When coronavirus first swept across the nation, many started to predict that the pandemic would cause a significant number of people to move away from large cities and into smaller areas. As millions of people discovered they could successfully work from home and as social distancing became a necessary part of our social interactions, people living in urban areas started to imagine living in places with more space and fewer people. Cue Bozeman, Montana.
Bozeman’s real estate market saw a decrease in activity during the month of April as we all hunkered down, but after a month of quarantine, interest in Bozeman’s real estate market skyrocketed. This summer we saw a significant spike in out-of-state interest in our real estate market. Our website traffic increased more than 80%, and we had hundreds of relocation requests from people all over the country looking to get out of the city and into a smaller town like Bozeman. As a result, Bozeman’s real estate market got extremely competitive this year as all these new home buyers faced our low inventory market. Bidding wars have become common practice, many homes have sold for well over the asking price, and of course, home prices have increased significantly.
Here are 3 reasons the coronavirus has made Bozeman grow even faster:
According to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, many cities in the U.S including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have all seen a trend of people moving away from the cities over the last several years, and there’s no doubt that the coronavirus will push that trend even further. The coronavirus pandemic quickly brought awareness to our surroundings and people living in densely populated areas found avoiding other people and limiting their exposure to the virus to be very difficult.
Suburbs and smaller cities have quickly become the ideal destination to those who are fleeing urban life, and places like Montana are already on the map. Celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Biel quarantined in Montana and often posted on social media about it. While an Instagram post here, and a Youtube video there may seem harmless, these Montana mentions don’t go unnoticed.
With shelter-in-place orders throughout the nation, companies and workers had to quickly move all their systems online. Now, many workers have discovered that they can effectively work from home which opens up a new world of possibilities. If they can work remotely, they can work from anywhere. In an article by Newsweek, the president of a consulting firm, Global Workplace Analytics, Kate Lister says, “This may be the tipping point for remote work. I don’t think the office is going away, but more people will be spending at least part of the week at home.” Places like Bozeman, with its high quality of life, growing tech sector, and a well-connected airport, become an appealing option for those looking for a new home base.
For the first time, we have become painfully aware of people’s proximity to us, and as a result, people are looking for places with a little more breathing room. It’s pretty hard to socially distance when there are 27,000 people per square mile, which means that places that are not densely populated are quickly becoming very desirable. According to World Atlas, Montana is the third least densely populated state in the U.S which makes it a very appealing place in the wake of the coronavirus.
Pre-coronavirus, Bozeman was already facing growing pains and a fast-growing population. Development in Bozeman is moving fast, and Bozeman’s real estate prices are high while wages remain low. We can only speculate how an even bigger surge in new residents will affect our town. All we can hope is that the people who do decide to move here continue to respect our way of life, support our local businesses, and follow the rules when it comes to respecting the trails and wilderness that we are lucky enough to enjoy.
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