As we recover from the housing crisis, it's evident that Montana performed exceptionally well through the recession as compared to the rest of the country. National home prices finally broke-even with the pre-recession peak, but Montana already reached that milestone back in 2014. Montana's real estate prices are now about 10% above where they were before the housing bust.
Before the recession, Montana's real estate prices were just under par with national averages. But when the housing bust hit, Montana had better resilience to price deflation than rest of the country. The housing bust wasn't nearly as harsh in Montana as other states. Since 2008, housing prices in Montana have stayed well above national averages.
Bozeman, in particular, had the most pronounced price growth of the state. Median sales price of single-family homes in Bozeman are now exceeding $350,000, higher than Montana's most populous cities.
How's Montana's Job Market?
The number of jobs in Montana are also growing at a considerable rate, with our manufacturing industry outperforming the national rate since 2010. From 2010 to 2012, Montana's manufacturing employment grew at an annual rate of 4% to 5%, while the nation's rate climbed by only 2% to 3%.
Entrepreneurship in Montana
Much of the job growth can be attributed to a number of new establishments, rather than the growth of existing ones. Several of the largest contributors to Montana's rapid job growth through 2010 to 2015 were from fabricated metal products, beverage, and computer/electronic manufacturing.
Another achievement worth noting for Montana is the $4.6 billion Air Force contract won by S&K Technologies Inc., an enterprise headquartered on the Flathead Reservation in northwest Montana. While the enterprise has multiple offices in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, S&K returned more than $25 million in dividends to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). As shareholders of the company, the success of S&K makes a significant impact on more than 7,000 members of the Tribes.
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana projected in a 2016 report that the high-tech and manufacturing companies would grow seven-times faster than Montana's overall economy. These sectors are expected to pay average annual salaries of $57,000—more than double the median wage in Montana.
Montana's Economic Outlook
Overall, Montana's economic outlook is looking robust. Housing prices are climbing, high-tech companies are growing, and more high-paying jobs are becoming available. Montana's real estate market and the high-tech sector will be two things to keep track of in 2017.