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!