This report covers the residential land market in Kalispell Montana as of the end of April 2023. As with last month, sales increased slightly. At the same time, available inventory also increased. The bottom line is that the residential land market remains a buyers market.
As of early May 2023, there were 158 residential land parcels for sale in Kalispell which is ten more than April’s inventory of 148. The majority of new land listings are relatively small lots in three developments: Shadow Mountain Estates, Sweetgrass Ranch and Cedar Meadows.
Five or more acres
Of the land currently for sale only 23% of the listings include five or more acres. This percentage has been declining (and did so last month as well), possibly due to the continued growth in subdivision parcels as Kalispell’s population increases.
I define rural as those properties in the 5+ acre category. Those are most likely to be parcels located on a gravel mountain road, agricultural farming land, or acreage adjacent to National Forest or lumber parcels. They are often not located in a development, but by themselves, and provide privacy and multiple building and usage options.
The currently active properties over five acres range in price from $169K to $2.9M with an average price of $803K.
The lowest priced listing has five acres of land with no covenants or HOA and septic approval already in place. The highest priced parcel remains the listing with 20 unzoned acres that includes creek frontage, well, power, septic, water rights and a partially finished home.
Below five acres
In terms of the listings below five acres, many are located in developments. These parcels currently range in size from .07 of an acre to 4.93 acres and in price from $115K to $550K with an average price of ~$239K. Many of these come with monthly or annual HOA fees. They are also often covered by CCRs or Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions which define rules for building and living in that area.
Price per acre can vary dramatically and often doesn’t seem to make sense when viewing prices. Why is one 20 acre parcel priced under $200K and another $500K or more? Great question. Following are some pricing rules that seem to be true for land.
The first is, every parcel is unique. With land, you can’t say the average price is $/acre, and this is a 20 acre parcel and therefore it should be $/acre times 20 acres. Instead, the specific topography, physical and legal access, utility availability, distance from town, potential usage, views, zoning, covenants and more need to be taken into account in order to come up with a legitimate price point. If you are thinking of selling your property and are told by an agent that the average price for land in Kalispell is a certain amount, and that you can just multiply that by the number of acres you have, call me. That’s simply not the way the process works.
The second general rule is that the more land you are selling or buying, in general, the less you should expect to pay per acre. For example, looking at the last four months of land sales in Kalispell*, you can see that as you purchase more land, the average price per acre decreases.
*Since there were no sales of 40+ acres yet this year, the 2022 annual average was used for that category.
The bottom line with land in Kalispell, Montana is that every piece is unique, with different requirements, rules, views, utility options, amenities and of course prices.
In April 2023, 14 land parcels sold which was 8% fewer than last year but four more than last month. There are currently 34 land sales under contract which is less than last month. The land market remains softer than the same time last year.
Length of Time to Sell
Land listings typically take longer to sell than home sales. The average days on market for land in 2021 was 5.1 months which was significantly less than the previous year. In 2022, the average was also 5.1 months. In April 2023, land took nearly seven months to sell which is slightly longer than last month’s results.
Average or median sales prices are meaningless when discussing land sales. The qualities of one lot over another are so different as to make most comparisons moot. That being said, I am including a view of the total dollar value of all land sold per month to provide some kind of comparison to the previous year.
In April 2023, $2.7M of land was sold, 72% less than last April and 42% less than last month. Land parcels currently under contract have a list price value of close to $7.2M. Next month’s results may be better to this month’s, depending on which of the contracted sales close. So many factors go into the $ value of land sold that this is more of an informational fact than a predictive one.
In terms of the lowest and highest prices for a land parcel sold, the lowest priced parcel in April was a tie between three parcels all listed at $135K each. They were all small development lots in the Starling Community subdivision on the west side of town. At the other end of the price range was a five acre parcel in the valley with light covenants, views and septic approval. This was listed at $387,500.
The land market has slowed significantly since last year and remains a buyers market. If you are interested in purchasing land in Kalispell, now is the time to do so with lower competition and significant choices. Every piece of land is unique, even those in a development. Views can be dramatically different just moving from one acre to another. I love walking land with clients! If you are interested in selling or buying land, and you want to work with a boot-wearing broker who is ready to find the borders, call me at 406-270-3667. I’d be happy to help!
To see previous land-related market reports, click here.
Thanks for reading “Kalispell Market Report: Land – April 2023”!