House Construction

Federal statisticians estimate Gallatin County added nearly 1,400 new houses and apartments between 2015 and 2016, and new construction seems to be everywhere. Still, the county added only one new home for every 2.7 new residents in the same period.

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The Bozeman area is within the top 20 counties in the nation when it comes to the rate it’s adding new housing, according to a U.S. census bureau ranking. But its housing stock still isn’t expanding fast enough to keep up with the county’s rapid population growth.

Federal statisticians estimate that Gallatin County added nearly 1,400 new houses and apartments between 2015 and 2016. In the same period, they say, it added almost 3,800 people, meaning the area saw one new home become available for every 2.7 new residents.

However, the county’s average household size is 2.4, the census bureau estimates — indicating that the volume of housing available for residents isn’t keeping pace with the number of births and new arrivals.

With 47,345 homes and 104,500 people as of 2016, Gallatin County currently has one home for every 2.2 residents, according to the Census Bureau, though not all of them are necessarily occupied at a given point in time.

Housing supply is a significant factor in the affordability for rentals and for-sale properties because low rental vacancy rates and scarce opportunity to purchase homes let landlords and sellers charge more.

The Census Bureau’s ranking, which includes counties with a population of 5,000 or more, tallies Gallatin County’s housing growth rate at 3 percent a year. The area’s annual population growth, in comparison, is 3.7 percent.

Above Gallatin County on the housing growth ranking is Wasatch County, Utah, outside Salt Lake City at fifth and a number of counties in Texas and Georgia.

Yellowstone County, home to Billings, is ranked 52nd with a 2.4-percent housing growth rate. No other Montana County breaks the top 100.

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Eric Dietrich can be reached at 406-582-2628 or edietrich@dailychronicle.com. He is on Twitter at @eidietrich.

Eric Dietrich covers city government and health for the Chronicle.

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