By Eric Ossorio, Prudential/Ossorio Real Estate

For the past few years we’ve all been hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. Just when the news cycles seemed the bleakest, a ray of hope would peek through the mist… when things started moving into positive territory, another shoe would drop and correct the mood.
And then there’s Big Sky in the summer.
What’s not to like? A new movie theatre is now showing first run films in a first rate facility. New restaurants have added to the selection of fine dining venues. There are zip lines, mountain biking trails and outdoor concerts. The days are sunny and the evenings are cool. And real estate prices are at pre-2004 levels—that seems like a bargain, and it is. Even the afternoon thundershowers only help add drama to the already beautiful panoramas.
While not completely insulated from the events affecting the rest of the country, this resort community has developed a strong attraction for many people, and it’s continued to improve and grow—not always in a linear progression, but grow nonetheless. Following the triple blows of the Yellowstone Club reorganization, the Moonlight Basin reorganization, and then the liquidation of the Club at Spanish Peaks, the area is now somewhat chastened by the recession, but in a solid position for continued growth.
A much-improved Highway 191 makes driving Gallatin Canyon from Bozeman to Big Sky smoother than ever. The Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport’s expansion was perfectly timed, and the facility can now receive more than 400,000 visitors annually and has added more direct flights than ever before. The Big Sky ski resort posted its largest ever skier day-count numbers last winter. Moonlight Basin had its most profitable ski season ever, according to MLB reps. Yellowstone National Park down the road anticipates record-breaking visitations in 2012.
The sporadic recent reports of the national decline in housing inventory are mirrored in our local supply of housing stock. Here’s what that means for the Big Sky market:
There are currently 101 “improved” properties listed in the Meadow area for sale—those are homes, condos and town-homes. In the Mountain Village there are 152, with a high-end listing for $5,850,000 and a low end of $59,500 in the Hill Condos.
So, what’s sold? Well, 81 Mountain Village properties sold in the last 12 months—67 properties for under $1 million and 14 for more than $1 million. The top end property sold for over $5 million. In the Meadow, 100 properties sold during the past year. Four of those sold over the $1 million mark, seven were sold for between $500,000 and $1 million and 89 sold for under $500,000. Twenty-nine sold for between $250,000 – $500,000 and 61 units sold for under $250,000. Thirty-nine of those sold for under $150,000.
Of the 181 properties that sold in the past year, the average DOM (days on market) was 230, with a several sales on the market for 0 days… (priced attractively, no doubt), and 14 properties listed for over 600 days, seven of which were listed for over 1,000.
Evaluating both areas, there are 253 currently listed properties, and there were 181 sales in the last 12 months. This shows that over 70 percent of the supply of housing was absorbed over 12 months. Seventy percent absorption means that there are still some listings out there, which have failed to attract a buyer, for some reason or another; however, with a 3.6 month supply of housing, the market is tightening up.
We’re seeing price increases in some sub markets. In Cascade, for example, the high price two years ago was $1.25 million for a single family home. This past spring there were three sales—at $1.39 million, $1.5 million and $1.65 million.
All and all, those are nice Big Sky market returns.

Eric Ossorio is a managing broker of the Prudential Montana/Ossorio Real Estate Group in Big Sky, where he works with this wife and partner Stacy. He’s lived in Big Sky for 20 years, and been a broker for 35. Having almost seen it all, he sees no reason to live anywhere else. Contact him at (406) 539-9553 or ossoriorealestategroup.com.