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Data suggests outsiders seek shelter in Montana

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Small boom in short-term housing market

“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 3/27/20

According to AirDNA, a leading short-term rental data analytics company, conventional thinking is being defied—rather than a dramatic downturn in Montana’s short-term vacation rental market as a result of COVID-19, business is actually on the up. Why? People are fleeing Americas cities in droves, escaping situations like the one currently in in New York City where hundreds are dying daily and thousands more are unable to readily access healthcare. “Across the state, revenue estimates from short-term rentals increased year over year between 2019 and 2020 from $5.3 million to $9.4 million for the period March 1 through March 16,” reports Montana Public Radio. “Nationwide, rural areas reported significant year-over-year gains, with urban areas seeing declines of as much as 27 percent in the same period.” Matt Kelley, health officer for the Gallatin City-County Health Department, told MTPR the agency is concerned about folks moving around too much. “Our goal is to encourage people to stay home,” Kelley said. “If that home is here, that’s one thing, but now is not the time for tourism. Hunker down. Stay home.” In Big Sky, short-term rental revenue estimates rose from $278,000 to $413,000 year over year in the first half of March, according to the data. The article also reports second-home owners are flocking to their mountain retreats, and that the March 24 closure of Yellowstone National Park was due in part to park and Gallatin County officials attempting to stem the tide of tourists seeking wide-open spaces as a reprieve to more densely populated hometowns.

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