Moving, whether it is across the country, out of state, or over to the next county, is something that requires thought and planning. You need to evaluate whether there are enough jobs available to keep your income flowing, and whether there are the types of jobs you are qualified for. If you have children, schools are a critical part of the decision. Safety of the area is of paramount importance, and finally there is the issue of whether the area has long term growth potential or whether you will need to plan to move within 5 years or so,
Montana, the Blue Sky State, has some of the best real estate for the right kind of people. These are people who love the great outdoors, who prefer open spaces to city congestion, and who appreciate traditional American values. In fact, there is a growing list of the best places to live in Montana. All of these are personal preferences, and are important when deciding whether to move there or not. But there are also a passel full of statistics that will help point you in the right direction.
A survey conducted by the 2018 Prosperity Now Scorecard reported that by using 62 different measurements in five key areas, Montana posted a sixth place showing this year. Other statistical surveys show Montana’s Quality of Life ranking in the Top 10 of all states, and an all-important Infrastructure ranking that places it in the top 50 percent of the country. There definitely is room for improvement in the infrastructure, particularly when it comes to Internet access. But with a huge amount of land and just over 1 million people living in the state the potential for growth without a loss of the Quality of Life is huge.
Montana State University is ranked as one of the Top 50 universities in the country. Though the state only receives an average grade when it comes to schools and education, it still ranks in the top half of the nation’s school systems. It shows a continuing improvement in its middle and high school programs, with six of the state’s schools making the list of the best high schools in the country:
- Gardiner High School
- Bozeman High School
- Sentinel High School, Missoula
- Helena High School
- Whitefish High School
- Baker High School
Montana is ideal for people who want to start their own businesses or are looking to relocate to a business-friendly environment. It is in a tie for the 11th best place when it comes to the cost of doing business, and is considered to be a business friendly state. It boasts a state GDP growth higher than its unemployment rate (5.2% compared to a 3.9% unemployment rate) and has a corporate tax rate of only 6.75 percent. The economy for the average working person is just as bright, with a top individual income tax rate of 6.9% and the incredible advantage of a 0.00% sales tax. The gasoline tax is 32.25 cents per gallon, which is in the middle of all state gas taxes, but there are far more miles of roads to maintain compared to the others.
A recent article in the Great Falls Tribune spells out the positive outdoor recreation environment of Montana. Did you know Montana was the 4th state in the country to create a Department of Outdoor Recreation? There is a reason for that which goes beyond the numbers.
First, 8 of every 10 Montanans are involved in some type of outdoor recreation or sport. So there is a considerable amount of personal income spending that stays within the state instead of going out of state or out of the country. The interest has translated into more than 71,000 jobs connected to the preferred type of recreation. But there are people from all over the country who fly in to the Great Falls airport to discover what it is like to go on an outdoor adventure. That interest generates more than $286 million in annual revenue for state and local governments.
Potential for real estate appreciation
If you love the outdoors, Montana is the place to live – and invest in. Though the weather can be challenging, the population of the United States continues to increase, growing by some 50 million people in the last 20 years. Big cities are running out of room, and the available spaces are charging insane amounts to live there. Just ask anyone in New York City or Los Angeles. Then there are the natural disasters – hurricanes and earthquakes – that have become a part of life for people living on the coasts.
Businesses of all sizes will need to either relocate or expand due to economic considerations, and the long term question is where will they go? Many parts of the Montana economy favor business growth and expansion, and there is plenty of room to roam. Though many people question this perspective, all you need to do is look at what people were saying about North Dakota only a decade ago. Unless you are looking to flip houses for some quick money in the crowded cities, investing in Montana real estate is a long term investment that will help you to achieve your investment goals.
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