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Montana housing, land values rising due to COVID-19, supply chain issues

Posted at 11:34 AM, Feb 03, 2022

BOZEMAN - The rising cost of inflation in the housing and land market in the state of Montana is a key issue for residents and investors.

University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) Director Patrick Barkey noted the changes in the market during the pandemic during the 47th annual Economic Outlook Seminar.

“What we really saw is about three years of growth accelerate into one year,” Barkey said, “The pandemic caused plans to move, relocate, to work remotely — of course — caused those plans to accelerate.”

Barkey went on to explain that the pandemic opened the door for those working remotely, retiring, or looking to diversify their portfolio to invest in land.
“Attraction with the land is that it’s an asset that throughout history has kept up with the pace,” Assistant Professor Daniel Bigelow said.

Bigelow — who's studied the trends with land values in the country — sees the trend in Montana fueled by the lack of supplies available, "timber was through the roof, it was really hard to build."

The availability and affordability of resources during the pandemic, on top of the growing desire to move to Montana, and investors looking to buy land created a "maelstrom of things all mixed up in one boom," Barkley said.

Barkley noted it's a boom that may be tapered off with a rise in mortgage rates, "it can be a little like the air coming out of a balloon. You’ll see a run of activity to get in before the rates go up."

That, along with proposed policies to address the housing crisis throughout the state.