why is the price of real estate in the bitterroot valley still high?

Asked by Dp, Ravalli County, MT Mon Apr 20, 2009

Im looking to buy in the Hamilton area but there are only a few houses in my price range

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Darwin Ernst’s answer
Darwin Ernst, Agent, Ravalli, MT
Tue Jun 19, 2012
There are many options for a good buy in the current market of the Bitterroot Valley. As a 12 year certified residential and a land appraiser in this valley, I have extensive knowledge of this real estate market. If you are interested in an ethical and professional look at the market data and how it should affect your purchasing decision, please give me a call or send me a quick e-mail and I will be glad to help.

Darwin Ernst, SRA
Darwin Ernst Appraisal Services, Inc.
Office Phone: 406-363-7008
Cell: 406-239-2222

Darwin Ernst
Real Estate Agent, RRE-RBS-LIC-17046
Eickert Realty, LLC
0 votes
Henry Silver…, Agent, Hamilton, MT
Thu Apr 23, 2009
Hi Denise, "high" is relative. Compared to many areas our prices are "high". Compare us to Jackson Hole, WY, Sun Valley, ID, Bigsky, or other Rocky Mountain towns and we look "cheap". Did you know the average home price in Jackson Hole is over 1M?
2 votes
Bessie Evans, , Hamilton, MT
Thu Aug 13, 2009
Using average sold price as a parameter for a search to get the average sale price for homes in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana for the month of July 2009 the AVP is $207,020. I believe Montana is a wonderful place to live. Parents can feel at ease sending their children to school. I am grateful everyday on my way to work just to look at the mountains and blue sky.
Bessie Evans
Lambros Real Estate
1 vote
Private Buyer, Home Buyer, Hamilton, MT
Tue Mar 21, 2017
Simply put, by a buyer and not an agent whom only work for the seller and not the buyer, the real estate agents in Western Montana are also the sellers. They're all friends and if you do the research you will see that the real estate agents are also the landowners in many cases. They are all buying and selling and dancing and jigging and making bank off of one another as they play the local markets.

They give you a song and dance that you are "paying for the view". When the view they refer to is the mountains which is on fire and you can't see from smoke for most of the Summer/Fall and in the Winter/Spring the Mountains are not accessible because of being snowed in, property costs should be much lower because there is no view.

As others have pointed out, there are no jobs in Ravalli County. The buying and selling is coming from people and corporations from California. The closest average sized town is 60 miles away in Missoula and the job market there is even non-existent. Businesses only want to pay minimum wage while rent/mortgage is at a premium. We can't afford to eat while the real estate agents laugh all the way to their off-shore banks.

By the way, Ravalli agents keep trying to say that living here is safe. No, not even close. Firstly, as of Fall 2016 the city of Hamilton, MT crime rate is at 300%. The area Republicans walk around with guns and threaten to "take up arms" against all Democrats and any who disagree with their twisted anti-Constitutional logic. Disagree with me? Then look in to the "Obama Library" outhouse that the current Commissioners and Sheriff all had a part in condoning. It was a direct threat to kill not only President Obama but any and all Democrats in the Valley who voted for him. By the way, these same people are the school teachers who are a threat to our children. Ravalli County Montana is nowhere near a safe place to live.

Off the soap-box and on topic, this question was posted in 2009 but, in 2017 the answer is still the same. Greed and lack of empathy is why prices are still high and will stay high in the Bitterroot Valley.
0 votes
Pb, Home Buyer, Victor, MT
Sun May 29, 2011
The other replies are from brokers/agents and are hyping the market.

The reality is that prices peaked in 2006 (according to the county assessor) and are still trending down - the Bitterroot market us powered by money out of California and Idaho, and this has almost stopped. If a seller is motivated and you can perform then you can name your price. Last year I bought 5 acres with great views to the east and west for $27,500. Some will say that I bought well but I think that I paid market. I believe that the market value is $5000 an acre plus a value for the home on it .......

Western Montana is farm land - for people to pretend otherwise is a fantasy. Yes.many have built nice homes but most properties have junked cars etc on them and dilapidated structures and unless the valley is cleaned up and it becomes the same kind of resort that Jackson Wyoming has become then it will always be valued a farm land.

There is no sign of recovery from the dizzy heights that Bitterroot land reached in the last decade - and I reckon that it still has a way to go.
0 votes
Interesting that realtors compare the Bitterroot Valley with places like "Jackson Hole, WY, Sun Valley, ID, Bigsky"...the Bitterroot Valley, while a beautiful place, is not on the same par with any of those places. It's largely rural, with few real employment opportunities, few amenities- the nearest real medical center, shopping malls, high end restaurants, etc that one will expect in places on par with the towns mentioned, are 30-50 miles away and even then are not of the same quality for the most part. As a Bitterroot resident for 6 years who has lived and traveled the entire country, I can tell you the real estate people are profiting from promoting the "Montana Dream". The truth is many people come here, stay a few years then find themselves moving on to more profitable pastures as they slowly go broke. But the real estate salesmen are dependent on the image to keep prices (and profits) high. It's not that the economy here warrants it.
Flag Sat Apr 14, 2012
Ask, Home Seller, Stevensville, MD
Thu Jan 20, 2011
Relative to some areas, prices here have only gone down about 20 to 25% since 2006

But when I comare the total cost of building, etc., this area is economical and relatively safe in terms of political and geophyiscal risks.

Plus we are in an unusually mild microclimate zone within a generally mild climate zone of the Bitterrooot Valley.

A recent quote to complete a 5,500 sq ft house on our property (a second house) was around $250K

We are in the Stevensville-Victor area and have our 20-acres property for sale with very unusual terms, including lease-option.

Web Reference:  http://www.gnn-1.net
0 votes
Barbara Chri…, Agent, Hamilton, MT
Wed Nov 18, 2009
What is your price range? There are some terrific buys in the Bitterroot Valley, it depends on your criteria. We have foreclosures at absolutely great prices, and you can still offer what you feel is a fair price on those. The bank may accept your offer depending on the length of time the property has been on the market.. In this market, Sellers usually entertain all serious offers, weighing the negative and positive alike. They may need to sell quickly, a short sale may be possible. You've got lots of options if you're working with a good Realtor.
Barbara Christ, Broker Owner
Hamilton, Montana 59840
Web Reference:  http://www.barbarachrist.com
0 votes
Gary H. Brot…, , Hamilton, MT
Wed Jul 29, 2009
The pricing in the Bitterroot valley is adjusting. We have a lot of homes in the $350,000- $400,000 price range. The sales are under $200,000. Western Montana is one the most desireable places to live if you like a mild climate, mountains and recreation. We do not have the problems a lot of areas have. We have lots of water, wildlife and beautiful scenery. Hamilton is one of the nicest smaller towns you will find. No one locks their bikes or doors. I specialize in property with waterfront. That is a different situation. Supply and demand does really affect prices. There is not much for sale under $350,000.We have wonderful fishing in this area.
0 votes
Denise Tower, Agent, Maryland Heights, MO
Mon Apr 20, 2009
The basic laws of economics - supply and demand. Some areas are in the toilet, others never saw a decline (or any worth mentioning). It is all about location, location, location.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Market Conditions in Hamilton Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more