Local housing prices generally trended upward in 2019, according to statistics through November from the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors.
The median, or middle-point sale price for a home in Flathead County jumped 8.5% over the past year and ended at $329,950 in November. In December 2018, the median price was $309,900.
“The median sale price in Flathead County has remained consistent through the last few years,” NMAR Executive Officer Jeri Moon said.
Standard three-bedroom, two-bathroom residences maintained mostly consistent prices throughout the year, with the exception of condominiums. Condo prices were exceptionally high at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, according to local real estate data. These fell sharply throughout spring, 2019, from a median high point of $330,500 for a three-bedroom residence in January 2019, to $278,000 in February, 2019. Median condo prices fell further by April, 2019, at $255,000, and by November had rebounded to $257,000.
Moon reported the average price per square foot for a condo is about $50 more than that of a single-family home.
Single-family and townhome sales of the same size trended slightly upward. The median price for a single-family home topped out at $316,000 in November, compared to $289,950 in November 2018. Townhomes ended the year at a high price of $239,500, compared to $215,000 last year.
Mobile and manufactured homes have hovered around $200,000 for over a year.
The average number of days on the market has decreased over the last three years, according to Moon. Currently, the average is around 36 to 40 days on the market for a single-family home.
Lakeshore properties saw general price increases throughout 2019, with the exclusion of mobile and manufactured lakeshore residences. These dipped to $135,000 in November 2019, compared to $185,000 this time last year and a high of $206,000 in March 2019.
Lakeshore condos recovered from a dip at the end of 2018, increasing from a low median price of $167,000 in October 2018 to a high of $442,000 in July 2019. Through November, the median price of a lakeshore condo was $324,900.
Single-family lakeshore homes came in at $450,000 in November, 2019, compared to $426,000 in November, 2018. Lakeshore townhomes were priced at $335,000 in November, 2019, compared to $290,000 in November, 2018.
The Montana Regional Multiple Listing Service reported a total of 8,626 residential sales and 2,267 land sales in six Northwest Montana counties, including Flathead, for 2019, as of Nov. 30. For 2018, they reported 8,325 total residential and 2,317 total land sales.
Gross sales for residential properties totaled roughly $2.84 billion in 2019, compared to $2,85 billion in 2018. Likewise, land sales came to a total of more than $302 million in 2019, versus $300.7 million in 2018.
Kalispell had the highest number of property sales in the Flathead in 2019, with 908 residential and 198 land sales. The highest average price was in Whitefish, where the average residential property was $626,593 and average land sale was $263,747. The average sale price is calculated by adding all the sale prices for homes sold in a specific area over a period of time and dividing the total by the number of properties sold. A median price, on the other hand, is the figure at which half of the properties in an area sell at a higher price and other half sell at a lower price.
The Multiple Listing Service’s average residential price was $329,184 in Northwest Montana from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30, 2019. The average land price for the same time-frame was $131,467.
Kalispell had the lowest average price, at $341,121 for a residential home and $138,334 for land. In Columbia Falls, the average residential price was $343,908 and the average land price was $158,947. Bigfork had an average residential price of $506,232 and an average land price of $175,619.
Interestingly, Moon said there is “almost exactly one residential home for sale per the number of Realtors in Northwest Montana.”
The Kalispell Planning and Building Department issued 155 permits for new single-family/duplex buildings through Dec. 10, 2019, up from 135 permits at this time last year. There have also been 80 permits for multi-family units this year, compared with 66 permits for multi-family units at this time in 2018.
The Whitefish Planning and Building Department issued 95 permits for new single-family homes, 77 permits for duplex or townhome units and 68 permits for multi-family units in 2019. In 2018, they issued 64 permits for new single-family developments, 40 permits for duplex or townhome units and 54 permits for multi-family units.
The Columbia Falls Planning Department issued 55 total building permits through Dec. 4, 2019. Residential developments accounted for 31 permits and 24 were for commercial developments. In 2018, they issued 78 total building permits, including 61 for residential developments and 17 for commercial developments.
Flathead County, which does not require building permits, approved 112 final plats for subdivisions in 2019, compared to 195 final plats in 2018. However, the county only received two applications for new multi-family projects in 2019.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 758-4459.
Note: This story was corrected to reflect 54 permits for multi-family housing units in Whitefish in 2018.