The Covid-19 pandemic has forced millions of Americans to work remotely from home, in turn causing many to reevaluate their living arrangements. In particular, this means leaving cities in favor of more space. FlatRate Moving company in New York City told The New York Times that the number of moves of people moving out of the city between March and August was up 50 percent year over year.
While there’s no conclusive evidence that people are permanently moving out of cities, it’s no secret that secondary markets across the country, namely mountain towns, are seeing an influx of rentals and sales. Both rentals and purchases, including vacation homes, were up in 2020 in Aspen, Colorado; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Park City, Utah; Big Sky, Montana; and Lake Tahoe, California. Similar to the mad dash for the Hamptons in the wake of Covid-19, these towns are seeing an influx of people coming in and scooping up the most sought-after real estate.
“Homes in the mountains serve as sanctuaries of privacy and security for newcomers and second homeowners,” says Philip White, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty. “The clean air and space are also a big draw.”
With the vaccine on the horizon, it’s unclear if people will permanently relocate out of cities to mountain towns, but right now, real estate is competitive.
Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky has always been a great ski destination, but the town hasn’t seen a real-estate boom like 2020 has brought in quite some time and lack of inventory is becoming an issue. This also includes other cities in Southwest Montana, including Bozeman, Livingston, Belgrade and Manhattan.
“Pending sales on land in Montana are up 40% in Big Sky and 50% in Bozeman,” White says. “Lots that have been on the market for some time are now under contract. Private clubs in Big Sky are nearly all sold out and our companies in the region are seeing sales for land, condos and homes selling quickly in all price ranges.”
In recent years, luxury hotels have set their sights on Big Sky, including Big Sky’s first-ever ultra-luxury resort, Montage Big Sky from Montage Hotels & Resorts, which operates luxury hotels in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico. Though it’s currently in development, the introduction of ultra-luxury offerings has certainly attracted a wealthy clientele to view Big Sky as the next luxury destination.
“Montana is also seeing this same trend with folks buying both second homes and permanent relocation,” White says. “Those buying second homes are also planning on spending a lot more time here than their other homes and school enrollment has also increased.”
The rustic allure of Montana can be experienced at 47 Saddle Horn, a grand residence in Big Sky’s Moonlight Basin’s Diamond Hitch community. The home sits on 1.07 acres and its interiors span 8,686 square feet. There are seven bedrooms, eight full baths and features three spacious living rooms, dining room, chef’s kitchen, home theater, a gym and hot tub. It’s sold fully furnished and owners will delight in the stunning views of the Spanish Peaks. It goes without saying that this ultra-private estate, ensconced by pine trees, is the perfect private escape. It is listed by Sandy Revisky, an agent from PureWest Real Estate – Big Sky, an Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, for $9.25 million.
“Ski-in/ski-out properties became highly sought after because of Covid-19,” says Brenna Kelleher, an agent with PureWest Real Estate – Big Sky, an Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. “People could work and ski from home and then go to lunch at home or just ski a couple hours then call it a day without having to come into contact with anyone.”
Kelleher also says Montana’s biggest problem is lack of inventory, specifically on the upper end of the market. She said demand was so strong in the summer that several homes were sold without the client ever even stepping foot in the home.