Home prices are on the rise in the Flathead Valley, according to Kelley Appraisal’s midyear real estate report. The Kalispell-based appraisal firm has monitored real estate trends in the Flathead for over 30 years.
Median home prices jumped by 9.1 percent over last year’s values, from $246,000 to $269,000 in the first six months of the year. The volume of sales increased by 11.1 percent valleywide, with 822 homes sold year-to-date, outpacing last year’s sales over the same time period by 82 homes.
However, home sales aren’t coming from the luxury market, according to local brokers.
Lakeside Realtor David Fetveit said the $400,000 and under market is currently “hot,” while sales of luxury properties over $2 million have slowed down.
“[Homes] under $400,000 almost anywhere in the valley, there’s hardly any inventory,” he said. “If it’s priced right, there’s multiple offers, there’s bidding wars — especially in the $200,000 and $300,000 [range].”
Longtime Bigfork real estate agent Cherie Hansen said she’s observed a shift away from the larger, more grandiose properties.
“The next generation is looking more for something that’s a little smaller,” Hansen said. “They don’t want to be so tied to coming to the lake house for all their vacations — they want to be more mobile.”
Prices of lakefront homes and condominiums on Flathead Lake have remained fairly constant — the median rose by 5.4 percent over 2016 values to $611,000. Whitefish Lake, on the other hand, has seen a marked increase both in sales volume and home values. The number of properties available hasn’t risen above 10 since 2007, but jumped from four to seven this year. Prices have followed suit, leaping from a median value of $1.5 million to $1.9 million this year. In the Whitefish Lake area, the median home price has more than doubled over the past decade while the median price of Flathead Lake homes has largely remained in the $600,000 range, after peaking at nearly $900,000 in 2007.
Waterfront properties as a whole, including homes along rivers, lakes and streams, hit $65 million in sales this year, Fetveit said.
“Flathead Lake might be a little flat, [but] we’re up 30 percent over last year in total sales of waterfront,” he said.
Waterfront sales in the greater Flathead area were just shy of $50 million last year with 86 properties sold. This year, 102 waterfront properties have been sold. Homes over $1 million combined for $43 million in sales year-to-date with 26 properties, down by two from last year.
Kalispell, Whitefish and Lakeside all boasted modest increases in median home values, ranging from 8.4 to 12.6 percent. Bigfork was the only valley community that witnessed a decrease in property prices of 6.8 percent, bringing the median to $307,500.
Columbia Falls saw the largest jump in median home prices, rising from $197,250 to $265,000 this year — a leap of 34.3 percent. Columbia Falls offers the second-lowest price point in the Flathead Valley, behind Kalispell with a median home value of $239,000.
Hansen expects prices on homes less than $500,000 to continue their upward trajectory.
“There’s just not much supply,” she said of homes in that bracket. “I think that there’s quite a lot of inventory in the over $1 million [(homes], so I expect to see those prices drop a little bit.”
Reporter Mackenzie Reiss may be reached at 758-4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.