Buying a house in Bozeman? Hope you win the Powerball


Like many other Bozemanites, I dream of one day buying a house here in Bozeman and settling there. Here is the problem, like many other Bozemanites, I cannot afford to buy a house.

It’s the truth, and even though I make a lot of money and am above the “median income” for the area, all of the homes are out of my price range. So, one wonders how the heck can you afford a house if you are in the median income range?

I can’t be the only one thinking, “what are these people doing for a living to be able to afford these real estate prices?” Add the fact that I see a lot of new cars in the driveways of these houses and I come to the conclusion that I have clearly failed in life.

The truth is, it’s frustrating, and for those in the market to buy who aren’t making billions of dollars a year, it can be depressing. At this rate, most of us could never own a home here.

A few weeks ago I was at the Parade of Homes and had the chance to speak with one of the people who are part of the event, they also work in the real estate industry. She told me things were slowing down in town. The good news? There is not the crazy demand and the escalation that has been going on for a few years. The bad news? It doesn’t look like the lack of crazy demand is going to drive prices down anytime soon. Well, isn’t that fantastic.

Let’s take a look at the current inventory, okay. For those of you like me who are on a budget, or just unwilling to spend a ton of money and go into deep debt, let’s see what is available.

For the purposes of this little experiment, we will be looking for free-standing houses. No apartments, condos, duplexes or townhouses. BUSINESS ALERT! Here is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with 1572 square feet in Bozeman. There is nothing fancy, but it has a decent kitchen, a lovely backyard with mountain views, and a two-car garage. They want 575,000 and your estimated monthly payment is just over $ 2,800 per month.

So let’s do some math here, 2,800 per month multiplied by 12 months equals $ 33,000,600 per year. Calculate that on a 30 year mortgage and it comes down to … a little over a million dollars. Now that’s a big change, isn’t it?

So $ 33,000 per year in house payments and the median income of Bozeman families, not an individual, but a family is 55,000.

Doing a simple subtraction leaves you with $ 22,000 per year. $ 22,000 for groceries, car payments, plus car insurance. Oh, speaking of insurance, there are health, life, and home insurance you have to pay for. Clothes for you, your partner and the children. Then there is savings and retirement …

You get the picture and it’s not pretty. Is it wrong to hope for some kind of crash? Or at least a big drop? Without it, I don’t know how most of us will survive.

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