2016 Year in Review
Flathead Lake Real Estate Sales
The 2016 year has drawn to a close, and we are already rushing into the new year. The La Nina weather year has brought above average snow to the ski areas and valleys alike for quite the winter-wonderland.
Complete sales data for 2016 have been reported, and we have summarized the Flathead Lake real estate waterfront sales below.
Total dollar volume for waterfront sales (excluding condos) was reported at $39.2M in 53 transactions. While transactions were only 2 less than the previous year, the total sales volume was down by $9.2M (19%). The primary factor for this decrease was a handful of luxury sales in 2015 that we did not see last year.
There were four transactions in 2015 above the $2.5M mark totalling $12.3M in total sales volume. There were no sales in this price range for 2016, and only two transactions over $2M for the year. This disparity accounts for the record sales number for 2015 and the contrasting 2016 tally.
An interesting trend to acknowledge in the graph above is the intersection of transaction count and $MM in sales volume in 2009. The average transaction size prior to the bottom of the cycle was over $1 million, while the past seven years of recovery have shown average transactions on the lake of less than the $1 million mark.
Prices based on a per-waterfront-foot have stabilized just over $4,000/ft for the entire lake after adjusting for improvements. These prices are still less than half of the seasonally adjusted average of $8,600/ft seen at the peak of the market in 2007.
Annual Sales Data:
Sales By Area
The distribution of waterfront sales around Flathead Lake shifted somewhat in 2016 when compared to the previous year. The upper west shore region of Lakeside-Somers-Rollins reported a significant decrease of 51% in total volume compared to 2015.
Bigfork and the lower west shore both posted significant gains. The combined volume in these areas totaled 66%. The Polson area decreased by 24%.
Sales by Area
Distribution of Waterfront Sales – 2016
Active Waterfront Listings
Residential waterfront listings for this month are down from the number of listings for this time last year at 80 listings, down from 101. The number of land listings is up to 41 from 30.
Total listings on the lake historically peak in August and bottom out between January and March. Not many land sales have been posted (only 6 out of 53 sales for the year), so land listings are holding steady while residential listings are down more significantly.
Median list prices for residential listings ticked up to $1.1M. With a higher percentage of properties under the $1M mark selling, the ratio of active listings above this price mark has shifted.
Median land prices ticked up to just under $600k for the month.
Flathead Lake Condominium Market
With over a dozen waterfront condominium communities around Flathead Lake, there are plenty of options for buyers who want the waterfront lifestyle without having to worry about maintaining a lake home. Below is a list of all of the current condo listings for the various communities around the lake, along with a report of total sold units and average prices for 2016.
With the number of affordable single-family properties on the lake under $1M dropping, condos were a viable option for buyers last year. More waterfront condos were sold last year than in each the past 3 years by an average of 25%.