The Bozeman Real Estate Report is a free service of Taunya Fagan Bozeman Real Estate, A Top Bozeman Realtor – 3960 Valley Commons Drive, Suite 1, Bozeman, MT 59718
Southwest Montana: Bozeman Quality of Life
The southwest Montana region’s quality of life is exceptional in large part because the geological forces giving rise to the mountain ranges of the Three Forks Basin helped create southwest Montana’s Gallatin Valley and Livingston Montana’s Paradise Valley.
These and other southwest Montana valleys are surrounded on some or all sides by the Three Forks Basin’s several mountain ranges.
These ranges include the Bridger Range, Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Tobacco Root, and Bangtail Mountains, all of which provide thousands of acres of national forest wilderness and Montana state land as well as hosting a vast trail system running through wild Montana lands and over many Montana mountain ranges.
Two of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park, America’s oldest and best known protected wild-lands, are but a beautiful 90-mile drive south from Bozeman, Montana and a 55-mile commute south from Livingston, Montana; this proximity enables both residents and tourists easy, four-season access to Yellowstone Park.
The southwest Montana landscape is a scenic wilderness, and Glacier National Park, another of the United States’ most beautiful national parks, is less than a day’s drive northwest of the Gallatin Valley, Montana.
Southwest Montana: Bozeman Economy
As a whole, both Gallatin County, MT and Park County, Montana have diverse and thriving economies of tourism, government, manufacturing, retail, technology, construction, agriculture, and service.
Some communities within both Montana counties include many or all these industries, others are dependent on fewer. For example, West Yellowstone, MT, prospers almost entirely on tourism.
In Bozeman, the largest single employer in the region, Montana State University (MSU), employs about 4,100. In 2016, MSU’s student population was 11,000+ students; in 2019, there were 16,703! With this number of students in a city of 52,000 residents, students will significantly increase economic vibrancy. (Note: MSU students with established Bozeman, Montana residency are included in U.S. Census data.)
In 2016, Gallatin County had a population of ~98,000 and Bozeman’s population was over 45,000; today, in 2019, it is ~109,000 and ~49,000, respectively. According to past US census statistical figures, the 2009 Gallatin County population was about 90,343 and its county seat, Bozeman, had some 35,061 residents.
Today, in 2019, the population is slightly higher than 2016 figures. Growth in this neck of the woods is slower than in Gallatin County and Bozeman. In 2016, Montana’s Park County population was ~16,000 and Livingston, Montana’s population was ~7,100. The 2009 population was about 15,941 and its county seat, Livingston, had some 7,300 residents.
Southwest Montana: Bozeman Cost of Living Statistics
In 2016, Bozeman’s above average cost of living was 116.60, which was 16.6% above the National average of 100 and continues to be driven up by the cost of the housing component. In 2016, Bozeman continued to have the highest cost of living (and housing) in Montana. Number 2, Missoula was at 110 and #3 Kalispell, 110.
Also, in 2008, according to Bozeman, Montana’s Prospera Business Network report released every year and based on the *ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the after tax cost of living for a professional/managerial household in the city of Bozeman registered at 6% above the national average.
The other two Montana cities in the study, Missoula and Kalispell, both ranked above the national average at 4.1% and 1.4%, respectively. Bozeman’s composite score of 6% above the national average compares to the previous quarter’s score of 7.1% above the US average.
*The ACCRA Cost of Living Index composite score is based on components including housing, utilities, grocery, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods. While Bozeman’s cost of living composite score is above the national average, two component costs (grocery and transportation items) have been below the national average for the last few years.
Gallatin County and Bozeman subdivisions
Bozeman Real Estate History
In 2016, Bozeman was one of the fastest-growing Micropolitan cities in the United States. In 2015, the Livingston real estate market increased almost 30% in property sales, with a median home price about $210,000.
Perhaps increasing housing costs in Bozeman, Montana force people to commute from Livingston, Montana each day. People are drawn to the southwest and south-central Montana region for its stunning geography, excellent recreation, and abundant outdoor activities.
The Bozeman, Montana construction industry was very busy in 2015 with 250 single-family housing starts by May. Compared to May 2014, May 2015 building permits issued in Bozeman resulted in an 75% increase . More than 60% of the total building permits issued in Montana for the year 2015 were issued in Gallatin County, MT.
Though inventory in late 2014 was lower than earlier in 2014, continued sales demand and fewer Bozeman, Montana homes listed for sale contributed to a relatively long run of price increases until late Summer 2014, after which prices began stabilizing.
The inventory of Bozeman homes declined into October 2014, and supply and demand levels then showed signs of price stabilization for Bozeman luxury homes, residential dwellings, condos, and townhouses. Prices for Bozeman homes for sale hit another all time high in August 2014.
December 2013: The market had been cooling off a bit in recent weeks, as more homes were available and demand was down.
According to Housing Predictor, in the 2012 Bozeman MT housing market, home buyers, encouraged by very low mortgage rates, should help increase Bozeman home sales in 2012; Housing Predictor has also predicted in 2012 prices of Bozeman homes will decline by an additional 4.2%.
Based upon Gallatin Association of Realtors MLS data, January through early October 2011 records indicate Bozeman and Belgrade home prices dropped approximately 5.5% Q1 – Q3, 2011.
Bozeman areas 1SM, 1SK, 1NW, 1NE: In 2010, the average sales price for SW Montana Homes was $274,944; 2009, $275,668; 2008, $325,619; 2007, $338,168. In 2010 the average sales price for Condos and Town homes was $184,414; 2009, $196,912; 2008, $215,730; 2007, $235,037.
In January 2009, Housing Predictor declared our collegiate, outdoor-loving city to be one of the top ten US real estate markets for home appreciation in 2009. By September 2009 the Bozeman housing market made the “top ten hottest real estate markets in the US.” From mid-2009, when the market hit its lowest point, southwest Montana realty prices were on an upward trend ever so slightly: a review of Bozeman real estate prices, indicated prices for town-homes, condos, and residential homes continued slowly climbing.
Southwest Montana: Bozeman, MT Information Overview
Southwest Montana consists of extensive mountain ranges, primal wilderness, blue-ribbon trout streams and rivers, world-class snowboarding and skiing. Home to Yellowstone National Park, southwest Montana is a recreationist’s paradise.
Population in the city of Bozeman, MT grew 35.5% from 2000 to 2010, increasing from 27,509 to 37,280. Other Gallatin County and Park County cities have grown at similar rates. Though steady growth tends to bring both positive and negative results, the encouraging news is that in spite of growth, Bozeman and outlying towns have retained their “small town” character. Bozeman has a thriving historic downtown shopping and dining district.
In 2005, American Cities Business Journals, a national publisher of business newspapers in 41 major American cities, ranked Bozeman, Montana first among the nation’s top sixteen small-sized markets (cities with fewer than 100,000 people). The ranking cited Bozeman’s high ratio of small businesses per 100,000 people, a positive aspect of Bozeman’s rapid, two-year growth rate of 10.7%.
The population in the city of Belgrade, MT grew 23% from 2000 to 2004, increasing from 5,728 to 7,046. The Belgrade, Montana growth plan calls for community expansion to provide more jobs for local residents and to diversify Belgrade’s economic base, which ultimately means Belgrade, Montana real estate will need to be transferred from agricultural uses to non-agricultural uses in an effort to accommodate the influx of new residents.
Montana State University (MSU)
Home to Montana State University and containing a highly educated and qualified workforce (43.2% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and Bozeman has the “most educated population in Montana”), Gallatin County, Montana regularly ranks as one of the nation’s most livable regions. Gallatin County, MT has received A’s in both vibrancy and vitality and both civic capacity and engagement, and the County was named as the best place in the Rockies for healthy living and small business creation in the recent The State of the Rockies Report Card, published by Colorado College.
Bozeman, Montana is just one of the communities located in Gallatin County, MT. In 2001, Bozeman was one of 10 communities nationwide that won the All-America City Award, which is the longest-running and most prestigious civic award in the United States. Sponsored by the American Civic League, in cooperation with Allstate Insurance Company, the All-America City Award honors communities in which businesses, schools, government, churches, non-profit agencies, and clubs collaborate to resolve important community issues.
Southwest Montana Climate*
This part of Southwest Montana has an almost ideal four-season climate with mild mountain temperatures. For the most part, the region doesn’t experience the extremes of heat or cold found in other parts of Montana. With an average of 320 days of sunshine each year, Bozeman has more annual days of sun than does Houston, Texas.
The southwest Montana and Bozeman climate reflects its mountain setting. Its summers are pleasant, with warm days, cool nights, and much sunshine. Hot weather and humid conditions are infrequent. The area is among one of the few regions in the U.S. where the average summer climate is comfortable because of moderate combined heat and humidity. In the early fall, often until mid-October, daily temperatures average a high of 70°C. In mid to late October, temperatures drop to highs in the 40°Cs and 50°Cs and lows in the 20°Cs and 30°Cs. Southwest Montana winters find inconsistent temperatures. Mild winter weather occurs frequently and a week or more of consistently cold weather seldom occurs.*
For those involved in winter sports, the relative low humidity (~58.9°C) in southwest, MT coupled with light winds create an ideal winter climate for outdoor activity. The Montana skiing and snowboarding season usually begins mid-December, ending mid-April. Spring tends to come late in southwest Montana. A third of the yearly precipitation occurs during April, May, and June, after which the weather becomes dry and sunny. The average growing season is 107 days. The first significant frost occurs in mid-September.
* According to University of Montana professor, Steve Running, who is also a climate scientist, and who has used weather records for the past half century to prove abnormal warming: “In Montana, average annual air temperature has increased about 1°C, the frost-free growing season length is about 12 days longer than in 1950, annual snowfall has decreased by 6 to 22 inches across the state, snow-melt is occurring two to three weeks earlier than in 1950 and wildfires greater than 1,000 acres have increased six-fold in the last 40 years.”
Be aware: because Montana is a non disclosure state, you may receive inaccurate real estate data, sales prices, etc. from out-of-state real estate data companies having no legal access to Montana real estate sales history.
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