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2019 Whitefish Real Estate Boom

June 20, 2019

Whitefish Montana is in the midst of the biggest real estate boom since 2006. The average home price has increased by 29% in the last 18 months.

By REALTOR® Tory Baughan

Whitefish Home Prices 11 Years Ago...

The year is 2008, and the Whitefish real estate market is booming.  The average sale price for homes and condos is $596,758.  Just 4 years prior, in 2004, the average price was only $402,547.   Over the next few years, Whitefish home prices increased by 10%, 17%, 9%, and 5% respectively.  Strong and consistent growth all the way through 2008.  And then, we all know what happened next...

Present Day Whitefish Homes Prices...

Fast forward to 2014 and the Whitefish real estate market still has not recovered.  The average home price is  $442,546.  In the two years to follow, the market increased by 6% and 7% respectively.  2017 actually saw a 3% decrease in Whitefish home prices.

That leads us to 2018 and 2019 year-to-date.  2018 saw a surge - over 13% increase from 2017, to an average home sale price of $551,989.  As of June 19th, the average sale price in 2019 has risen a staggering 14% to $628,683.  With 194 days left in 2019, Whitefish home prices are on pace to jump nearly 30% in 2019..

Whitefish Real Estate Market in Depth

Let's take a closer look at the market.  In the figure below, the total sales volume and the average sale price are graphed for Whitefish homes and condos.  It's important to note that the average sale price has been graphed as of June 19th.  However, the total sales volume has not been extrapolated into 2019.  Volume is simply the total dollar amount of sales on an annual basis.  Volume is directly related to sales price through the number of sales, which is not shown.

In all residential markets in Flathead County, the volume (and sales quantity) peaked approximately two years prior to the 2008 crash.  As of June 19th, 2019 there have been 173 home sales in Whitefish.  At this time last year, there were only 147 sales.  Sales quantities have been a key indicator for projecting sales prices in the past.  Sales quantity and sale prices are graphed in the figure below.  2017 had more sales than in 2018.  Was this a temporary buyer reluctance to rapidly rising prices, or the start of a downward trend?

Another statistic that can be useful when tracking the strength of the market is the days on the market.  2018 had the lowest average days on the market in over 15 years.  This metric doesn't show the Whitefish real estate market slowing down anytime soon.

What is going on?

Social media and the proliferation of online information have turned considerable attention toward Whitefish Montana.  Just in the last 2 years, several major publications are shining the spotlight directly on Whitefish.

The economy is strong, and tourism is increasing on the rise.  Glacier National Park sets visitor records year after year, month after month.  Glacier International Airport is the fastest growing airport in Montana.  Additionally, Kalispell is the second fastest growing micropolitan area in the country.  Whitefish is THE PLACE to live if you decide the Flathead Valley is where you want to be.

Take a drive through the communities of Whitefish and you will see new construction just about everywhere.  Land sales and prices in Whitefish have not recovered nearly as well as the residential market.  Because of this, new construction is immensely popular.

If you are a Whitefish homeowner and have always wanted to build a brand new home, now is the time.  Selling your home at record highs and buying land at relatively low prices is not going to last forever.

About the Author

REALTOR® Tory Baughan is a fortune 500 engineering wiz-kid turned real estate agent.  His education and experience steer him towards a statistical and logical approach to real estate sales and marketing.