TurboTenant Report: The Best Places to Buy Rental Investment Property in Montana

best places for rental investment in montana

In this edition of The TurboTenant report, we will be focusing on the best places to buy an investment property in Montana. Four towns made our list: Great Falls, Helena, Whitefish, and Billings. We curated data from studies on the best places to buy an investment property, median list price, and proprietary TurboTenant data. The TurboTenant Data includes stats on the average number of leads a rental property received, as well as the average number of days on the market. These two points will help an investor determine the strength of the rental market, as well as estimating potential vacancy rates. 

Montana is the fourth largest state by area and the 8th least populous. It’s marked by over 77 mountain ranges, including the Rocky Mountains. The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming as well as tourism, it’s largest growing sector. Over 13 million tourists visit Montana every year. The biggest draws are Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, The Beartooth Highway, and Big Sky Ski Resort. 

All four of our cities have seen strong year over year home value growth, with a median listing price still hovering in a very affordable range and strong average rent prices to support the purchase. The number of leads per property is over 40 for all locations, and every town boasts less than two weeks on the market on average. 

Montana isn’t the last best place to invest in, but it’s certainly high on our list. Let’s take a look at the best places to invest in Big Sky Country. 

#4: Billings, MT 

Billings is the largest city in Montana with just over 100k residents and is nicknamed the “Magic City” because of the rapid growth it experienced as a railroad town in the latter half of the 19th century. Billings is close to some of the biggest tourist draws in the state, the Beartooth Highway in Red Lodge as well as Yellowstone National Park’s northeast entrance. Home values have seen a 6.5% increase year over year. The median listing price is coming in just under $250k, with strong average rent prices at $1100. Landlords are getting nearly 50 leads per property with less than 12 days on the market. It’s not magic people, its math, and Billings is penciling when it comes to rental property investing. 

  • Population growth: 0%
  • Employment growth: 0%
  • Increase in home values: 6.5%

Median Listing Price: $244k

Average Rent: $1,100

Average Number of Leads per Property: 47

Number of days on the rental market: 12

#3: Great Falls, MT 

Great Falls is the third-largest city in the state. It gets its name from a series of five waterfalls near the upper portion of the Missouri River Basin. Great Falls is known as the “Electric City” because each fall supports a hydroelectric dam. Great Falls has over 50 parks and 40 miles of trails along the Missouri River, making it a dream location for the outdoor enthusiasts. Employment growth and home values have increased, 1% and 3.6% respectively. The median listing price is coming in just under $200k with very strong average rents of $1100 per month. Landlords are getting nearly 50 leads per property with just 10 days on the market. Light up your investment portfolio with this great rental investment pick. 

  • Population growth: 0%
  • Employment growth: 1%
  • Increase in home values: 3.6%

Median Sale Price: $197k

Average Rent: $1100

Average Number of Leads per Property: 45

Number of days on the rental market: 10

#2: Helena, MT 

Helena is Montana’s state capital located in the western part of Montana. Helena was originally founded as a gold camp during the gold rush of the mid-19th century. It’s estimated that nearly $3.6 billion worth of gold was extracted from the area. The wealth the gold rush brought made Helena one of the wealthiest cities of the time and contributed to the elaborate Victorian architecture. Helena also boasts positive growth in all sectors, population, employment as well as home values – 3.6%, 1%, and 8.5% respectively. The median listing price is in the mid $200k range with average rent coming in at $1300. Landlords are seeing a rush of leads at 39 on average per property, with just 9 days on the market. Helena is rental investment gold in our book. 

  • Population growth: 3.6%
  • Employment growth: 1%
  • Increase in home values: 8.5%

Median Sale Price: $261k

Average Rent: $1300

Average Number of Leads per Property: 39

Number of days on the rental market: 9

#1: Whitefish, MT 

Whitefish is a resort town located in the northwest region of the Rocky Mountains and nestled at the edge of Glacier Park. It is home to Whitefish Mountain resort, located on Big Mountain as well as millions of acres of forest, mountains, and lakes. Fun fact: Whitefish has been home to the World Indoor Golf Championship for the last 16 years. It’s also home to more new residents than any other city on our list with 8.5% population growth year over year. Employment growth is up 1.9% and home values have increased by 5.6%. It has the highest median listing price of the group, at $369k, but the average rent is strong at $1800. It has the highest number of leads at 56 with just two weeks on the market. Whitefish scores a hole in one when it comes to rental property investing. 

  • Population growth: 8.5%
  • Employment growth: 1.9%
  • Increase in home values: 5.6%

Median Sale Price: $369k

Average Rent: $1800

Average Number of Leads per Property: 56

Number of days on the rental market: 14

Once you’ve landed the perfect investment property in a good location, TurboTenant can help take your landlording into the digital world by streamlining the rental process with easy and free online rental applications as well as thorough tenant screening so you can find the best renter for your property.

About the TurboTenant Report

The TurboTenant Report analyzes data from active listings across all 50 states, as well as third party real estate, population and employment growth data. Our goal with the TurboReport is to empower seasoned and novice investors to make wise purchasing decisions when purchasing a rental investment property. For more information or custom data requests, please contact press@turbotenant.com.

Methodology:

In order to determine the best cities to invest in each state, we curated data from a number of reputable sources as well as using TurboTenant proprietary data. Our main city selections were taken from a study that evaluated four main factors for each city: employment growth, population growth, increase in home values and rental yield. We combined that with TurboTenant data on the average rent price, the number of rental leads per property, as well as the average number of days the rental stays on the market.

We also included an honorable mention where applicable. They are pulled from this study on the best places to invest in every state. These were determined using Zillow’s Buyer-Seller Index and Zillow Home Value Forecast, and AreaVibes’ Livability Score. Other methods for determining honorable mentions include using TurboTenant proprietary data to determine which cities return the best rental investment R.O.I. using data points including days on market, the number of leads per property, and average rent price.

DISCLAIMER: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.

Sources: 

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Sarnen Steinbarth

CEO & Founder TurboTenant, Inc

Sarnen has been investing in rental property since the age of 19. He saw firsthand the need for an easy-to-use and affordable technology backed solution geared towards independent landlords. In October of 2015, he launched TurboTenant. Today TurboTenant serves 200,000+ landlords and is still dedicated to making the rental process easy, smooth, and hassle-free. Sarnen is a regular contributor on Forbes and Bigger Pockets and has firmly positioned himself as thought leader in the real estate and proptech space.

Guidelines for using these data.

You are welcome to use any of the data in this report for your own purposes, we just kindly ask that you properly cite the source. 

An example citing: According to a report by TurboTenant, an online property management software company….

If you have data requirements that are outside the scope of this article, please email press@turbotenant.com. We have a plethora of data and are happy to supply another data set if it is available.

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