Bozeman isn't the only Montana city to have seen its real estate market explode in 2020! Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency shows that Montana has experienced one of the largest increases in housing prices of any state in the country. Covid and the switch to remote working offered the possibility of making big-city wages while living in more rural areas. Statewide the housing price index rose 10%, with higher numbers in cities like Bozeman and Missoula (usnews.com). While there has been an influx of out-of-state buyers, there has also been people making moves within Montana creating a strong real estate market across the state.
Missoula’s median sales price is currently around $350,000, which is an 11% increase from January of last year (missoularealestate.com). Like Bozeman, they have a huge supply and demand issue. Real estate was appreciating in Missoula prior to Covid, but 2020 pushed this into overdrive with an explosion of out-of-state buyers. This drastically changed the real estate market. Like Bozeman, Missoula is a large enough town to offer amenities that those moving from a city are used to, but still provide a different quality of life. With the influx of buyers, supply dwindled and prices shot up. Most properties get multiple offers when they hit the market and go for over asking. There has been some in-state buyers moving to Missoula, mostly those that have been priced out of Bozeman. Photo credit Missoula Downtown
Located in northwestern Montana, Whitefish has always been a resort town with Whitefish Mountain Resort and Glacier National Park nearby. According to the Montana Regional MLS, the median sales price in the region has increased nearly $40,000 in 3 months! High prices and low inventory continue to drive the market in Whitefish as out-of-state, cash buyers are moving to this desirable area. As a resort town, Whitefish has always been popular with tourists and Covid has turned these visitors into buyers. With more buyers than homes for sale, most properties listed get multiple offers. There has been an increased interest in out-of-state developers inquiring about building in Whitefish, looking to take advantage of the current growth. Kalispell, the largest city near Whitefish, has seen a consistent increase in sales as well, but not quite as much as Whitefish. Photo credit Whitefish Chamber of Commerce
Butte, Montana just eighty miles from Bozeman has seen a big appreciation in sales. According to their multiple listing service, in January 2020 the median sales price was $180,000 and in January of 2021 it increased to $234,000! As a smaller Montana town, this increase was most likely due to Covid. They have seen some out-of-state buyers, but the majority have been buyers getting priced out of Bozeman. Home and land listings are getting multiple offers in just a couple of days. There has been an increase in businesses looking to Butte as well as the development of condo and apartment complexes. Many investors are looking at this part of SW Montana as the next hot spot and want to get in while it is still relatively affordable. As the Bozeman estate market remains strong, Butte most likely will as well. Photo credit Flickr
Helena, the home of our capital has always had a stable economy because of the number of government jobs. This has kept the real estate market strong, but like the rest of Montana, Covid has contributed to the recent growth. Prior to the pandemic, the median home price increased around 3.5% during a 12-month period and this has continued to go up quicker in 2020. The same as the rest of Montana, low supply and high demand are driving prices up. Similar to Butte, they are seeing an increase in Bozeman buyers looking in the Townsend and Helena area as they are getting priced out of Bozeman's real estate market. Townsend is only an hour away from Bozeman and without a mountain pass, is a more commutable location. Photo credit Helena Chamber of Commerce
As the largest city in the state, Billings has had a stable real estate market, and like the rest of the state saw a big increase this year. They have had supply and demand issues when it comes to building materials and housing inventory. Experts across the country are seeing the demand for lumber increasing so Montana is not alone in this. Billings attracts a lot of people for work with several big employers such as the university, hospital, and the refinery. Add to that, people working remotely and moving here and you get more buyers to add to the limited supply. Photo credit Wikimedia
The majority of real estate experts across the state of Montana agree they don’t see things slowing down anytime soon. With low interest rates, the continuing pandemic, and people looking for a different quality of life, we will keep seeing out-of-state buyers coming to Montana for the foreseeable future.