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FAQ – Western Montana Living

Do you have questions about living in Western Montana? Cindi Hayne provides some answers below…

  • Missoula, Montana was just ranked 9th by the Kauffman Index Skwalla Montana fly fishingfor entrepreneurship – what has driven this activity to your region?

Missoula is a tertiary market for new start- ups. Most national business owners do not realize that Montana launched more new businesses last year than in the entire United States.

This growth has been steadily increasing for the past few years with the most activity in Bozeman. An example is a company called Right Now Technologies which was purchased by Oracle in 2011 for $1.5 billion. This acquisition put Bozeman on the map as the new Silicon Valley of the Rockies. Missoula is now the hot bed for startups especially in the sectors of science based companies, manufacturing and high tech.

  • What are a few names of these new companies?

Three science based companies tied to the University of Montana are River Top Renewals, Clearas Water Recovery and Inimmune.

In manufacturing, there has been a great response to Alcom, Kettlehouse Brewing and Montainers, which converts cargo containers into tiny homes and ships them overseas.

The most action though is in the high tech sector with such success stories in Lumenad, Audience Awards, Advanced Technology Group, Geofli, and Orbital Shift.

  • Why is Missoula surpassing Bozeman in the number of startups?

Business owners are recognizing that the Missoula and Bitterroot Valley regions are becoming the substitute destination in Montana. Our region offers the same recreational opportunities and transportation conveniences as the resort towns of Bozeman and Whitefish but without the hype and high cost of living.

People who are relocating here have access to blue ribbon trout fishing on five local rivers, hiking, trail activities, and hunting in the Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness area (which is the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states), extensive cultural activities, and a strong university system.

Missoula is where Norman McClean’s epic novel, “A River Runs Through It,” took place. Additionally, winter activities are robust. Lost Trail Powder Mountain in the Bitterroot Valley was highlighted in the Wall Street Journal as one of the nation’s hidden gems for great snow, a family friendly environment and well-groomed runs.

  • Is the work/ play balance is a strong incentive for employees?

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Absolutely! With the diverse backgrounds of residents relocating to our area, plus the University of Montana partnerships, it is a win–win for business owners and employees.

We have a very high job retention here. People want to live and raise their families in a small town environment with a good educational system, great health care, and a strong mentoring climate and still be globally connected.

  • What opportunities are available for commercial investors?

We are seeing a positive net migration which has put pressure on the housing market. There is a need for more apartments, multi- family housing, and median-priced housing. Of course, there are challenges with land cost, affordability in rental rates and entry level inventory. This pressure has shifted a number of new buyers to the northern region of the Bitterroot Valley which is now a suburb of Missoula.

Additionally, there is a need for small (or flex) office space either for sale or lease, rethought or re-purposed retail space and flex use warehouse space for distribution centers.

Currently, there are 64 unique projects over $500,000 equaling $910 million dollars in active and permitted projects.

  • When I think of Montana I am aware of Bozeman and Whitefish but not Missoula. What landmarks would I recognize in your area?

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Missoula is known as the Garden City and is home to the University of Montana, the International Heart Institute, world headquarters for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Boone and Crockett.

World class resorts are in our geographic region with recognizable names such as Paws Up Resort, The Ranch at Rock Creek, E Bar L Guest Ranch, and Triple Creek Resort which was named one of the best hotels in the world. These resorts are constantly featured in “Sunset Magazine,” “Town and Country,” “The Robb Report,” and various lifestyle publications.

Additionally, the private community of the Stock Farm Golf and Sporting Club, which was founded by Charles Schwab, is recognized with the number one golf course in the state as rated by “Golf Digest Magazine.”

  • What is the median cost of housing and income for your area?

Barn in BitterrootThe median income is $42,000 and the median cost of a home in Missoula is around $250,000. Our highest year in volume was 2007, and we matched the number of units sold in 2016 to 2007. The two most active price points are from $200, 000 to $275,000 and $275,000 to $300,000.

For rentals, a one bedroom apartment averages $625/month and a three-bedroom home averages around $1100/month. Our rental vacancy rates averages 2% which is supporting the need for additional multi- family and apartment inventory.


  • What are the tax rates in Montana?

Montana does not have state sales tax, and the top tax bracket for income tax is 6.9%. Additionally, we are a non-disclosure state which means when real property conveys, it does so without an automatic increase in property taxes.

  • What is the anticipated rate of growth for Montana in the next few years?

Montana has a population base of just over one million residents. Yellowstone County, where Bozeman is located, is number one and Missoula County is second with over 116,000 residents.

The sphere of influence for Missoula is well over 250,000 with Ravalli County, Lake County, Granite County, and Sanders County as direct links to Missoula. The anticipated rate of growth is expected to be in the 3% range for the next few years.

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  • Are there all classifications of residential real estate available?

Yes. There are a myriad of environments to choose from. You can have a waterfront home on Flathead Lake, live on a year round creek or walk out your back porch to fish the Bitterroot or Blackfoot Rivers, have an elegant condominium in the center of downtown Missoula, or own hundreds of acres for your private cattle ranch.

We have everything you can imagine to partake in the Western Experience but still be globally connected.

Note that this information will change with current, Montana data. For the latest updates and more information, please contact Cindi Hayne directly here:

Phone: 406.240.6497, Cindi(at)Come2Montana(dotted)com