The event is free but advanced registration is required.

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