No one was sure what would happen when the pandemic hit this spring. Well, it turned out this year was one for the record books. Let’s recap what happened to Bozeman real estate in 2020.
The pandemic redirected people away from big cities and into less populated towns: Bozeman was especially desirable because of the open space, picturesque mountains, laid-back college vibe and year-round outdoor amenities.
Inventory drops and prices skyrocket: This year was the tale of two, maybe three very different years. We started off in a normal brisk market and then slowed down due to covid restrictions. Once we started to reopen in June , the real estate market went gangbusters for the rest of the year. As of November 2020, we were almost at no inventory. The result of low inventory on the pricing that has increased by double digits this year. The average sales price in Bozeman went from $514,422 in November 2019 to $715,615, according to Big Sky Country MLS. Naturally, people went to Belgrade for more options and increased the average sales price from $364,736 in November 2019 to $524,394 this year.
Below we see the illustration of what has happened to pricing and inventory over the past 12 months in Gallatin County. It is quite dramatic when you look at the ending point which is November of 2020 and compare to the beginning point which represents November 2019.
Reasons for the low inventory:
- Some homeowners decided to hang on to their homes until the results of the pandemic on the economy, home prices, etc. were more clear.
- A large influx of new people moved to Bozeman this summer. (Check out this previous post.)
- Many people reevaluated their living situation. People are looking for more space to accommodate changing lifestyles that need to include home offices and room for schooling.
Construction is in full swing: Drive anywhere around Bozeman and you will see that construction projects have really taken off this year. There are new subdivision like Home 40, additions to existing communities in Flanders Mill and Black Bull, and urban revitalization in the Midtown and historic downtown areas. As fast as the developers and builders are working, they still can’t keep up with the demand for housing.
The future of Bozeman: The city commission is trying to stay one step ahead of the growth. In preparation, they approved an ambitious growth plan this year. The plan extends the city’s footprint from 20.9 square miles to 70.8 over the next 20 years. The focus is on the elements that make Bozeman such a great place to live. Picture community pockets that have residential mixed with commercial, parks and open gathering places, and trails that encourage walking and biking.
As you can see, a lot happened to Bozeman real estate in 2020. If you have any question about this post or about Bozeman in general, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Cheers to a new year!
Affordable housing in Bozeman is one of the biggest issues right now. Affordability feels especially critical because of how tight the market has become since the pandemic. A huge influx of out-of-town buyers helped drive inventory down to record lows and prices up to record highs. The median price of a home in Bozeman is now up to $615,000 according to the latest Gallatin Association of Realtors Market Watch.
The city commission recently approved a future growth plan that will increase the city’s footprint from 20.4 square miles to 70.8 over the next 20 years. As Bozeman grows, there will be opportunities to provide more affordable options. But it’s not just about the housing itself. I believe it’s also important to consider the bigger picture of creating healthy and thriving communities. Let’s take a look at what affordable housing should look like in Bozeman.
More Missing Middle Housing
Pictured is an apartment complex on the corner of Koch St. and Third Avenue. This multi-unit courtyard building sits right in the heart of the historic district in downtown Bozeman and blends in well with the single-family homes around it. It’s a great example of missing middle housing, which is defined as a type of housing that sits in the middle between detached single-family homes and mid-rise to high-rise apartment buildings. Missing middle housing often makes neighborhoods that would otherwise be out of reach more affordable. Many of the really nice, well-planned subdivisions in Bozeman like West Meadows, Flanders Mill and Valley West also feature smaller townhomes and missing middle options in their communities.
More Mixed-Use Neighborhoods
A mixed-use neighborhood is one where residential and commercial buildings intermingle in a way that encourages walking, biking, social connections and a real feeling of community. There is an organic vibrancy and diversity to mixed-use neighborhoods if they’re done right. The historic districts in downtown Bozeman are a great example. Take a walking tour and you will see lots of examples of missing middle housing options like duplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts and courtyard buildings mixed in with modest, single-family homes and multi-million dollar mansions. And best of all, the retail, restaurants and coffee shops on Main Street are just a quick 10- to 15-minute walk or bike ride from your door. The result is an engaged and lively neighborhood where college kids and young families mingle with empty-nesters and elderly neighbors.
Some great information on missing middle housing and mixed-use neighborhoods can be found at:
In a future post I will highlight the new Bridger View project that was recently approved by the city commission. It will feature 31 market-rate homes set aside for working families in Bozeman who have been priced out of the market. If you’re a first-time homebuyer or just have questions about the Bozeman market, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real estate in Red Lodge is a great alternative if you’re looking for a different Montana experience than what Bozeman has to offer.
Why You Should Consider Real Estate in Red Lodge
- Home prices are lower: The median price is $395,000 and the average price is $495,773. In Bozeman for the same period of time, median price has risen 10.7% to $465,000 and average price has risen 14.3% to $577,000.
- Great location: It’s 60 miles from Billings and 146 miles from Bozeman. Red Lodge is also close to Yellowstone National Park via the Beartooth Pass, one of the most scenic drives in the country.
- Scenic, open spaces: Red Lodge is nestled in the Beartooth Mountains and surrounded by the Custer Gallatin National Forest. This is some of the most breathtaking scenery in Montana and a great place to work remotely.
- Small population: If you’re lookin for quiet, stress-free living, Red Lodge has it. There are about 2,300 residents and the town is served by three public schools (elementary, middle and high school).
- Thriving Art scene: Many artists live in the area and show and sell their art in nearby shops. Check out The Depot in downtown Red Lodge and the Tippet Rise https://tippetrise.org/. https://carboncountydepotgallery.org/.
- Outdoor recreation center: You’re close to Cooke City. This little stop-off town is the ultimate outdoor playground for snowmobilers, outdoor enthusiasts and pro skiers. Check out Red Lodge Mountain for skiing. https://www.redlodgemountain.com/
- Surprisingly good food scene: Main Street is packed with great places to eat and hang out. A surprising standout this last summer was at the Ox Pasture, a farm-to-table restaurant that hosted a seasonal pop-up restaurant, Piccola Cucina, by acclaimed Italian chef Philip Guardione. Check out Wildflower Kitchen in nearby Fishtail for a great and scenic country meal. https://www.mtwildflowerkitchen.com/
- I talked about some reasons why I love Montana in this post. If you’d like to know more about Red Lodge or Bozeman, contact me at email@example.com.
- (Photos courtesy Red Lodge Montana Facebook)
Moblhom provides much-needed midterm rentals in Bozeman
Ashley McCullough launched Moblhom in 2019 after her own experience with Bozeman’s housing market. When she and her family first moved to town they were living out of a rental while their home was being built. But they soon faced a housing dilemma when their home’s completion date was delayed two months. They had to be out of their current rental, but options were slim for anything more than two weeks or less than one year. “I kept asking myself, ‘why aren’t people doing midterm rentals?'” shares Ashley.
What Is a Midterm Rental?
The midterm rental market, defined as properties leased for one to 11 months, is one that is becoming a necessity in Bozeman’s hot housing market. This summer saw a huge influx of out-of-town buyers and tourists who rented homes in Bozeman for a few months to get a feel for the area and look at properties. The market also saw families who needed midterm rentals while their homes were being renovated during the busy summer construction months. According to their website, Moblhom’s sweet spot is two-to-six-month rentals, usually furnished, an ideal fit for people who need more than a vacation but less than an annual rental.
Booking a rental on Moblhom takes about 15 minutes and listing your own home is also that quick and simple. The site has listings in Missoula, Livingston, Big Sky and Bozeman. Expansion to Boise is happening now. McCullough and Fitzpatrick put a lot of focus on strong customer service and community. “You want to have a community, not a site. People are dying for a person to answer the phone. We will always have a boots on the ground person, a community manager to answer any questions.”
Moblhom is just one of many tech companies based in Bozeman. (This story from Fast Company explains why our little mountain town is such a draw.) “Bozeman is spectacular. It’s not a little bit of something, it’s a lot of something. I ski, ski and ski, and mountain bike,” shares Ashley, who was a New Yorker for 20 years. Moblhom’s Community Strategist Courtney Fitzpatrick, who has worked for Trivago and local tech company Wisetail, is equally enamored with Bozeman. “The quality of life is what drew me in.”
When the pandemic flipped the script on housing demand, it turned Bozeman into an even desirable place to live. Remote workers can now live anywhere and they want plenty of open space, low population and options for outdoor recreation. The latest Gallatin Association of Realtors Market Watch reports that closed sales have gone up by 57.7% on all properties and the median sales price has shot up by 30.4% since last year. We’re currently seeing multiple offers, cash offers, and properties being bought sight-unseen.
Because the housing market is so competitive, it might take a little time to find a home in Bozeman right now. Midterm rentals are a great way to get a feel for Bozeman and the surrounding areas. When you’re ready to buy, let me help you find the perfect home for you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many buyers came flooding into Montana in summer 2020 spurred by the pandemic. They left the chaos and uncertainty of big cities in search of safe, wide-open spaces and relative affordability. It didn’t hurt that shows like “Yellowstone” portrayed Montana as a badass, beautiful and majestic place. (The Bozeman Daily Chronicle recently ran this story on booming ranch sales in Montana.)
According to the Gallatin Association of Realtors Market Watch, buyer demand was so high this year that the median home price jumped to almost $600,000 and multiple offers were still a common occurrence in October 2020. What I heard from many buyers who came to Montana was they wanted land, mountain views, wildlife and not many people surrounding them. Those things are definitely easy to come by here, but there is so much more to Montana that makes it such a great place to live.
So, what’s it really like to live in Montana?
- It has very friendly people Montana is a place where some businesses still close for lunch, people visit at the post office, and everybody knows your name if you’ve been here long enough.
- It’s not just filled with farmers, cowboys and ranchers Montana has nationally recognized universities, a solid tech presence and an eclectic food, music and art scene. Check out Bozeman, Missoula, Livingston, Butte and Helena.
- It takes a while to get across the state Don’t be surprised if it takes you more than 7 hours to go from Bozeman Hot Springs in Bozeman, Montana to Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs in Saco, Montana.
- It’s full of small, quaint little towns You will feel like you stepped back in time visiting places like Virginia City (pop. 198) or Phillipsburg (pop. 965).
- It’s a place where you really can slow down and enjoy the view And yes, sometimes you might get lucky and see a herd of elk nearby.
If you’re curious about Montana and want to come visit, check out my previous posts on where to stay or contact me at email@example.com.
(Photo: Paramount Network)