Flathead County in northwest Montana saw an increase in residential homes sales of 29.4% in 2012, according to local market statistics expert Jim Kelly of Kelley Appraisal in Kalispell. Historically low interest rates, combined with a high percentage of REO and short sale properties, made property in the Flathead valley the most affordable in many, many years.
Kelley’s figures also showed that new residential construction was up 9.6% after being in negative territory for the past 5 years. The median price of a home in Flathead County increased to $187,500 from $180,000 in 2011. While the Bigfork area on the northeast corner of Flathead Lake had the largest increase in the number of sales, all the local markets experienced upticks in sales, with 55.7% of residential listings being sold. Local inventories of listings continued to drop – from 17.4 months in 2011 to 10.7 months in 2012, and down to 5.2 months for properties listed under $200,000 - close to the national average of 4.9 months.
Commercial property sales increased also but the average price per square foot has dropped nearly 25% in the past two years. Sales of lakefront homes increased by 38.5%, and the average price increased by about 10% over the year before. Land sales hover near the bottom of the charts and prices for land dropped more than 29% during the past year, but even land sales are starting to show signs of improvement.
All the signs in Kelley’s report point to there being no greater time to purchase property in the Flathead valley than now.
And, with popular destinations like Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, and the Big Mountain and Blacktail Mountain ski areas so close by, who wouldn't want to move to the area? Glacier
National Park is 1 million acres of mountains, lakes, valleys,
flora, and fauna that hosts 2 million visitors each year. Only
Polson of the aforementioned cities lies more than an hour away
from the West entrance to Glacier. The park features 106
miles of the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains winding
around and among 762 lakes, 563 streams and rivers, and over 730
miles of hiking and horseback trails. It is the home to wolves,
black and grizzly bears, lynx, mountain lions, and over 270 varieties
of birds in addition to more than 1,200 types of plants and flowers.
Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi
River, at 28 miles long and from 2-15 miles wide.
Native bull and cutthroat trout head a list of 25 species of
fish, and the lake covers 191 square miles which makes it the
perfect spot for fishing, sailing, picnicking, boating, camping
Eagle Bend Golf Course at Bigfork
on the north end and Polson Country Club at the south end of
the lake provide beautiful views of the lake and the Swan Mountains
in addition to challenging but enjoyable lay-outs.
Big Mountain located just north of Whitefish, and Blacktail
Mountain just west of Lakeside offer thousands of acres of terrain
for downhill and cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the
winter months, and hiking and mountain biking during the summer.
“Quality of life” is
probably the number one reason why Montana residents want to
stay here, and why visitors from other regions fall in love with
the area at first sight. People who have visited agree
with the coined phrase, “Last, Best Place” to describe
this corner of Montana. The 4th largest state in area,
Montana ranks 44th in population, giving it the “Big Sky” and “open
land” feeling. Life is a little more laid-back,
and a little less chaotic than in most areas of the country. The
scenery is second to none.
Whether you’re considering part-time residence, or planning
to enjoy all four seasons in Montana, contact Alice Ritzman for
all your real estate needs.