Bozeman Real Estate Market Report

by Tim Ford

The Coronavirus slowed the Bozeman housing market down for a few weeks, but it has come roaring back. The market is extremely busy again, and we’re back to seeing many properties receiving multiple offers. In these situations, buyers who aren’t able to pay cash often struggle to compete. As such, it can be interesting to compare the percentage of cash sales over the years.

Looking at cash only transactions for sales of single family homes in all of Bozeman between January 1st and June 1st: In 2018, 102 out of 386 sales, or 26.4%, were cash purchases. This was the largest percentage I’ve seen since I’ve started tracking this number. Last year, the percentage dipped just a bit to 25.7%, or 88 out of the 343 sales. This year, its even lower at 62 of 311 sales, or just shy of 20%.

Even though it edges slightly up and down over the years, the percentage of sales is generally fairly consistent. In 2015, 85 of the 371 sales during the first 5 months were cash, or 22.9%. In 2014, it was 70 of the 318 sales, or 22%, and in 2013, 61 of the 276 sales, or 22.1% were cash purchases.

The downtown area, which is attracting a lot of out-of-state buyers, has one of the higher percentages of cash-only transactions. Two years ago, 22 out of 71 single family homes purchased were bought with cash, or 31%. Last year, 18 of the 56 homes sold were purchased with cash, roughly 32%. That number is up to 39% this year, or 20 of 51 homes sold.

Looking at downtown condos in 2018, 16 out of 33 sales, or 48%, were cash purchases. Last year, 12 out of 33, or 36%, were cash purchases. This year, 37.5%, or 9 of the 24 condos sold were purchased with cash.

Buyers who don’t have cash that end up in multiple offer situations can still try to be competitive. At the end of the day, most people still prefer more money in their pocket, so there’s a good chance that a higher offer with financing could beat out a lower offer with cash, but not always. Buyers can also do their best to make their offer as attractive as possible by closely analyzing their contingencies and all the terms of their offer. We’re starting to see more buyers submit offers without inspection contingencies as an attempt to be competitive. I’ve seen more than one seller choose a lower offer without an inspection contingency over a higher offer with one.

As usual, I have included data for the number of single family homes sold during the first five months of 2020. In addition to the 311 single family homes sold during this time period, another 207 homes are currently pending, or under contract, as of the date of writing this article. That compares to 187 homes pending at this same time last year.

The included data reflects sales of homes in the greater Bozeman area, including Four Corners, Gallatin Gateway, Bridger Canyon, and Bozeman city limits. The data includes home sales reported through the local Big Sky Country MLS, and does not include private party sales, condominiums, or townhouses. 

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