Do you ever just drive, walk, or bike around town and find yourself amazed at the pace of change in Bozeman?

I first moved to town in 2018 after spending my early life in Dillon, going to school in Missoula, then trekking out to Seattle for my first professional gig. (I eventually moved back to Bozeman save money on rent - dumb move on my part).

Turns out, a lot of things had changed since my visits to Bozeman as I grew up. I remember going down 19th Street with my parents and seeing acres and acres of picture-perfect alfalfa fields - a far cry from what's visible from that terrible stretch of road today. We'd get my mom her haircut, my dad would take me and my brother to a sporting goods store or lunch, then pick her back up for a run to the mall, Walmart, Costco, then back home to Dillion. (In my later years, the downtown bar scene became a bigger priority, of course).

When they came to attend MSU in the '80s, they had an opportunity to buy a house at 12th and Alderson for something like $20,000. They passed on the opportunity. Zillow shows that properties in that area of town are hovering around $1 million.

Tough luck. I would have really appreciated the family discount on rent.

But that feeling of missed opportunity is not uncommon for Montana locals these days. Sure, maybe there's an entitlement factor - why shouldn't people who have been here longer get the first and best option for housing? But the high cost of living, inadequate infrastructure, and an influx of newcomers haven't eased the financial pain that even a global pandemic couldn't lessen.

On the flip side, the COVID era has allowed working professionals much more flexibility about where they live. Bozeman is gorgeous - I don't knock anyone for wanting to live here. But that scenery doesn't pay the mortgage. A lot of my friends have chosen to relocate - some lifelong Montanans - and it bothers me. After all, the Bozeman Real Estate Group lists the median cost of a single family home in the area at $730,000. Median home prices in the city have increased 50% from April 2020-2021.

And if you're searching for housing in any market, this is not something you want to see:

So as discouraged as I am, I want to know: are you planning to stick this out and stay in this uniquely beautiful place we call home? Or are you putting down roots elsewhere - and where is that? 

Enter your responses in the form below or comment on our Facebook page. And good luck!

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