Livingston Montana, just 25 miles from Bozeman, is becoming the next hot spot! Whether it’s people getting priced out of Bozeman's real estate market and looking to the surrounding communities, or those actively looking for a smaller town, Livingston is a great option. Here are some things to consider if you are trying to decide between Livingston and Bozeman, Montana.
With Bozeman home prices increasing every week, the nearby towns are getting more attention. Belgrade home prices have been increasing as quickly as Bozeman’s, making Livingston a more appealing option. The median home price of a single-family home in Livingston is $590,000 while Bozeman is at $860,000* (as of July 2022, data from Big Sky Country MLS based on 3 months of activity). The other positive about buying a home in Livingston is they have homes for sale under $400,000, which is nearly impossible to find in Bozeman. A newer condo development, Villas at Brookstone, has condos starting at $230,000. There are also more subdivisions in development in Livingston, which will help with supply. Northtown Subdivision is a newer large development in Livingston with plans for a 400-home neighborhood.
It’s no surprise that Bozeman is feeling growing pains with the influx of new residents. One of the best things about Livingston is it still is a small town with a tight-knit community. They have a fantastic downtown with art galleries, breweries, and top-notch restaurants. Tourism has always been a part of Livingston with its access to the Paradise Valley and Yellowstone, which helps keep local businesses thriving. While Bozeman’s rapid growth is transforming the community, Livingston is holding on to its Montana roots. In fact, Livingston is a lot like Bozeman was 20 years ago.
Livingston is a town all on its own so you won’t have to make the drive to Bozeman for your day-to-day needs unless you need to make a Costco run! With plenty of restaurants, a couple of grocery stores, and plenty of things to do, Livingston has everything you need. There are people that live in Livingston and commute to Bozeman, but with a couple of big employers in town and more people working remotely, this is becoming less necessary. Livingston Health and Printing for Less are two large employers in Livingston, as well as Chico Hot Springs and Sage Lodge in the Paradise Valley. If you decide to commute to Bozeman for work, don’t underestimate the mountain pass you will be driving each day. It can get difficult during the winter months and often gets closed during big storms.
Livingston is a beautiful place to call home. With the mountains of the Paradise Valley as the backdrop and the Yellowstone River right in town, it is breathtaking. The access to the outdoors is tough to beat. Some of the best fly-fishing can be found on the Yellowstone River and the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness is a short drive away with endless hiking, camping, and hunting opportunities. Bozeman has a ton of recreational activities as well, but as the town grows, so do the crowds on the trails and rivers.
Bozeman is well known for having excellent public schools. It’s one of the things that draws families to choose Bozeman over the surrounding communities. Livingston has three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school compared with Bozeman’s eight elementary, two middle, and two high schools. With more young families choosing Livingston to set down roots, the need for more schools will become necessary.
The vibe in Bozeman is undergoing some transformations. Back in the day, it was a sleepy college town that no one really knew about. After landing on several "Best Places to Live" lists, Bozeman quickly began to grow, and then we saw it explode this past year. This means the vibe is changing and it’s hard to say what it will become. Livingston has always had an eclectic vibe with a mix of ranchers, artists, and celebrities. There’s something about this area that appeals to the creative spirit, which is probably why they have so many art galleries! Livingston has been attracting celebrities since the ’70s with Jim Harrison and Russell Chathman and now it’s not uncommon for John Mayer to play an impromptu show at the Murray.
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