Strong Lake Sales Follow Record-Setting Previous Year
Following record numbers posted in 2018, Flathead Lake real estate sales continued showing strength throughout last year as predicted.
The final tally for 2019 included 62 posted sales and just over $63M in total volume compared to 2018 numbers of 75 posted sales and $76M in volume. While the total numbers are down, an analysis of pricing segmentation (see article below) shows that 2019 posted significant gains in the $1-3M range with no sales over $3M. The record year of 2018 posted four sales over the $3M mark totaling $24M in volume, including a single transaction over $10M.
Waterfront prices also increased in both overall median and mean prices as well as improvement-adjusted prices per front foot. Median waterfront prices increased from $650k to $765k year over year, and waterfront prices increased from $4,000/front foot to just over $4,700 per foot.
We expect strong sales to continue into 2020 provided the national economy stays its course. Diminishing inventories will continue to drive prices upward. Fewer transactions are expected, but the higher prices should result in similar total sales volume for the coming year.
Annual Sales Data:
Pricing and Sales Summary:
Sales By Region
The distribution of sales around the lake did not change significantly for the northern end of the lake in the communities that include Bigfork, Lakeside, Somers and Rollins. Polson posted some notable gains in sales volume while the lower west shore region decreased disproportionately compared to 2018.
Distribution of 2019 Waterfront Sales
Sales By Price Segment
The distribution of sales by price revealed a significant shift in 2019 compared to the previous year. While the mean and median sales prices increased across all segments, there was a wholesale trend inversion demonstrated in the table and graph below. The most significant changes were measured in the $1-3M price range with an overall increase of 168% in sales volume in these segments.
Sales at the lower and higher ends of the range also changed significantly in 2019 with sales under $1M decreasing by 38% and there were no sales over $3M compared to $24M in sales the previous year.
Active Waterfront Listings
Residential waterfront listings for this month are down compared to the inventory at this time last year (75 vs 87). The number of land listings has increased from 24 to 32. Total listings on the lake historically peak in August and bottom out between January and March.
The continued strength in residential sales has finally begun to result in a decrease in inventory. For the past 18 months, reserve inventory following 10 years of slow sales kept active listings high and downward pressure on prices. It appears that this trend may be finally reversing as residential inventory is down 12% heading into December and prices are creeping upward.
Median list prices for residential listings dropped during the spring and early summer months as lower priced listings came on the market. After bottoming out around $1.1M, they have climbed back to just under $1.4M.
Median waterfront land prices have not varied widely, and show an overall flat trend in the $650k to $750k range.
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 the year.
The waterfront condo market posted 37 sales on the lake for 2019. With only 25 active condo listings, we have approximately eight months of inventory currently on the market. This is a significant decrease from earlier in the year when we were carrying as much as 24 months of inventory.
Condo sales started off slow this year as the list prices and inventory of single family homes on the lake were competitive with the condo offerings. Once single family prices began to rise with a decrease in inventory, the demand for condominiums began to increase. We expect to see this trend continue into the coming year.