Will The Housing Market Crash?

The current housing market seems to be a hot conversation topic around Montana right now. It is well known that there is a high demand with a very low supply of housing. Housing prices have increased considerably which can be explained by the law of supply and demand. When there is a shortage of supply and an increase in demand, prices increase.

According to InfoSparks provided by MLS, Missoula’s median sales price in January of 2020 was $325,000. Whereas in August of 2020, the median sales price was $365,000.  The median days on market for Missoula in January 2020 was 53 days. In August it had decreased exponentially down to a median of 9 days. The parameters included all ranges of prices, property types, years built, square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms with each data point being one month of collected data. The significance of this data is that while houses are selling at a much quicker rate in August than they were in January, they are also selling for a lot more money. This can indicate that multiple offers are received, and many buyers are willing to pay inflated prices to obtain their dream homes. Interest rates have also recently hit new historical lows.

The question at hand is, “Will we see a housing market crash in Montana in the near future?” No one can say for certain as the future cannot be guaranteed. However, we can take similar events from past years and predict an outcome. The market crash of 2008 was caused by an influx of buyers and shortage of sellers combined with historically low interest rates in 2007. Unfortunately, buyers then purchased real estate at an inflated market value which is not sustainable. This ultimately led to a crash in the market which translates into foreclosures.

The data presented above is mirrored to the economy of 2007. Now, we have to add in the fact that a pandemic is present. If the pandemic continues, will more people lose their jobs? There are many factors that could contribute to an economic downturn in 2020. Some examples could include the presidential election outcome, consumer spending changes, and global market changes due to the pandemic. In heading months, Montana may see an economic crash.

Bryanna Deschamps

University of Montana

Bears are Scary

Yeah that’s right. Bears are terrifying. That’s the blog.

I am so sick and tired of this Winnie the Poo sounding, “Man, I hope we see a bear on this hike” having bullshit I hear every time I go into the woods with my friends. Sure, seeing a little black bear in the distance while you’re in your car on “Going to the Sun Road” gets the dopamines flowing. But when you’re actually in the woods without the protection of a massive metal cage on wheels while driving a road traveled by millions of visitors every year, spotting a bear is a whole different story. Bears are big and dangerous, wild animals that should be left alone to tend to their own business.

Let me just start with a brief history of notorious bear and human relationships.

  1. Short Faced Bear

Back in the olden days of 1.8 million years ago until only 11,000 years ago, an absolute beast of an an animal existed, deemed the Short Faced Bear. This freak of nature weighed a solid 2,500 lbs., had a height of about 12 feet standing up, and if you can recall early history, LIVED WHILE HUMANS DID. As people much smarter than me can speculate using geographic means, there was a bering land bridge that stretched from Russia’s North-Eastern point to Alaska’s Western coast, in which people who lived in Asia would use to travel in order to inhabit North America.

What they couldn’t count on was this ginormous tank, murder beast that literally could not be stopped by any means. Scientists say this bear was so deadly, that it prevented human migration entirely across the bridge for a period of time. Nobody was stopping to admire nature when they approached this thing; they either died trying to get past it or cut their losses and turned back to Russia. Just imagine, you freeze your nuts off in Asia for years while fighting Woolly Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers, so you decide to march 620 miles to possibly find something better, just to be met with a big hairy killing machine that prevents you from crossing.

No thanks. I’ll fight Manny from Ice Age any day of the week over the Short Faced Bear.

2. Hugh Glass

Alright the story of Hugh Glass is pretty insane. This guy was a frontiersman and fur trader who operated around Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota in the early 1800s. He had built himself quite the resume of badass activities, from being a pirate to living with the Pawnee Native American tribe. He was an expert navigator and survivalist who had taken on many dangerous missions across the Western United States, until his legendary encounter with a Grizzly in South Dakota. Upon running into a bear and two cubs, Glass prepared to be charged and was able to get one successful shot off from his musket as the bear began to maul the shit out of him. I mean, have you seen The Revenant? This bear comes back for seconds, then thirds “Oh don’t mind if I do”, just annihilating Glass before ultimately dying of the gunshot wound. This griz tears the guys scalp off, absolutely shreds the entire rest of his body and leaves his legs utterly useless.

But guess what. Glass isn’t dying like this, he’s a former pirate of the Black Pearl for Godssakes. And this is what the movie doesn’t show, Glass could not use his legs at all so he -crawled- the entire 500 mile trip to his fort destination. He survived the ordeal and became a legend in his own right. Take a guess who would not be able to navigate, survive the elements, and crawl 500 miles to the next help station while bleeding relentlessly? Me. Or probably any normal human that lives in the 21st century, because that is WAY too hard. There’s no chance I’d survive that initial mauling even. Bears aren’t snuggly or graceful animals. They have giant knife hands along with pointy teeth and beady little dark killer eyes. Hugh Glass would certainly attest to that.

3. Timothy Treadwell

What if we were nice to the bears and wanted to treat them like one of our own? Maybe we try and bridge human society and bear society together? Sounds like a nice idea. Having a bear friend would be awesome, I bet he would know some pretty legit fishing spots at least. I know the University of Montana football team could certainly use a grizzly bear as a linebacker; he’d probably even become All League.

Timothy Treadwell thought similarly. The titled “Grizzly Man” thought he could cohabitate with bears in Alaska and they would learn to accept him as family. To the amusement of many, he was able to successfully do this for 13 consecutive summers. Each bear had a name and different personality, and they would all reside in the same area. He was never armed, and did not even carry as much as pepper spray. Unfortunately, this fairytale story came to a tragic halt in October of 2003 when he was mauled to death by a fully grown Alaskan Brown Bear.

Looks like we aren’t meant to live with bears after all.

To wrap it up:

No, I don’t want to see a bear in the wild, bro. We aren’t meant to mess with them. Sure it would be cool at a distance, if I’m in a bear resistant, protective unit. Bears will not wander over, lick you, and beg for some pets like a dog. Bears will literally rip your face off and walk away as if nothing happened. There is no other thing on the planet where it is recommended to carry a gun and pepper spray in-case you come into contact, and many people still want to have that BeAuTifuL and nATurAL encounter. That’s like saying you’d love to run into a serial killer on a jog because it would be so cool to see one, but hopefully it won’t attack.

No thanks. I’m totally good without meeting any bears in my travels.

Why Dogs are Good People

Very recently my family and I lost a close friend, our dog Sophie.  She was almost 14 years old and was full of life and energy up until about her last week with us.  After returning home from the vet the day we had to put her down, my father and I sat outside and reminisced about our favorite memories with her and talked about what a great dog she was.  She was always as friendly, loyal, loving, and caring as any dog could have been.  This discussion with my dad led to another conversation that I decided I wanted to share because I think it has some truth to it.  The conversation that came up was; what if people thought a little more like dogs do?

It is no secret that our nation is somewhat of a disaster right now.  With Covid-19, social injustice, and politics, being the top contributors, there is always something for people to disagree upon.  America seems to be divided about everything, even in a time where we arguably need to be unified the most.  That being said, my dog didn’t care what your skin color was, your religion, your political views, your income, or any other opinions you might have.  If you treated her well, she was going to treat you well.  She judged you exclusively on your character, and I think we could solve a lot of these issues if people thought the same way.

I don’t want to get into politics too much, but it always seems that every ad or debate has to be negative.  Maybe if people could focus on why they will do a good job, rather than why the opposing candidate would do a bad job, things would be less divided.  Or at least less extreme.  I wish people could still have respect for each other, even if they have differing opinions.

My dog always focused on reasons to like people, until you gave her a reason not to.  It seems that people tend to have it backward.  People want to overgeneralize and dislike someone until they find a reason that they shouldn’t.

A great example of how dogs show love and loyalty where it is due, no matter the circumstances, would be that more often than not, (at least where I am from) homeless people seem to always have a dog with them.  And in my experience, the dog doesn’t look any less happy than a dog living in a big house.  Assuming they are both treated properly.  Dogs don’t care how much money you have or who you are, treat them well and they’ll do the same.  Sophie was always loving and compassionate up until her dying days, even when she finally got sick, she did her best to make sure her owners still knew that.

I think people can learn a lot from my dog, and probably from most dogs.  The point that I am making is that if people could see past their inherited prejudices, and quit overgeneralizing, the world would probably be a much better place.  It is possible to love people with different opinions, religions, political views, or anything else that seems to only divides us.  Sophie showed me that.  There would be much less hate in the world if people thought like Soph did. I encourage everyone who reads this to try and treat people like she did, it’s not that hard after all. It’s so easy even a dog can do it.

You Need Great Friends: Why life is better when you do it together

Friends can be a tricky avenue to maneuver. Within friendships, you have a person, other than yourself, who can be affected by the choices and decisions you make. There’s conflict and restoration. There’s an external being that feels emotions toward you. There’s someone who cares deeply about your life. This relationship can be both beautiful and broken. As a young adult with little life experience, I’m in no way a friendship expert. However, I’ve had many people in my life who have taught me how important it is to have great friends. Life becomes a wonderful journey when you start to do it with people. Especially when those people are great friends. 

You need honest friends. We’ve all heard, “honesty is the best policy”. It’s real, especially with friends. Having people who are honest with you is not as common as one might think. The people that encourage you one hundred percent of the time aren’t great friends. Sounds bold, right? What if that friend encourages you to do something that you will regret for the rest of your life? Great friends tell you what you don’t want to hear. The caveat is it must be in truth. What your friend says must be based on a reputable source for it to be truth.  

You need loving friends. To be a loving friend, he or she needs to be a solid friend. These people are so secure that no matter the cause, they will forgive you. It’s an unconditional type of love. It’s a love that won’t leave you because of your own brokenness. Because we are all imperfect. A great friend is someone who sees the parts of you that the world doesn’t see and still chooses to stay.  

You need great friends. Life is hard to do on your own. It’s demanding, chaotic, and draining. However, it can also be beautiful. The joyful moment’s everyone has in life are meant to be shared with others. Shared experiences of high points in life that make an impact on you are memories meant to be made with people. We are designed to live life with people and to let others in and to be let in. 

Seek great friends. Life’s burdens are too heavy to carry on one back. Let others lighten the load and have the freedom to be vulnerable, laugh without restraint, and be loved unconditionally.

 

Things To Do in Spokane, Washington

If you are headed to Spokane for a weekend getaway or even just a quick day trip, there are many different activities to enjoy, places to eat, and views to take in. My name is Isabella Bradley, I am a senior at the University of Montana. In this blog post I will be sharing with you some of my favorite things to do in Spokane, where I was born & raised.

Kendall Yards

One of my favorite spots in Spokane is Kendall Yards, located closely to downtown! Kendall Yards is a modern neighborhood with a view of the river and downtown. There are many hip spots for food, beverages, dessert and more! In the summer, Kendall Yards hosts a night market filled with food trucks, art, produce, and live music every Wednesday night. One of my favorite parts about Kendall Yards is the paved trail that runs parallel to the river where you can walk, ride bikes, or grab a Lime Scooter to enjoy the view of the river and downtown.

Breakfast Poutine from the Yards Bruncheon, my favorite!
My friend Maddison & I enjoying coffee from Indaba Coffee and donuts from Hello Sugar

Green Bluff

Green Bluff is an association of small family farms and food stands. The activities change based on the season, but they range from pick-your-own fruit, pumpkin patches, and annual festivals. Green Bluff has a variety of breweries, places to dine, and other specialties.

My friends & I enjoying an elephant ear at the pumpkin patch! (aka my friends watching me enjoy an elephant ear)
Picking peaches, Summer 2019

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane is a lively area filled with shopping, dining, Riverfront Park, pubs and clubs, hotels and more. Riverfront Park is home to the Looff Carousel, the Skate Ribbon, the Pavilion Light Show, and the SkyRide Gondola. Both the Carousel and Skate Ribbon were recently renovated, along with the majority of the park, causing them to become more of a staple to the downtown Spokane scene. The Pavilion Light Show was also recently welcomed to Riverfront Park, it is a free recurring weekly light show on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and is a must see on your visit to Spokane.

River Park Square, the downtown mall, is located just across the street from Riverfront Park. This mall has many stores including Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Sephora, Athleta, and an AMC Movie Theatre. On the same street, you can find more shopping that includes; Lululemon, Free People, Anthropologie, Nike, Apple, Carhartt, Lush, and more. A large amount of both my time and money have been spent downtown Spokane, with thanks to the wide variety of shopping and entertainment.

Pavilion Light Show, photo from City of Spokane (my.spokanecity.org)
Skate Ribbon at Riverfront Park, photo from Visit Spokane (visitspokane.com)

Manito Park

My final & favorite spot in Spokane is Manito Park. Manito Park is a public park featuring botanical gardens, greenhouses, and arboretum. Manito park has five different gardens; Duncan Garden, Ferris Garden, Rose Hill, Lilac Garden, and Nishinomiya Tsutakawa. Other features include the Mirror Pond and the Park Bench Café. Many people gather at Manito Park to picnic, host gatherings with friends and family, and enjoy the views of the beautiful gardens.

My dog, Spring, and I enjoying a picnic next to the Mirror Pond
My friends and I at the garden, Rose Hill, for homecoming photos in the fall of 2016. This garden was a hot commodity when it came to photos

You are now equipped to navigate a weekend in Spokane. I hope this information was helpful & you enjoy your getaway!