Montana’s Big Sky Country offers luxury real estate, and the good news is that there is even inventory. Montana’s waterfront homes, riding stables, and ski properties are selling fast in Whitefish and Big Fork. However, Montana is not experiencing the same bidding warfare that characterizes the hot real estate markets across the country.
Jeff Raper, the managing agent at National Parks Realty, has been selling properties in Whitefish and Bigfork for over two decades, and says the areas offer buyers the best value for money when compared to other mountain resorts. “We have four seasons that attract buyers here,” he says. “Our market is on fire, but we are still good value for money compared to other markets.” According to current MLS data, the median single-family home retail price in Flathead County, where Whitefish and Bigfork are located, is $ 1,827,591. That is well below the prices in mountain resorts like Vail and Aspen.
Your money goes very far in the Whitefish area. National Parks Realty has its own 3,834 square foot ranch listed on over 40 acres with 950 foot Whiteriver facade. The asking price: $ 2,499,000. “We’ve seen active listings increase 483 percent since the beginning of the year,” Raper notes.
Around 90 of the sales this year are in the millions. “We are a resort and a lifestyle-oriented market,” explains Raper. Pointing out location, location, location: “We’re close to skiing and fishing and also at the west entrance of Glacier National Park. There are 13 lakes here and we’re only an hour from Costco.”
Most real estate offices were closed last Memorial Day weekend, but brokers and agents were busy showing properties by appointment. Today, the Montana buyer profile is a well-heeled, out-of-town guy looking to make the area his full-time residence. “Sales in the luxury market are brisk. Buyers are looking for waterfront properties and viewing properties in Whitefish and Bigfork,” said Denise Lang, an agent at National Parks Realty.
The Iron Horse Golf Club, just minutes from Glacier National Park in Whitefish, appeals to the luxury and ultra-luxury buyer as a second or third home. A 9,800 square meter house on 2.7 hectares is mountain architecture at its best. There is a creek on the property and two springs. Current prices are $ 8,500,000.
Valery Neuman, a top luxury real estate agent in the Palm Springs area, and her husband Don built their dream home at Iron Horse Golf Club several years ago. “Iron Horse is very family oriented with concierge amenities and one of the best golf courses,” says Neuman, who drives her two dogs from Palm Springs to Iron Horse. “There is everything from golf, tennis, hiking and skiing nearby. It’s only five minutes from the picturesque town of Whitefish, ”she adds. Neuman points out a waiting list to become a member.
Getting to and from the area is convenient, which appeals to shoppers. Glacier International Airport serves Whitefish and Bigfork. There are direct flights on major airlines from San Diego, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Houston and San Francisco.
Keep in mind that the Whitefish and Bigfork markets are different from the glitz of Vail and Aspen. Life moves more slowly there. National Parks Realty Agent Mike Anderson grew up in Whitefish. “My advice to those looking to buy a property here is to understand first that this is a rural market and be patient.”
As city dwellers look for more space and real estate for their money, expect increased sales activity and soaring prices in Whitefish and Bigfork.
National Parks Realty is an exclusive member of Global Advance Guide Properties, a consumer marketplace and member network of elite brokers selling the world’s most luxurious homes.