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Montana is known as The Last Best Place and Big Sky Country — and it’s no wonder. The state boasts some of the country’s most stunning landscapes, from awe-inspiring mountain peaks to lush forests, magical rivers and canyons to sweeping vistas on the high plains. With so much natural beauty, we’re not surprised you’re interested in living there!
Traveling throughout Montana, you’re likely to come across an old mining ghost town (or two), like Bannack State Park in Dillon, Montana. With more than 50 buildings still standing, a walk around the park transports visitors back to 1862, the year of Montana’s first major gold discovery. Many of the park’s buildings are rustic log and wood-frame structures — styles that still influence Montana’s architecture today.
Much of the state’s modern architecture matches the grandeur of its natural landscapes, although it often borrows elements of the past. You’ll find plenty of large and spacious mountain lodges with log and wood features. Of course, Montana homes aren’t all mountain-inspired. Real estate listings also feature classic ranch homes, Victorians, Craftsman homes, and modern builds.
Regardless of what type of home you choose, chances are, it’s going to have features that draw you back outside. Realm analyzed data and found that decks and patios were two of the most common features in Montana real estate listings. In fact, more than 2,600 homes had decks while nearly 1,500 more had patios. So get ready for lots of dinners under that great Big Sky!
While Montana’s older homes and historical buildings have lots of character, it turns out that most homes were built more recently. According to data analyzed by Realm, most of the state’s homes were built in 1978. What does that mean for you? It may mean that homes you’re interested in may be due for some bigger-ticket repairs and renovations.
When you’re looking at potential homes in Montana, if you find one built in the late 1970s or early 1980s, it’s worth looking into the plumbing. Many homes built around this time still used galvanized steel pipes, which are durable, but do corrode over time. While they can last 60 to 70 years, sometimes they need to be replaced sooner. As with any home you’re considering purchasing, it’s important to get an assessment from a certified home inspector. Make sure they also check out the roof and foundation, which can be costly to repair. Your inspection should give you a clear picture of what needs attention so you can get a cost estimate and use that information during your negotiations.
Living in Montana means living close to nature, but luckily very few homes in the state have to worry about floods or fires. Realm’s data analysis revealed that 97% of homes are outside of flood zones and 99% are outside designated wildfire perimeters from the last five years. Snow, however, is definitely in your future — so bundle up and enjoy your Montana house hunting!
Why is it so expensive to live in Montana?
Real estate in some of Montana’s more popular cities, like Missoula and Bozeman, has risen significantly in the past couple of years. In Missoula, for example, the median home price jumped from $350,000 in 2020 to $420,000 in the first quarter of 2021. Like many other places, Montana’s real estate is feeling the squeeze of high demand and limited housing supply. As long as the market remains competitive, with many people wanting to buy homes in the state, prices will likely remain high as well.
Is it worth buying land in Montana?
While real estate prices have been increasing, land in Montana is plentiful — it’s the fourth largest state covering 147,040 square miles. Another benefit: property taxes are relatively low. The average effective property tax rate in Montana is only .83% compared to the national average of 1.07%. Most people who buy or own land use it for agricultural or ranching purposes.
What does land cost per acre in Montana?
Although there’s lots of land to be had in Montana, even land costs have spiked in the past couple years. The median listing price per acre in 2019 was $1,087. In 2020, it was $1,157 an acre, and by fall of 2021, the median price per acre had already jumped $1,600 per acre.
Can you still homestead in Montana?
Montana no longer offers free land for homesteading, however, the state does offer something called a homestead declaration. This legal document protects your home and the land it sits on (it must be your main residence) in times of financial hardship. If you’re struggling financially and have filed a homestead declaration, it protects up to $250,000 in your property’s value against creditors.
We currently cover most standalone, single-family homes