Gallatin (MT) Association of REALTORS® Supports Regional Housing Report with Consumer Advocacy Outreach Grant

Gallatin (MT) Association of REALTORS® Supports Regional Housing Report with Consumer Advocacy Outreach Grant

February 2024

It’s no surprise that people want to live in Montana’s Gallatin County.  The world-class outdoor recreation area drew a huge influx of residents during the pandemic, and the steady in-migration continues, bringing with it a booming economy – and intense pressures on the housing markets.  For the second year in a row, the local REALTOR® association has produced an Annual Housing Report to help members, legislators, policy makers, housing advocates, and the media make sense of the region’s housing climate and anticipate future needs.  The report, produced both in print and digitally, is presented at a major press event and has been made possible in part by a Consumer Advocacy Outreach Grant from the REALTOR® Party.

Joanna Harper was president of the Gallatin Association of REALTORS® when the housing report project began.  Learning that other regions had produced analyses of this kind, she and her leadership colleagues realized how valuable it would be to collect and share housing data within the context of Gallatin County’s regional economy.  “No one had the 40K-foot view,” she explains; “in fact, because Montana has non-disclosure laws, there was very little information available to those working in the field and trying to create housing policy.  But here we were, with access to the Big Sky Country MLS data and seed funding from NAR….”  The REALTORS® invited representatives from across the industry and public policy sphere to join the steering committee.  They then teamed up with the Bureau of Economic Research at the University of Montana, whose scholars developed and wrote the reports.  “We are now recognized as the resource for so much of the data used in policy decisions throughout the county and in the City of Bozeman,” notes Harper, with pride.

Government Affairs Director Will Shepard agrees.  “We created an exceptionally valuable tool that many organizations and local officials are using as they address housing issues and develop housing opportunities all across Montana,” he says.

The 35-page report provides the most current information available on demographics, inventory, employment, vacancy rates, housing prices, and more.  The second report, presented in 2023, included information on the rental market; next year, says Shepard, they hope to do a deeper dive into outlying communities.  “Our board of directors, together with the board of the Multiple Listing Service, is committed to continuing to produce the report as a benefit to our members, and to inform policy makers,” he notes, adding that the REALTORS®’ political neutrality is key: “The fact that we collect this information without an agenda allows an unbiased, factual representation of housing that provides tremendous value to and has elevated our position with elected officials.  They come to our release event and engage with our membership, and the response to the reports has been overwhelmingly positive.  We’ve had strong coverage in the local media, and our members and staff are thrilled to have such a high-quality report to share.  It’s really been a great success as a project, and we’re very grateful to the REALTOR® Party for its support.”

To learn more about how the Gallatin Association of REALTORS® is establishing itself as the trusted source for real estate data in its community, contact Will Shepard, Government Affairs Director, at or 406.585.0033 x1004.


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