We are right now in a unique situation not seen before. I thought it prudent to research how Coronavirus is affecting the economy and Bozeman real estate market
Our lives have changed drastically in the past week; kids are home from school, trips have been cancelled, gathering places closed. We also have anxiety about what is going on out there; not only do we have anxiety about being ill, or perhaps carrying the virus to someone who may be at risk for serious complications from the virus, but we also have anxiety about the fact that our financial world has been turned upside down. This perhaps brings back bad memories of the 2008 crash and the recession that followed.
So let’s try and address some of these anxieties caused by the Coronavirus outbreak:
First of all, you are doing everything right if you are following the steps recommended by the CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html These steps are in your control and should keep you and your household healthy. Do them and feel good about it!
At Windermere, we are fortunate enough to be backed up by a strong company with many resources. Some of our financial and economic experts have reached out to us to explain how they see the economic impact of this and the effect on local housing market.
Following is a summary of likely effects of the Coronavirus to the US economy as a whole.
These were communicated by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere.
- The Economy will contract. With the disruption to life, travel etc., we are all spending less money.
- The Stock market has lost value as a result of the uncertainty of the situation and how long it will continue.
- Home inventory on market will probably decrease in the next few months as people will not want others in their homes.
- Buyers will want to take advantage of low interest rates but buying will probably decrease as well as people are uncertain about economy and some may need to wait for stock market to come back up.
- Economists believe that towards Q3 and Q4, economy and stock market will pick back up.
- Mortgage interest rates will stay low however.
- Housing as a sector is well positioned to come out of this positively.
- Banking rules that were put into place after 2008 have protected housing and made sure that the upside down equity positions held by people then do not exist anymore.
- Inventory will be tight as households are being created but not enough housing being built overall in US.
An analytical look at Coronavirus and Bozeman real estate:
- Our area is positioned well to weather this kind of storm. We will see some impacts as noted above but we will also rise out quicker than other areas of the country.
- Why? Our fundamentals are strong.
- Bozeman area is noted as #1 in economic strength for micropolitan areas in US. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/policoms-2018-economic-strength-rankings-for-933-communities-announced-300585848.html
- We have had increased demand and not enough supply of homes for many years. This has meant that our median price of a single family home has gone from $329,000 in March of 2015 to $520,000 in February of 2020 and our months of supply has gone from 4.3 months in March of 2015 to 2.2 in February of 2020.
- Our unemployment rate is very strong most recently being at 2.4% down even from a year ago when it was 3.%. The highest is has been since 2015 is 3.4%. The interesting thing here is that US Federal Reserve puts natural unemployment at 2.5-3.5% as people move around, change jobs etc.
- Bozeman is a unique place to live as we all know and why it attracts so many new residents each year. Our quality of life, access to the outdoor activity, ability to earn a living make it truly distinctive. This will not change.
In the immediate future, what will happen?
- We will have at least two weeks of social distancing to help prevent the spread of this virus.
- Diagnosed cases will rise because of increased testing.
- The strategies that the CDC and government have recommended to prevent spread will work.
- There will be positive news about a vaccine for the future.
- Discomfort and anxiety will continue in our lives and in the financial markets until things become certain and we have started to see decreasing cases.
- There is a massive fiscal stimulus coming that is pointed at people and industries most affected by this.
- Recovery will happen relatively quick as our US economy fundamentals are strong.
I will continue to update my blog MoveMeToMontana.com with more information and analysis as I get it.
A disclaimer – I am not an economist but am culling information from economist’s opinions and presenting factual statistics about Montana. However, one should read this article about how Coronavirus is affecting the economy and Bozeman real estate market as my opinion. I have curated the information and summarized it in this piece.
Stay healthy and please do what you can to help local businesses! Shop online with them, order take out, buy gift cards. They really need our help right now.
Bozeman 2019 Real Estate Pricing Trends
Bozeman December numbers are in! Let’s take a look at the Bozeman real estate pricing trends of 2019, compare it to trends of previous years of 2017 and 2018 and check the crystal ball for 2020. The following numbers represent all sales in each category for each year and numbers are coming from the Big Sky MLS.
Median Sales Prices
First up are median sales prices – I have divided these sales into Single family, Townhomes and Condos. We see a not unexpected increase in median sold prices in all three of these categories BUT we also see a slowing rate of increase which is great news for buyers and bolsters the thought that the real estate market is becoming more balanced.
Median Price Per Square Foot
Second number I checked to confirm the median sales price slow down, was the median price per square foot. And I reached the same conclusion, that prices are indeed slowing their rate of increase.
Days On Market
To help round out the picture of the market conditions, I then took a look at days on market. If days on market is a large number and homes are languishing on the market, then we would have certainly turned the corner to a buyer’s market. But alas, this is not what I found and in fact, homes in all categories are still moving along at a good pace with a decrease in DOM actually found in the single family home category.
Looking Ahead to 2020
So what does this mean for Bozeman real estate pricing in 2020? All indications currently point to a very similar year in 2020 as in 2019. Mortgage rates are now very low (under 3.7% for conventional 30 year fixed!) which will make it attractive for people to consider a home purchase. Movement to the Bozeman area is expected to continue at similar rates (about 1500 people a year) as in previous years.
These numbers reflect sold pricing. Remember that Montana is a non-disclosure state so only licensed realtors can access accurate data. If you would like to dive deeper into market trends, please reach out and let’s have a conversation! Keep an eye on the blog at http://movemetomontana.com/ for more ongoing analysis. I hope you found this helpful – please pass it on!!
While some people look forward to sleeping in on Sunday and then rolling out to a cushy brunch and imbibing bloody marys, mimosas, and tons of carbs, my family takes a more measured approach to Brunch. Being self employed, it is hard to ever be completely “off”, but Sunday is a day for us where we usually get in our toughest workout of the week first, then go eat before moving onto the plan for the day or some work. I know, we are so boring…
So we like the brunch drinks but we also need some decent protein to go along with those yummy carbs. Following is my family’s list of favorite brunch spots that meets our criteria…
Tanglewood. https://www.tanglewoodmt.com/ We love this place. It hasn’t really caught on yet as a brunch spot but it will. We think there is a little something for everyone here – satisfies the traditional brunch person as well as someone looking for something a bit more savory and they even have a healthy option or two. There are fun drinks here if you want to fancy up a mimosa and the bloody mary comes with lots of yummy accoutrements. The atmosphere is inviting and lively but not loud which is lovely. Our favorite dishes are the Salmon salad ( incredible, always perfectly cooked and a bargain for the price), the Liege waffle, and the duck sausage.
Jam. https://jamonmain.com/ Well Jam is the other end of the spectrum in terms of crowds. Everyone knows about Jam and that includes people who are just passing through. So unless you are there before 9 am on Saturday or Sunday, expect a wait. The good news is that the Jam crew is really good and efficient at what they do so the tables will turn over and you will be seated in the time they tell you. They provide coffee at the host stand so you can take a cuppa and go stroll Main street while you wait. Jam only serves the breakfast menu on weekends but there are enough protein oriented and savory dishes to satisfy us. Our favorite menu items here are the Mia Benedict, the Puerco Verde Crepes, Vegetable omelet and a personal favorite, the gluten free banana pancake. Also have to give kudos to the daily specials and the bacon! Fun list of drinks here – my personal favorite being the Pink drink but they also offer kombuchas and a nice selection of Townshends teas.
Barley and Vine. http://barleyvinemt.com Barley and Vine is a cozy brunch spot – more appropriate for small groups than a large one. Food here is always good and we tend to go here if we are more in the lunch mood than the breakfast mood. We LOVE their burger, I think the best in Bozeman, complete with a homemade English muffin and served with real frites (skinny , crispy fries). There are breakfast type items here including fresh made doughnut holes, omelets and a great chicken and waffle dish. Beverages here include a great wines by the glass offering as well as mimosas and beers.
We love to try new places and we are somewhat critical as I was in the restaurant business for 20 years and our daughter is in the restaurant business with hopes of opening her own place here in Bozeman. Our opinions are our own but we’d love to know what you think! Reply back with your favorite brunch places and we will check them out.
I want to start this blog by saying that not everyone has the flexibility to time a move or a real estate transaction. Sometimes, you just have to move and buy or sell your home; Sometimes you find the house of your dreams without really looking.
But for many people trying to decide whether it is time to move to a bigger home or to downsize into a smaller one, whether it is a good time to move to Bozeman or whether it is time to take advantage of favorable interest rates, some market knowledge is imperative to making an informed decision.
To take a quick temperature of the market, I look at Median home sales price, Days on Market, Inventory and Asking price ratio to Sales Price. There are lots more numbers out there but I find that watching these particular ones roll from month to month gives a pretty accurate picture of what to expect when listing a home for sale or looking to purchase a home.
Recent statistics about Gallatin County only –
Year to Date though September Single Family Median Sales Prices rose 6.3% over 2018.
(From 414K to 440K)
YTD through September Condo and Townhome Median Sales Price rose 8.5% over 2018
(From 295K to 320K)
YTD Days On Market (DOM) Single Family Home rose 6.9% over 2018 from 58 to 62 Days
YTD DOM Condo and Townhome is 53 days down from 64 days in 2018 or -17.2%
As one might expect, these DOM numbers are very different during the prime selling season of May – August where Single family homes sold in 37 Days and Condo/Townhomes sold in 36.
So one may ask how much negotiating of the prices is going on? Not much as both Single Family and Condo/Townhome are getting 98.7% of their asking price and Higher!
As we head into winter, Single family home inventory has already decreased by 7.5% but Condo Townhome has increased by 31% due to new developments coming on line in Bozeman and Belgrade.
Typically the next few months see a slow down in sales, median price stabilization but also lower inventory. After a very rapid fire summer in buying and selling, we are approaching a more balanced market but I would still expect that there is pent up demand because mortgage rates are still below 4% after being above 4% for a long time earlier this year and last year. We are getting tight on inventory of Single Family homes.
My advice to Buyers and Sellers of Single Family homes would be for Sellers to take advantage of the low choice on the market and for Buyers to take advantage of a slower market and really low interest rates. I am happy to discuss these statistics with you or dive in a little deeper.
Give me a call or send an email and let’s time your best move!
- It has been a seller’s market for quite some time. Bozeman has an average of 5 people moving here per DAY! So, while home prices are not anything like they are in major coastal cities, they are higher than many expect for close to downtown or view properties.
- There are fixers and homes that could use some updating available for lower prices. For many people, these are great opportunities to gain equity quickly once the update work is complete. The real caveat here is that Bozeman has an unemployment rate of less than 3% and there are simply not enough skilled tradespeople to do all the work in this booming economy and housing market. A great remodel can be done but research, planning and patience are a must and maybe a few extra dollars than expected.
- Montana is a non-disclosure state. There are only a few of these in the nation, but basically, what that means is that home selling prices are not made public. So all the Zillow algorithms do not work well here, which may impact the accuracy of the Zestimate. Real estate agents have very strict rules governing their disclosure of home selling prices and a buyer can only get the accurate selling prices of comparative homes they are shopping for by a licensed real estate agent. Believe it or not, this has less to do with the real estate lobby than it does with the Montana sense of privacy and avoidance of governmental interference.
- Moving to Bozeman Montana is a great decision. I do not know anybody who has moved here and after a bit of adjustment, including if it had to do with the surprise of remodel cost or difficulty in finding a home, who hasn’t been happy with their decision.
These are the realities of reaching for your dream of moving to a place that has a vibrant community, downtown, culture, and outdoor scene. Good news is that this can be navigated with a knowledgeable real estate agent.
As a local and invested real estate professional, I can help you find potential neighborhoods, advise you on pricing but also help you with referrals if you choose the build/remodel road. I am also thrilled to share my family’s experience in moving here, networking, meeting people and loving Bozeman and Montana.
We love a good happy hour, especially when the weather is not ideal for an afternoon hike or run. Nice to get cozy in one of our Bozeman establishments with discounted food and drinks. Our top five…
Barley and Vine.
Happy hour here starts at 4 and goes until 5:30 and then starts up again at 9 pm. And even better, Happy hour is ALL DAY on Monday! Barley and Vine offers $4 beers and $5 wine and discounted food.http://barleyvinemt.com/
Another Downtown eatery. Happy hour here is 3-5 daily. UK offers $4 cocktails and beer and $2 off glasses of wine and 1/2 off appetizers. https://www.urbankitchenbozeman.com
This fairly new restaurant is located in Ferguson Farms and they have just started up their Happy Hour program and its a good one! It runs 5-6:30 in the Bar. They offer 50% off 2 oz pours of wine which allows one to sample ALOT of their wines on tap! They also offer $5 cocktails, $1 off beers ciders etc and yummy food starting at $4. https://www.tanglewoodmt.com/
Montana Ale Works.
Located on the East end of Main Downtown. Ale Works’ Happy Hours runs 4-6 pm and they offer $1 off well drinks, beers and wines as well as rotating food specials. Ale Works always has a fun upbeat atmosphere. https://www.montanaaleworks.com/
One of the coziest bar/restaurants around. Located on lower level space on Main Street. Happy Hour runs 4-6 everyday and they offer $1 off everything brewed or distilled in Montana, $5 wine, $5 house whiskey drinks, and discounts on food. They also offer a great burger special on Wednesdays – Burger and beer for $12 (PBR) or draft beer selection for $13.
While searching around for comments on moving to Montana, I found this article from Smart Asset. https://smartasset.com/mortgage/15-things-to-know-before-moving-to-montana
I think the points in this article are accurate and reflect our experience of moving from Seattle to Bozeman in 2016. Give it a read and feel free to contact me to discuss more in depth!
Montana is known for its natural beauty. You may have seen scenes shot in Montana if you saw the films “A River Runs Through It” or “The Horse Whisperer.” Broad swathes of the Montana country is not just beautiful but empty. The state’s population density is the third lowest in the country, behind Alaska and Wyoming. If that sounds like the perfect escape to you, here are 15 things to know before moving to Montana.
1. You’ll want to get out into nature.
Montanans tend to be an active bunch. Being an outdoor enthusiast is the norm here. Of course, many Montanans work outside, as ranchers, farmers or in the oil industry. But even those with office jobs jump at the chance to get outside for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, canoeing and more.
2. Public universities are a good option here.
Montana State University (MSU) and the University of Montana are both well-regarded public institutes of higher education. If you have kids or you’re thinking of going back to school yourself, it’s good to know that the public options in Montana are a solid choice. If you’re moving to Montana for an early retirement, you can take university classes by obtaining Lifelong Education Status at MSU.
3. Population density is low.
Did we mention Montana has a low population density? If you’ve never lived in a sparsely populated state before, you’re in for a surprise. You can drive for long stretches on empty roads or settle down in a home that’s miles from its nearest neighbor. Depending on your preferences, that may sound ideal to you.
4. Skiing and snowboarding reign supreme.
Winter sports are huge in Montana. The state boasts 15 ski areas and resorts, including the famous Big Sky Ski Resort, with 5,800 acres of ski-able land. The active Montana lifestyle doesn’t stop during the winter months. The big divide isn’t between skiers and snowboarders – it’s between those take part in winter sports and those who don’t.
5. Winters are freezing.
Montana winters are extremely cold and feature unpredictable temperature swings. Between November and March, Montana’s temperature swings between 50 degrees above zero and 50 degrees below zero. If you’re moving to Montana, it’s important to dress for the weather and keep a winter survival kit in your car.
6. Montana is politically divided.
There’s a big urban-rural divide in Montana and the divide shapes the state’s politics. The state’s three electoral college votes are solidly Republican, but Montana’s senior U.S. senator is a Democrat. Like many states, Montana has more conservative rural areas surrounding liberal cities.
7. Ranching is alive and well.
Montana has more cows than people. Agriculture contributes roughly $4 billion to Montana’s economy and livestock makes up about half of that. If you’re moving to Montana in search of the cowboy lifestyle, be aware that ranching is a tough business with slim margins. However, you’ll be in good company if you decide to devote yourself to agriculture. According to the Montana Department of Agriculture, there are 28,008 farms and ranches across Montana.
8. Hunting and fishing are huge in Montana.
Even those who don’t work in agriculture may source some of their food outdoors, in many cases from hunting and fishing. Both are popular activities in Montana, where gun ownership and appreciation of the outdoors are strong cultural values. If you’re considering getting into hunting and fishing, be sure to obtain the proper licenses and store your firearms safely.
9. You’ll probably want a car with four-wheel drive.
Montana’s tough winters and chewed-up rural roads make a four-wheel drive more of a necessity than a luxury. You don’t want a car that will slide off the road during a blizzard or get stuck in your driveway when you’re running late for work. Whether you buy or lease, look for a car that can handle Montana’s winters.
Check out our cost of living calculator.
10. Housing is scarce.
It can be tough to find housing in Montana, which is why, if you’re moving to Montana, it’s a good idea to have at least a temporary rental lined up before you go. In many parts of the state, families and individuals struggle to find affordable housing. For example, according to the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, about 83 percent of the workforce of the city commutes into Big Sky every day because they can’t find affordable housing in the city.
11. Wildlife is a part of life.
In Montana, run-ins with beautiful creatures like sandhill cranes (or dangerous creatures like rattlesnakes and bears) are par for the course. Managing the deer population is always an issue in Montana, too. If you’re buying a home with a garden, you may need to take steps to protect it from local wildlife.
12. It can take a while for trends to make their way to Montana.
That hot new ingredient the hip restaurants in New York, Chicago or San Francisco are pushing might not trickle over to Montana for a couple of years. The same goes for fashion trends, in part because practical, weather-appropriate clothing is more of a priority for Montanans. If you’re used to a lot of the amenities of big-city living and staying on top of trends is important to you, moving to Montana may require an attitude adjustment.
Related Article: The Cost of Living in Montana
13. Craft beer – including home brewing – is big in Montana.
Like many Western states, Montana boasts a big craft brewing scene. According to the Montana Brewers Association (MBA), there are 53 licensed breweries in the state. The MBA says that the state’s breweries “employ more than 500 employees and have an economic impact of over $60,000,000 annually.” Home brewing is big, too, and kits are available throughout the state.
14. People are friendly.
Montanans wave to people they pass on the state’s country roads and chat with strangers in cafes and diners. If you’re moving to Montana from, say, the Northeast, you might be surprised by how warm and friendly the people are.
15. It’s wise to be self-sufficient in Montana.
In Montana, particularly in rural areas, you might run into problems like a power outage after a storm or a car battery failure in freezing temperatures. It’s important to have basic survival supplies in your home and car (but you don’t have to go full-on doomsday prepper). But Montanans also rely on their neighbors, so don’t be surprised if you get on a knock on your door asking for help.
The past few posts have been on What to do with out of town visitors – one may ask why we haven’t hiked and gotten into our beautiful wilderness. The reason is that my Mom is wheelchair bound so we had to think of things to do where she could enjoy the outdoors in an accessible way.
So this weekend we went to Jackson WY and explored the Teton National Park and town of Jackson. We were blessed with beautiful, actually stunning, weather. We drove over through Ennis, trying to avoid the Friday construction and traffic going through Gallatin Gateway and Big Sky. Nice drive, about 4. 5 hours – stopped in Ennis at Willie’s to pick up some product. We purchased a very smooth vodka and Rye whiskey and some of that delicious coffee drink. They do tastings and tours – very neat place. https://www.williesdistillery.com/
We checked into our condo rental at Snow king which is close to town but has some nice views. We had to be picky about the accomodation as we needed one level with elevator – difficult to find in a ski town! Friday evening we enjoyed a fine (if pricey) dinner at Snake River Grill. Highly recommend – nice service, good food and beautiful dining room. https://www.snakerivergrill.com/
Saturday, we were up early and after a quick breakfast drove to the Teton National Park. We stopped at the visitor center where the helpful guide recommended a good route with wheelchair. Honestly, one picture is just better than the next in this park – scenery is just stunning. We visited the Mormon row, Jenny Lake and then on the way out stopped at the National Museum of Wild life Art which was a nice way to top off that portion of the day. https://www.wildlifeart.org/
Saturday afternoon after lunch at Merry Piglets https://merrypiglets.com/ . we shopped around the Town Square. Very fun shopping there and lots of nice art galleries.
Sunday, we decided to go home through the parks so drove the length of Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone. If you have the time, it is not summer and the roads are open, I would recommend this route to get back to Bozeman. Just an incredible display of geological diversity. We didn’t see a ton of wildlife on this trip but still had plenty to look at!
Have you ever wondered whats behind the large walls of the Grizzly encounter, located between off i-90 on the way to Livingston? We checked it out this week and enjoyed our encounter with Bella the bear, at a safe distance. The Grizzly encounter is a rescue operation for grizzlies – most have been abandoned for some reason by their mothers. The Encounter currently has 3 adults and 1 cub but only one at a time is visible to visitors. In the viewing area, there is an education staff person who will tell all you’ve ever wanted to know about grizzlies. The Grizzly Encounter is definitely worth a stop sometime! http://grizzlyencounter.org/
After our time out there we came back to Bozeman, had a nice lunch at Fire on Main https://www.firepizzabozeman.com/ and then shopped around. Our guests enjoyed the unique Tees at Intrigue Ink and Montana Scene. https://intrigue.ink/ https://www.themontanascene.com/ We also wandered around the art galleries and enjoyed the western art at Old Main Art Gallery, A.Banks Gallery, and Montana Trails Gallery. Our guest picked up a few souvenirs at the Altitude Gallery. https://www.abanksgallery.com/ , https://oldmaingallery.com/ , https://altitudegallerybozeman.com/ , https://www.montanatrails.com/ .
We get a lot of out of town visitors that are completely enamored of the West, our scenery and lifestyle. Yesterday, I took my mother and sister to Yellowstone and we did the northern loop.
Started off with the beautiful drive through Paradise Valley. In Gardiner, we stopped at the Yellowstone Forever store to pick up a map, find out conditions in the park and pick up a souvenir.
Our destination was the Canyon and Falls. We took the Tower road and went over Dunraven pass. There was snow tipping the mountains but roads were clear – an absolutely stunning drive with the blue sky! The Falls and Canyon did not disappoint and it was so nice to enjoy it with just a few fall visitors instead of the tourist crowds of summer.
Next we headed back up towards Mammoth Springs. That is such an interesting geological site and we enjoyed learned about it as we walked while checking our guide book.
Next, we went up Sage Lodge where we enjoyed a great happy hour menu, drinks and more beautiful views.
All in all, a great tourist day, good for visitors and locals alike!
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