Helena’s Housing Shortage

The Housing Need

Helena, Montana, is a special place to live, with many outdoor attractions, art, recreation, and more. This growing area boasts incredible scenery, several large lakes, a strong sense of community, and the possibility of numerous adventures while retaining its small-town feel. Helena is located between two of the best National Parks in America, Glacier & Yellowstone. It is known for its historical buildings, miles of trails, mountain biking, hiking, boating, hunting, and fly-fishing on the numerous creeks and rivers. Tucked against the Continental Divide, Helena boasts thousands of acres of parkland and wilderness areas in all directions. These features, along with recent television shows highlighting Montana, have helped to propel the city’s recent housing boom.

Housing is needed
As the State Capital, Helena’s biggest provider of jobs is the Local, State, and Federal Governments followed by the medical industry with its hospitals and facilities scattered throughout the City.  According to the Montana Business Assistance Connection (MBAC) and their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) report, housing issues directly affect workforce development, attraction, and retention.  According to this report, one of Lewis and Clark County’s consistent weaknesses is the lack of affordable and attainable housing for current and future residents. This major economic weakness was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and increased costs due to inflation and increased mortgage rates.
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Lack of Housing Effects Businesses

Local businesses and communities are finding it harder and harder to attract and hire local workers due to the lack of available housing. Looking at almost any store today, you will find “We’re Hiring” signs in the front windows, limited hours due to a lack of employees, or limited restaurant menus. The lack of available housing across Lewis and Clark County hinders economic growth and makes it difficult to attract and retain critical industries and more prominent companies into the region. Without adequate housing, local businesses, including our medical facilities, are struggling to find qualified and skilled workers.   As well, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to retain their current workforce or recruit new talented out-of-state workers due to increased housing costs.

According to the MBAC & CEDS report, local communities are seeing an influx of new residents migrating to their region throughout Montana. Because of this, communities have difficulty keeping up with increasing housing costs and a lack of attainable housing for existing residents.  Over the last several years, low inventory and high demand for single-family homes have driven housing costs in Helena to a median price of nearly $500,000.  This equates to a 73% increase over the past 3 years.  With the arrival of new home buyers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Helena housing market has had fewer listings and more competition further driving up prices.

Westside Woods Provides Needed Housing

Our vision for Westside Woods is to help fill this housing gap by providing a variety of single-family and condo units for residents with varying budgets and income levels. Condos have become increasingly popular with younger first-time buyers and senior populations due to their lower prices and minimal maintenance requirements.  Equally important, there will be smaller, more affordable single-family homes on the north end of the property and larger, more expensive homes on the south end. This will provide a mix of housing types and densities spread throughout the subdivision creating a cohesive neighborhood. With pocket parks, improved trails connecting existing neighborhoods and parks, and minimal topography disruption, our intent is to connect to the essence of what we love about Helena.

It will take time to lower housing costs in Helena, especially when it is surrounded by other fast-growing communities like Bozeman and Kalispell, which drive up the Montana housing demand. In Helena, this subdivision will help alleviate the housing shortage that we are currently experiencing, which is driving away employees and raising home costs.

3051 Cabernet Dr, Ste 5
Helena, MT 59601

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