COVID-19 and The Bozeman Real Estate Market

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I hesitate in this precarious time to look at something as material as real estate in the scope of the recent coronavirus pandemic.  It may seem insignificant, or even crass, to those who are suffering illness or loss. And to those people, my heart goes out. 

 

But the economy, and real estate, are a concern for a great many people.  Real Estate shares a unique role in our society, at once a majority of the American populations' most significant lifetime investment, as well as the most basic of human needs providing safety, shelter, and warmth.  Many people across the country are fearful of losing this most basic of necessities right now, which makes the topic relevant.

 

The last recession of 2008 hit Bozeman, Montana particularly hard.  Believed to be in a housing bubble in 2006-2008, the fall out from the collapse of the mortgage banking systems and others left Bozeman with inventory that seemed to far exceed demand, particularly at early 2008 prices.  A revamp of mortgage underwriting guidelines diminished the buyer pool further by eliminating stated income and D-grade and lower home loans. This was a true financial crisis. And Bozeman suffered.

 

But a slow, consistent recovery, helped along by interest rates, a reduction in construction costs that parlayed into lower home prices, first time home buyer incentives.  And the economy as a whole recovered.


One obvious reason for the healthy recovery here in Bozeman, and subsequent years of robust growth, is the very nature of Bozeman itself:  A intelligent, healthy population; a high quality of life that includes beautiful surroundings, an abundance of outdoor recreation, local agriculture and food sources, a nationally recognized university, and a surprising amount of culture and amenities for a town this size.  Bozeman is a unique place, nestled into the state that has the third-lowest density in the country (about 7 people per square mile).

 

So here it is:  This will be hard for a bit.  People are hunkered down, not looking at property but trying to stay safe.  And many sellers are holding off listing their homes and properties with that knowledge.  So activity will fall off for a bit, and prices will likely soften (Think: great time to buy).  But once we come out the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic, you will see this: A robust recovery for real estate in Bozeman.  The very meaning and importance of home has shifted for many across the country and the world, and the fact that we may be confined to that home for long periods of time only magnifies the importance of liking where we dwell.  And we will see an increasing shift from high-density areas of the country and world to smaller towns, particularly those that have a lot to offer like Bozeman. Space and quality of life will become an increasing draw for people, and that, my friends, is what we have here in Bozeman, Montana.

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