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Winding river in front of mountains reflecting the sunset on a Montana ranch

Montana has always been a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers and those in search of wide-open spaces, but never more so than in 2020 with the impact of COVID-19.  As city dwellers seek an escape from the crowded urban landscape, the demand for ranch property in Montana has reached unprecedented highs.  Partner Bill Boyce commented that many of the pandemic era buyers are “seeking a gentleman’s ranch – luxury properties with amenities such as horseback riding, hunting, fishing and mountain biking, but that are still close to town,” such as Copper Spring Ranch in Bozeman represented in an off market sale by the firm earlier this year.

Western Ranch Brokers has also seen a wave of investors that are taking advantage of the migration to Montana in 2020 with development opportunities in the hospitality sector and with purchases of large tracts of land that are to be parceled out.  These unique investment opportunities have arisen as a result of the supply/demand discrepancy and have added to the some of the highest ranch sales numbers in a decade.  Other recent sales of note for Western Ranch Brokers include Greenhorn Hideout, Dkystra Farms and Highland Mountain Ranch.

Western style camp and cook out on a Montana ranch

With the influx of new buyers in big sky country, the amount of available inventory has been greatly reduced, especially in Bozeman and the surrounding communities.  Many of the remaining available properties are parcels with expansive acreage, more appealing to the seasoned ranch buyer than a new transplant to the area.  Partner and Broker Jim Toth notes that “ranch owners and investors may turn their interests toward land outside of Bozeman that still offers a location with great access, but that are less price competitive than the markets in Bozeman and Missoula as they become over-saturated.”

Sales in nearby Lewistown, MT have been particularly strong this year with a generous supply of quality ranch properties.  The city of Lewistown, a former military base, offers a quaint 1950’s era western town feel with the modern convenience of quality dining and a newly built micro-brewery.  Lewistown Municipal airport is a full service FBO and can accommodate a large range of private aircrafts with a runway of 6100 ft.

Historic view of Lewistown's main retail street

2020, a record year in sales for Western Ranch Brokers, Partner Caleb Campbell said, “Western Ranch Brokers has enjoyed one of our best years in recent history, due in part to the increased recognition of the brokerage and one of the best ranch markets we’ve ever seen.”  Western Ranch Brokers represented the buyers of 7 ranch transactions in Lewistown this year alone, including McCartney Springs Ranch, Buffalo Creek Ranch, Lewistown East Fork Ranch, Little Snowy Mountain Ranch, Lancaster Ranch, and Deschland Ranch.  Ranches still available for sale in Lewistown include Big Spring Sporting Ranch, McDonald Creek Vistas and notably Horsethief Basin Ranch, likely to be high on the list of must-see properties for out of town buyers thanks to its traditional western ranch feel and luxury amenities.

Western Ranch Brokers anticipate the demand for ranch property to remain strong through the first half of 2021 and have several key listings that will drive sales in the new year including Heart K Land & Cattle Co, Lazy TP Ranch, Horsethief Basin Ranch, Rockin JN Ranch and Big Spring Sporting Ranch.

As the year comes to a close, there has never been a better time to sell your ranch property in Montana.  Contact Western Ranch Brokers at (406) 589-4160 or info@westernranchbrokers.com for more information on how we can help you buy or sell your Montana ranch.

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