Billings, Montana is on a list for Top 5 housing markets once again. The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com just released their list of "The Top 20 Emerging Housing Markets for Summer 2022. Billings came in at number five, right behind Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Here's the top 5:

  1. Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.
  2. Burlington, N.C.
  3. Johnson City, Tenn.
  4. Fort Wayne, Ind.
  5. Billings, Mont.

One year ago, Billings was number one in the nation for emerging housing markets.

Despite a rise in interest rates, and a slowing of the US economy, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Many Americans are still moving to suburban and low-cost areas with strong economies as remote or hybrid work remain options for some. High prices and rising mortgage rates have slowed down the housing market and pushed smaller and more affordable areas to the top spots for the hottest new places to live and own property.

Just this week I was chatting with Evelyn Pyburn from the Big Sky Business Journal about the real estate markets in Billings and in Montana. You couldn't say the bubble burst, but she says realtors she is talking to are certainly saying things are levelling off.

I also caught up with Dr. Pat Barkey from the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He is just about to embark upon his tour of Montana for the mid-year economic outlook seminar series. Barkey told me that affordable housing is one of the key issues in Montana right now.

He also says the big news is how strong Montana's economy has performed and how much revenue is coming in to the State of Montana.

Dr. Barkey: We don't have the data for June yet. Income tax collections for the state of Montana were up 35% from a year ago levels, and that followed a year where they were up by over 30%. So that is very, very strong growth.

As for housing:

Dr. Barkey: I think the extra craziness of the real estate market starting at the end of 2020 and continuing to ramp into the Spring of this year, that's not sustainable and that's wearing off. But I think the problem is, is that big surge of demand exposes the fact that a lot of Montana communities are not building enough housing. And it's very acute in the faster growing areas, but I'll tell you all parts of Montana have their own kinds of housing issues.

Full audio with Dr. Barkey:

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