Flathead Valley Real Estate Sales Report
2015 Sales Show Continued Growth in Residential Markets
The final sales data has been reported to the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors (NMAR) MLS for 2015, and strong indicators continue in the residential sector. Total sales volume in the residential market grew by nearly 18% over the previous year. The growth was primarily due to the increase in total units sold (14% increase to 2,212 transactions). Median and average prices also increased modestly by just over 3% each.
The trends for other segments of the market did not fare as well. Land sales were down in total sales volume, but up in units sold (see “Lots and Land Markets” below). The median price of vacant land held steady on an annual comparison at $80,000.
The commercial and multi-family sectors of the market held relatively flat with just under $50M in total sales.
The outlook for the coming year remains positive for all local segments as the national indicators have just begun to ease, and the Flathead Valley market typically lags the national markets by at least two years.
Total Residential Sales from NMAR MLS
Sales by Segment
As you can see in the graph below, the growth trends of 2013-2014 were relatively flat beginning in the last quarter of 2013. The increase in sales since the second half of 2014 and through 2015 are primarily a result of the increase in residential sales.
The Flathead Valley real estate luxury market showed a bit of a recovery after posting a pull back from the positive trend line in 2014. For this report, luxury sales represent those residential transactions reported in NMAR MLS with a sale price at or above one million dollars ($1M US).
Total sales volume in this segment was up nearly 13% compared to the previous year, but nearly equal to 2013 sales. The number of units sold increased annually by more than 20%
Lots and Land Markets
While the trend line shows a drop in total sales volume for land in the Flathead Valley market, the total number of transactions last year actually increased slightly (818 to 842) over 2014.
With the median price unchanged at $80,000, it reveals a reduction in average prices. In fact, the average price dropped nearly 14% from 2014 to 2015 ($161k to $139k). In comparison to market peak numbers in 2006 with 1,435 transactions, median price of $119k, and average sales price of $213k.
The overall outlook for land sales in the coming year is positive. While there is still an abundance of inventory, I expect sales to continue to improve now that prices have firmed up. In addition, existing home inventory has remained relatively tight, increasing demand for vacant lots by end users and builders.