The Montana real-estate market may be hot, but that doesn’t mean Montana realtors aren’t being successful.
And it’s not just because the Montana Real Estate Association has increased its membership numbers by almost 400% since 2008.
It’s also because a growing number of buyers and sellers are choosing Montana because of the state’s low taxes and affordable housing policies.
In 2017, real estate agents earned an average of $16,857 per full-time-equivalent in sales, up from $11,826 in 2016, according to a report released by the Montana Realtors Association.
Montana is the only state with a statewide average sales tax rate below 25%.
That means Montana realtor salaries are one of the lowest in the country, according a study by Zillow.
But if you can afford to pay more than the state average for the property, it’s probably a good place to start.
“The sales tax is a big factor in why Montana is attractive for realtores,” said Joe Schoenfeld, a realtor with L.P. Realty, a market-research firm.
“There are many options for buyers.”
For realtor Schoenstein, it may be the state of Montana’s low tax rate, low housing costs, and low property taxes that have drawn buyers to the state.
The state has a low property-tax rate of 10%, compared to the average of 12.6% in the nation.
That means you’ll pay less in taxes and fees to purchase a property than in most states.
“Montana is really, really low in property taxes compared to other states,” Schoenfeild said.
“That’s a huge advantage to realtorship agents because they can negotiate for the lowest property taxes possible.”
In the past year, the Montana realestate industry has seen some big changes.
In the past three years, the number of properties sold in Montana has more than doubled, from 6,819 in 2015 to 10,869 in 2016.
That’s a lot of new properties to sell.
“There’s been a tremendous increase in the number and the quality of homes being sold in the past couple of years,” Schonfeld said.
In 2016, there were more than 20,000 new properties sold across the state, according the Realtor’s Association.
“I’ve seen a huge increase in buyers wanting to buy in Montana and they’re willing to pay a lot more in taxes,” Schoenefeld said, adding that Montana realteors are the most-active agents in the state because of its tax-free, low-cost real estate policies.
Montana realtor prices have been going up as well.
The average price for single-family homes in the first quarter of 2018 was $921,500, up $3,834 from the same quarter a year earlier.
That was also the highest in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2017, according Zillows.
Schoenfeld said he has seen the same trend in Montana realty prices in recent years.
The median home in Montana sold in 2018 was on the market for $1.3 million, according Realtorp data.
The year before, it was a much lower $1 million, and in 2017 it was $1,400,000.
“When I see prices go up, I think we’re going to see more interest from buyers,” Schofeild said, but he cautions against buying too much right away.
“We have to get a good feel for what’s available in Montana before we go into the market,” Schoneld said.
“If we’re too eager to buy, we’re not going to have a strong grasp of what the real- estate market is like,” he added.
“If we buy too quickly, we may not have a great experience with the process.”
While buying a home in Montanans market may not be the most glamorous option out there, it is an affordable option, according Schoenfield.
“It’s a great place to buy,” Schoeld said, “because the median home price in the second quarter of this year was $750,000.”
Schoenfeifeld said that, while it may not seem like a lot, buying a new home is a good investment because it’s a safe bet.
“Montana, with its low taxes, low property tax, and affordability, is a very good place for homebuyers,” he said.