There are a few certainties in life… death… taxes… the bottom of the real estate market has already happened (hopefully).

We’ve witnessed one of the largest corrections in the real estate market in history. In the past decade, Big Sky real estate values went through a massive cycle bringing some properties back to pre-1998 pricing (pre-boom).

Buyers and sellers are constantly asking if it’s the right time to buy or sell. There is no crystal ball, but if I were a betting man I’d say now is the right time to buy. 2007 was arguably the peak of the Big Sky market, with over 200 properties sold that fiscal year. In 2012, the market has seen 35 contracts placed on properties, thus far.
Right now “fence sitters” are dominating the market. When they act, the market will pass us all by quickly. If you want to test this theory, go look at Bend, Ore., where quality homes listed on the market see 10 to 20 offers a day.

Rarely in our lifetime will any of us see this perfect storm of fair market pricing paired with such strong listings. To me, this is the most defining thing about the market today. Here, we’ve compiled some the highest quality and most interesting listings available.

My grandfather and father are the second and third generation of my family to work in real estate development. Years ago, they gave me advice that has always stuck with me:
“There is only so much waterfront property or ski-in ski-out property in the world. When it’s gone, it’s gone.”

I think this comment can be broadened to “quality real estate.”

So, has the real estate market bottomed? Most likely yes. Is now the right time to buy? If you find your dream property, you bet. Is the quality of listings some of the best Big Sky has ever seen? No doubt.

Will we look back at 2012 as an amazing time to have bought real estate? Odd makers are saying, ‘place the bet’. -Eric Ladd

Chimney Rock Ranch

Set beneath the Absaroka Mountains, these 10,605 deeded acres and 1,465 leased acres sweep over five miles of private fishery, mountain peaks, rolling hills, plateaus and grassy meadows. This all-inclusive retreat is 15 miles from Big Timber and 90 minutes from Bozeman.

The ranch features an equestrian center with a spacious indoor arena, stables and related facilities. There are approximately 30 miles of trails and access to endless miles of bordering Forest Service and wilderness land. The absolute tranquility, majestic landscapes and recreational pleasures will refresh your mind and spirits.

Onsite Lower Deer Creek delivers a first-class private fishing experience for brown, rainbow, cutthroat and cutbow trout. Small stream + dry flies + big wild trout + solitude = perfect! Nearby Boulder and Yellowstone rivers as well as the fishing waters in Yellowstone National Park to the south make this a fishing paradise.

Wildlife is abundant due to the outstanding habitat and the minimal pressure in recent years, and the ranch is a peaceful sanctuary for all kinds of fauna including elk, deer, upland bird, various raptor and songbirds.

$22,500,000
Ryan Flair | Fay Ranches
(800) 238-8616 | fayranches.com

14 Swift Bear, Cascade Highlands

From the owner:
This home was not designed merely as a vacation home but as our permanent residence. We incorporated the latest construction techniques to provide low maintenance and to accommodate a comfortable mountain lifestyle, and we looked to the future with the primarily one-level living design that could adapt to our family’s needs.

We wanted a house that would take advantage of beautiful mountain views and natural surroundings. This is a home situated in the mountains with a modern Frank Lloyd Wright flair. In this tradition, the house is nestled into the site naturally, and the indoors and outdoors meld together with ease where our outdoor patio transitions into a tranquil rock pond and stream.

Not only do we enjoy stunning views 365 days a year, but throughout warmer months moose, bear, fox, deer and elk become welcome neighbors. We are at the base of Big Sky, and the access is so easy that we never hesitate to go skiing, even if we only have only a couple hours. Ski trails also provide more interesting walking than roads. This is a very special place here in Big Sky that we call home.

$1,477,000
Shawna Winter | Winter and Company Real Estate
(406) 581-2033 | mtwinter.com

Powder Ridge 18

The slope side location and access to the White Otter Lift of Powder Ridge 18 is so convenient that you can literally go from slippers to the slopes in seconds. Après ski, sledding opportunities for family and friends are right off of the front porch.

Beautifully furnished and thoughtfully upgraded, this unit is well priced, well located and well kept.

Eric Ossorio | Prudential Montana Real Estate
(406) 539-9553 | prumt.com

Duck Pond

Duck’s Pond Estate is the perfect Montana retreat. Not too big, not too small—just right. This 3,100-square-foot, handcrafted, square timber beam home is fully furnished with mountain décor and located on 20 acres. The southeast deck off the living room looks directly over the private pond and into Yellowstone National Park.
The home has four bedrooms, of which three are master suites with their own private bathrooms and a fourth bedroom, which has a custom built double bunkroom.

Viking appliances and custom barn wood and handmade custom kitchen cabinets are top of the line and the wet bar, TV/game room and office, plus two fireplaces give this timber home all the amenities one could want in a Big Sky home. The gourmet kitchen is perfect for gatherings of family and friends.

There is an abundance of wildlife as the property is part of an important migration corridor from Yellowstone Park and Gallatin National Forest. The building envelope includes an area where a garage and a guesthouse can be built. Private and gated, yet minutes to world class blue ribbon fly fishing and the Big Sky Town Center for dining, shopping and concerts.

$1,725,000
Martha Johnson | Rivers To Peaks ~ Big Sky Real Estate
(406) 580-5891 | riverstopeaks.com

5 Hackamore | Diamond Hitch

With dramatic views and exceptional ski access, this residence is the lowest priced home in Moonlight Basin and is quite possibly Big Sky’s best buy. Situated near the base of the Challenger Lift and with direct access to the “Bozeman Trail” ski run, this custom home provides top-notch trail access from both Big Sky and Moonlight Basin, making the trek to early morning ski lessons an effortless one.

Nestled amidst pines for added privacy, the home boasts five bedrooms, two living areas and an open floor plan ideal for gathering with family and friends, while the setting is nothing short of spectacular. This southern-facing, mountain retreat sits on nearly 1.5 gently rolling acres and is located on a quiet cul-de-sac overlooking the surrounding peaks and nearby ski ways.

Perhaps most impressive is the opportunity to add value to this home which is surrounded by multi-million dollar residences. It’s most certainly the “baby on the block” with limitless possibilities and priced to sell this ski season.

$1,295,000
Ania Bulis | Christie’s International Real Estate | Pure West
(406) 580-6852 | purewestproperties.com

Luxury Suite 6B

More than 4,100 square feet of pure ski-in/ski-out luxury living at Moonlight Basin. By the numbers: two master suites, two junior suites, two living areas, three fireplaces, 11 foot ceilings on two levels, accessed via a 753-foot skier bridge, one of only three similar properties. Includes a pool table, hot tub on covered deck, fabulous furnishings and fixtures, fully integrated sound and security systems, ski room and heated garage, TVs in every bedroom, hardwood floors, granite in kitchen and all bathrooms. Did we mention the views? Take a tour at bigskysir.com/video/luxurysuite6b.html.

$1,769,000
Jeff Helms, Ryan Kulesza and Tallie Jamison | Sotheby’s
(406) 995-2244 | bigskysir.com

The Powerhouse | historic building turned single family home

This historic structure in Ennis used to be the old hydroelectric plant for the Madison Valley and has since been converted in a gorgeous single family home with pond, creek and amazing views.

$2,995,000
Tallie Jamison and Cathy Gorman | Sotheby’s
(406) 995-2244 | bigskysir.com