Are residential land parcel prices increasing? The answer depends upon how you frame that question, with specifics of timing, size and locale. I charted residential land sales by city, these past four years, for two parcel size ranges: 1-5 acres, and 6-10 acres (see chart).
Outlier extreme median prices were seen in Lakeside 1- to 5-acre parcels this past 12 months, and in Polson 6- to 10-acre parcels the prior 12 months. I’ve run the median sold price numbers from Feb. 8, 2018 to Feb. 7, 2019, and so on (12 months of sales data) for each of the past four years.
Kalispell 1- to 5-acre parcels average about a 10 percent annual price uptick; same-sized Columbia Falls parcels average over a 20 percent annual increase. Whitefish 1- to 5-acre parcels had been stair-stepping downward, but the past 12 months erased those decreases entirely. Polson 1- to 5-acre averaged a nice annual uptick.
For 6- to 10-acre parcel sales: Kalispell has been relatively flat, Bigfork started reversing the decline, Columbia Falls and Polson show a smooth annual increase (but the latter had a huge outlier two years ago). Columbia Falls continues to turn heads, with higher prices than many assume.
Richard Dews is CEO of Glacier Flathead Real Estate, a Flathead-based real estate software and services company.