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Top brokers break down area real estate



Big Sky Weekly Editors

BIG SKY – The Weekly tracked down seven top real estate gurus this February and picked their brains about what’s happened in the market this past year, and where homeowners and potential homebuyers can expect it to go in 2013.

Even though brokers recognized some buyer apprehension toward the end of 2012 due to potential looming fiscal changes in Washington, two trends are clear: Numbers are up, and consumer confidence is on the mend.

“Twice as many properties sold between Dec. 21 and Jan. 21, as compared to the same time period last year,” said Ania Bulis, a broker with Christie’s International Real Estate/PureWest.

Prudential Montana Broker Eric Ossorio took it a step further.

“We see the pace and volume of inquiries quickening,” he said. “Seasonally, from November 2012 to Jan. 21, 2013, 62 properties closed in Big Sky, representing $27 million in sales. In 12 months, that would suggest an annualized rate of 248 sales, totaling $108 million.

Both 2011 and 2012 ended with the same total numbers in Big Sky – 220 closed sales, according to the Southwest Montana Multiple Listing Service’s reported sales. However, many private listings in Montana are not reported on MLS, to protect buyers’ privacy.

“Winter [sales] have picked up dramatically since summer 2012,” said Scott Johnson, co-owner Montana Living/Big Sky Real Estate. He sees the market turning around, as well, but noticed it’s not only existing homes that are moving.

“Land sales are starting to occur more frequently as prices are at rock bottom, inventory is plentiful and carrying costs are attractive,” Johnson said. “Rolling land into a construction mortgage is also very attractive due to aggressive interest rates.”

Jeff Helms, of Big Sky Sotheby’s, says it’s clear the real estate market here is recovering.

“I’m a data-driven person and am excited about the fact that we are finally seeing a trend line of data demonstrating a bottom of our local market. I predict that prices will begin to moderately adjust upwards indicating a steady recovery in 2013.”

Here are eight top listings from the brokers’ own files:

Moonlight Basin – Cabin 18, Cowboy Heaven

Photo Courtesy of Peak Photography

I love all the Cowboy Heaven Cabins, but Cabin 18 truly has it all. Great views of Lone Peak, a loft to accommodate an additional sleeping space and a deck that sits on the slopes of Powder River. It’s small, but charming with a location that’s hard to beat.

–Ania Bulis, Christie’s International Real Estate/PureWest

(800) 325-8369

Moonlight Basin – Ulery’s Lake Road

Photo by Matty McCain

Our favorite listing right now is Ulery’s Lake Road in Moonlight Basin. This property offers three spacious bedrooms, a six-person bunkroom, 4 1/2 bathrooms and a three-car garage on 20 acres, with a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guesthouse. Enjoy views of Lone Mountain and the Spanish Peaks, outdoor terraces, fire-pit, barbecue and hot tub.

–Eric Ossorio, Prudential Montana Real Estate

(406) 539-9553

The Club at Spanish Peaks – Ranch 28

Photo by Jon Marshall

Ranch 28 is a gorgeous four-bedroom, six-bath home on 2.18 acres. It’s private but close to community activities and located on a gentle hillside surrounded by trees. The finishes and views are beautiful, and even though it has 6,100 square feet, the floor plan feels intimate.

–Shawna Winter, Winter and Company Real Estate

(406) 995-2093

Big EZ/The Club at Spanish Peaks – Duck’s Pond Estate

Photo by Ryan Hawkins

Duck’s Pond Estate is the perfect Montana retreat! At 3,100 square feet, this fully- furnished, handcrafted timber-beam home is located on 20 acres with a private pond. Rustic and reclaimed materials used in construction are the perfect canvas for a cozy, yet elegant four-bedroom Montana cabin. 180 degrees encompass Yellowstone National Park.

–Scott Johnson, Montana Living/Big Sky Real Estate

(406) 995-6333

Moonlight Basin – Luxury Suite 2B, Cowboy Heaven

Photo by Chris Davis

This is a beautifully furnished luxury suite in Building Two. Exceptional views and easy ski access to Iron Horse and Six Shooter Ski Lifts. This luxury suite has five bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 4,150 square-feet; a condo that feels like it’s on top of the world. The whole family can easily ski into this spectacular Moonlight property.

–Jeff Helms, Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty

(866) 995-2211

Moonlight Basin – Luxury Suite 1B, Cowboy Heaven

Photo by Chris Davis

Luxury Suite 1B currently available in Cowboy Heaven at Moonlight Basin is fully furnished for $879,000. Setting this property apart is unique ski access to both Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin; a great rental history to offset ownership costs and single-level living. It’s currently the least expensive unit in Cowboy Heaven on a per-square-foot level.

–Ryan Kulesza, L & K (Ladd, Kulesza & Company)

(406) 539-4666

Between Meadow Village and Mountain Village – 35 North Fork

Photo by Brian Niles

The locals’ favorite is 35 North Fork. With no homeowners’ association or covenants, and backdoor Nordic skiing, hiking and horseback riding access via Lone Mountain Ranch’s trail system, it’s an archetypal Big Sky home. Its 10 acres are located on a south-facing slope with old-growth fir trees (read: year-round sunshine and privacy) close to resorts and meadow amenities.

–Tallie Jamison, Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty

(406) 600-8081

Yellowstone Club – River Run (Lot 311)

Photo courtesy of Ladd, Kulesza & Company

River Run tops our list as a prime Montana listing. And a river runs through it: A fork of the Gallatin River flows through a northern section of the 7.11-acre ski-in, ski-out property, which adjoins another 30 acres of development-restricted land. One of only two member properties at the base of the Yellowstone Club’s Lake Lift, it contains a 2,800-square-foot guest log cabin with three bedrooms, three full baths and a deck and hot tub. Stay in the log cabin while you build your dream estate!

–L & K (Ladd, Kulesza & Company)

(406) 995-2404

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