Montana has traditionally been overlooked by both real estate investors and lenders alike. The 6th least populous state, with a total population of just over one million, is primarily rural and has only one city (Billings) with a population greater than 100,000. However, in the last several years, Montana, and its real estate market have seen considerable growth – fueled by out-of-state buyers drawn to Big Sky Country’s immense natural beauty and outdoor recreation.
In the last year, driven in large part by the “Zoom Boom,” housing demand has greatly outpaced supply across Montana. Per NBC Montana, from April 2020 to April 2021 the median sale price for a home in Missoula increased 20.5%, to $403,450, Whitefish increased 41.0% to $632,000, and Bozeman increased 25.0% to $679,900.
Some of our team at Juniper recently traveled to Bozeman to serve as panelists at a seminar discussing financing luxury and recreational property purchases in Montana. Here are a few take-aways from that discussion:
- In an extremely competitive market, having an all-cash offer or a lender than can close in under 30 days can create a competitive advantage for a buyer.
- Working with a lender that has local ties and a strong understanding of the market makes a difference. Local banks and credit unions, or a private lending partner such as Juniper, can be a huge asset to a buyer in Montana. We have seen large national banks turn down purchase loans due to concerns with properties they classify as “rural luxury.” Meanwhile, in the private lending sphere, many national lenders exclude Montana from their lending programs due to its limited population.
- Based on our conversations with agents across the state, the real estate market across Montana is likely to remain extremely hot as the result of a severe inventory shortage and sustained demand, largely from out-of-state buyers.
If you are looking to invest in Big Sky Country and need a lending partner with an understanding of the market and roots in Montana, look no further than Juniper Capital. Give us a call today and one of our experienced loan officers will work with you to create a winning loan structure and get you to the finish line.