by Travis Mateer
A “boom town” is defined as a town facing rapid growth due to sudden prosperity. The historical context usually has to do with the discovery of a precious commodity, like gold. Once the discovery was made, the boom was on.
Zoom Towns aren’t that much different than Boom Towns. The main difference is this: instead of something like gold driving the growth, it’s the town itself that has become the precious commodity. This was highlighted in ANOTHER article about the skyrocketing costs of housing in Missoula:
Kier also noted that the housing-price situation has a huge effect on the Missoula economy.
“Housing supply is at record lows,” he said. “The cost of construction is up and the median sales price hit $350,000. That ‘Zoom town’ thing hit Missoula really hard.
Grant Kier is one of those worthless people who gets trotted out from his perch at the Missoula Economic Partnership to state the obvious for the newspapers. If you want to know what this dude is SUPPOSED to be doing, here is some context from MEP’s about page:
The Missoula Economic Partnership expands prosperity and improves quality of life by engaging in strategic business development, creating pathways for people to realize their potential, and fostering our culture of diversity and innovation.
All these quasi-government partnerships with carefully crafted language are really nothing more than PR nodes for Missoula’s political establishment. When you scratch at the surface, like I do every week, what lurks behind the shiny words they hope to build their liberal utopia with are the same old patterns of corruption and nepotism that always thrive when transparency is a joke and the public is strategically uninformed about the details of the establishment’s schemes.
Here is the harsh reality: no one can stop our Zoom Town from Zooming because our town is an idyllic location for out-of-state wealth to park their meat sacks and wait out the pandemic. And it’s the out-of-state home sales that is REALLY driving the costs of housing:
Brauer noted that an influx of buyers from other places helped push prices, as did a low inventory of homes for sale.
“There’s lots of out-of-state interest, with one in three sales occurring in people from out of state,” he said. “It’s a really vigorous market. Whatever we can do to increase inventory we’d love to see it. We really need more residential housing. Whatever we can do to help facilitate that would be a great help to the real estate industry as well.”
The real estate industry doesn’t need any help. The people being priced out of living in Missoula need the help, but that help isn’t coming, not when our illuminated braintrust can simply switch out cost-burdened Missoulians for deep-pocketed Californians who can afford the ever-increasing property taxes.
I live in the part of Missoula that will be seeing the most growth in the coming decade because west of Reserve street is where there is land to build.
I experience the influx of people moving to Missoula when I take my dog out to the woods for a walk. Parking is getting more crowded and often times I have to drive to a second location in order to get some solitude.
One example of this is the other day, out at Council Groves, my kids and I ran into two people who had three stupid little dogs on leashes and wearing sweaters. They were looking at our big dog (who doesn’t need a leash) as a mortal threat. I am increasingly on the look-out for these obvious newcomers because too often they bring with them attitudes of imposition from wherever they are coming from.
This influx isn’t going to abate any time soon. It’s a part of our NEW NORMAL. That said, we don’t have to just passively accept these changes as inevitable.
If you don’t like the changes happening to Missoula, now is the time to get informed and engaged.
Inaction and apathy are perceived by our political establishment as a green light to aggressively pursue their agenda. If we don’t show them our red lights soon, they will forget we even have brakes on this out-of-control vehicle careening toward their fiscal cliff.