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Montana real estate

Montana – Housing is Booming in Big Sky Country

During the early to mid-2000’s, Montana saw a major population boom. Thanks to wealthy Californians looking for a quiet spot to retire and a local tech industry explosion, realtors around Montana had all of the business they could accommodate! While Big Sky Country was still an affordable place to call home in those days – at least, compared to other states – it saw its share of skyrocketing prices.

But by 2010, both the population growth AND the economy growth had slowed way down! Now, Montana’s housing market is trying to regain some of the momentum it lost during the recession.

One thing working in its favor is that its economy didn’t suffer as badly as other states’ did. Thanks to a large energy sector, Montana’s state economy didn’t fall into a giant hole. In fact, in 2011, it was one of only two states without a budget deficit (North Dakota being the other). So, with a more stable state economy to draw from, realtors around Montana were able to better-persuade people to commit to home purchases.

By 2012, the homes for sale in around Montana were looking healthier – especially in the state’s biggest city, Billings. Compared to 2011, 18% more single-family homes were sold in Billings in 2012, and the homes for sale here sold for an average of $220,700 (an increase of 6%). Realtors in Billings say the inventory dropped 23% by the end of 2012, but the number of new home permits went up 80% -- so count on seeing a ton of new homes for sale here in 2013!

Realtors in Montana are just as happy about the progress being made in Helena. Throughout 2012, the homes for sale in Helena were a nice blend of new and existing homes. Even though prices here stayed steady for most of the second half of the year, they were higher than they were in 2011 – when local realtors admit that the local housing market slid back a bit.

The biggest surprise in Montana’s housing market comes from the tiny eastern town of Sidney. Thanks to an oil boom, Sidney is also experiencing a housing boom. Apartments for rent in Sidney average about $2,000 a month! The homes for sale in Sidney are just as pricey. A home that would have cost you $75,000 back in 2000 will cost you $275,000 today!

If you’re looking for cheap apartments for rent in Montana, stay away from the western town of Missoula! Because it’s home to the University of Montana, Missoula is one of the most expensive renters’ market in the state.

Bottom line – Big Sky Country is still home to some big-time deals, but it’s also home to some big-time booms!

Living in Montana

Would you like to live among wide open landscapes and impressive mountain ranges? That’s what Montana features!

Originally, the name “Montana” comes from the Latin word "montaanus" which means mountainous, but the people who live here call home “Big Sky Country” thanks to its expansive skyline. Montana is also known as “The Treasure State” because of its rich mineral reserves.

The state is an interesting mix of vast plains with herds of cattle and buffalo which stretch across the eastern section of Montana to the rugged Rocky Mountains in the western portion. That mix also applies to the state’s climate. The western side of Montana has milder winters and cooler summers with less wind than the eastern side. This creates a longer growing season.

Before you make Big Sky Country your new home, let’s go over some of its fast facts:

  • What is the population of Montana?
  • The population of Montana is 1,005,141
  • What is the capital of Montana?
  • The capital of Montana is Helena
  • What is the largest city in Montana?
  • The largest city is Billings

The Montana economy is known for its ranching, rock mining, oil mining, coal mining, wheat farming, and lumber. In fact, more than 65% of the land here is dedicated to agriculture. But the economy here is also dependent on tourism, because millions of people visit Montana every year to check out special sites such as Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and Yellowstone National Park. Luckily, when you live here, they’ll all be right in your back yard!

There is so much to do and see in Montana, from the 20,000-acre national wildlife refuge covered in buffalo on the National Bison Range on the Flathead Reservation to the multiple Montana Ghost Towns. And if you like outdoor life, Montana has more than 20 National Wildlife Refuges and 10 National Forests.

If you enjoy history, it’s worth a visit to the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn in southeastern Montana. This is where General George A. Custer led the U.S. Army’s Seventh Cavalry to battle the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors in 1876. It’s located on the 2.2 million acre Crow Indian Reservation. Speaking of Indian reservations, there are seven of them around the state. Talk about a great lesson for the kids – and a great adventure for you!

This is the Census data for Montana


Total population estimate for Montana (July 1) 2012
Total population change for Montana- April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012


Percentage of the population that's under 5 years old in Montana, 2011
Percentage of the population that's under 18 years years old in Montana, 2011
Percentage of the population that's 65 years and over Montana, 2011


Percentage of the population that are females in Montana, 2011

Race breakdown for Montana in percentages

White alone, 2011
Black alone, 2011
American Indian and Alaska Native alone,2011
Asian alone, percent, 2011
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, 2011
Two or more races, 2011
Hispanic or Latino Origin, 2011
Not Hispanic, White alone, 2011

A little more about the residents of Montana

Percentage of residents who lived in the same house 1 year ago, 2007-2011
Percent of residents who are foreign born 2007-2011
Percent speaking a language other than English at home, 2007-2011


Percent high school graduates or higher for residents 25 years old and over in Montana, 2007-2011
Percent with a bachelor's degree or higher for residents 25 years old and over in Montana, 2007-2011


Total number of Veterans living in Montana 2007-2011


The average travel time to work for workers in Montana (16 years and over not working at home), 2007-2011
17.9 mins

Real estate stats in Montana

Housing unit estimates, 2011
Owner-occupied housing units - percent of total occupied housing units, 2007-2011
Housing units by units in structure - multi-dwelling structure, percent, 2007-2011
Median value of specified owner-occupied housing units, 2007-2011
Households, 2007-2011
Average household size, 2007-2011


Per capita income for Montana in the past 12 months (in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars), 2007-2011
Median household income in Montana, 2007-2011
Percentage of people living in poverty in Montana 2007-2011

Business and commerce info for Montana

Private nonfarm establishments, 2010
Private nonfarm employment for pay period including March 12, 2010
Private nonfarm employment for pay period including March 12, 2010, percent change, 2000-2010
Total number of businesses in Montana, 2007
Percentage of Black-owned businesses in Montana, 2007
Percentage of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses in Montana , 2007
Percentage of Asian-owned businesses in Montana, 2007
Percentage of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses in Montana, 2007
Percentage of Hispanic-owned businesses in Montana, 2007
Percentage of Women-owned businesses in Montana, 2007

Land size and population

Size of Montana in Square Miles, 2010
145,545.80 mi²
Population per square mile in Montana, 2010

Montana real estate