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Gallatin Valley housing report shows affordability a growing issue

Posted at 11:00 AM, Mar 15, 2022

BOZEMAN — It's no surprise that in Gallatin County you can stop and ask anyone and they will know the median price of a home.

The Gallatin Association of Realtors has released a new study that took a deep look at the housing market.

"Housing is top of mind, on the lips of every Gallatin County resident,” said Joanna Harper, 2022 President of the Gallatin Association of Realtors.

This housing report is something that has never been done in Gallatin County.

“It’s a comprehensive, objective analysis of both the sale and rental housing market in Gallatin County,” Harper said.

A lot plays into the housing market, one of those factors being housing affordability.

The housing affordability index in Gallatin County is a measure of how well a household can afford a house payment if they bought a house at the median price and earned median income.

The most recent numbers from 2019 show Three Forks is the only city in the county still affordable by this measure; most cities have seen a steady decrease in affordability. Since 2015, Big Sky ranks as the least affordable in the county.

“What makes Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley those fundamentals I believe will remain unchanged,” said Harper.

Patrick Morrisey moved from Great Falls to Bozeman and says trying to find housing for his family has been a challenge.

“The experience has been incomplete is the best way to put it,” he said.

His experience has been night and day. “I had a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house I was paying about $1,750 a month for."

As he searches for a home for his family in Bozeman, most of what comes up in Bozeman is nowhere near what he was doing in Great Falls.

“In Bozeman, that equivalent house in Bozeman, around $3,000, maybe $3,500 a month if I could even find it,” Morrisey said.

The median price of a single-family house in Gallatin County was $237,000 in 2011. It took six years for the price to double.

It was around 2017 when the median price was $400,000 and then the price really skyrocketed. Last year, the median price was $680,000.

Morrisey’s option is to look outside of the city," renting will be the initial thing for sure, it’ll be in Belgrade."

The million-dollar question those in Gallatin County keep asking: when will things get better?

“Everyone who tells you that they know exactly what the market is going to do is someone that maybe should be looked at a little suspiciously,” said Harper.