By Kevin Wetherell
Clearwater Montana Properties 

Seeley Swan Real Estate - Questions About Fire and Snow



The questions about the market are usually the same –

What effect has the Rice Ridge Fire had on real estate in the valley?

Has everyone listed their homes for sale after last winter?

At the end of July last summer, the Rice Ridge Fire began. Shortly after that, smoke and evacuations ramped up to a stymied real estate market in the valley. Five weeks of tourists and property buyers that traditionally buy in the peak real estate season were lost. The traditional “prime selling season” was lost and not extended.

Despite the loss in buyer traffic, sales in 2017 were strong, resulting in shrinking inventory and limited availability of homes for sale. Fortunately, the view shed from Highway 83 and town was largely unaffected by the fire. As we work through 2018, it has become clear that real estate sales have been mostly unaffected by the effects of the fire.

The winter of 2017-2018 brought about large amounts of snowfall that many said was second in recent history only to the snowfall of 1996. Residents here are very resilient as there were no homes that we are aware of that were listed for sale as a result of the long winter.



Buyer activity continues to be very strong with buyers showing up with cash to invest, as buyers are finding quality investments in what is perhaps the most scenic and recreational rich valley in Montana. Fifty-seven percent of our buyers come from Montana, primarily Missoula, Helena, Bozeman and Great Falls, as well as many farming and oil industry families from east of the divide.

Out-of-state buyers are primarily coming from Washington, Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas and the southeast. All are mostly being purchased for second homes and retirement. Unfortunately, very few local working families are able to purchase in the market today.


Market activity has slowed down in the month of June, most likely due to cooler than normal temperatures and rain. This week, sunshine and warm weather should get it all back to normal. The traffic through town has really increased to “summer normal” starting last Friday.

Typically, the summer tourist season brings with it a lot of buyer activity. Many people travelling through the valley, wake up in the morning with no intention of buying property. They drive north on Highway 83, and when they drop into Salmon Lake, they think how beautiful it is, then when the valley opens up near The Double Arrow Ranch the mountains come out and next thing you know, they are buying property in the picturesque Seeley- Swan or Blackfoot Valleys – it happens frequently. We should never take what we have here for granted, we are very fortunate to live in this special place.


In Seeley Lake, 24 homes have sold year to date and there are nine more under contract to be sold. Last year at this time, there had been 14 homes sold to date. The average price for a sold home has remained static from last year at $280,000.

There are 51 homes currently for sale, down from 62 at this time last year. Typically, inventories trending downward indicate that it is a sellers’ market and that values are expected to increase as a result of supply and demand. It also indicates the market is healthy, because when inventory numbers begin to increase dramatically as they did in 2008-2013 values decrease.

Home sales in the Swan Valley continue their pace from the past two years, and the market is moving forward with a lot of buyer activity. Currently in the Swan Valley, there are 26 homes for sale. There is 24 months of home inventory for sale. There have been five homes sold this year to date. Interestingly, there are only five homes listed under $400,000.


• 8 are under $250,000

• 14 are priced between $250,000- $400,000

• 14 are priced between $400,000 - $700,000

• 6 are priced over $1 Million


There are currently 99 land parcels listed for sale in Seeley Lake. Seventeen parcels have closed this year to date with nine in the Double Arrow Ranch, five at Emerald Lake and three in other areas. There are 22 parcels for sale at $50,000 or less creating a great investment opportunity for those who want to get in on the dwindling property market in the valley.

In Condon – Swan Valley, there are currently 31 land parcels for sale. There were seven parcels sold in 2017 and three parcels have sold this year to date. The Swan Valley land market has been the slowest of all to come out of the downturn and there are some great deals to be had on some spectacular land parcels.


There are more lakefront properties currently for sale than there has been since 2008. Currently, there are 12 lakefront homes for sale as well as 4 vacant land lakefront parcels. Lakefront demand has been slowed by the cool weather and rain. Despite the high inventory number, there is continued demand for lakefront properties.

Seeley Lake – 1

Big Sky Lake – 4

Salmon Lake – 5

Placid Lake- 2

Cygnet Lake – 1

Lake Inez – 2

Lindbergh Lake - 1


The availability of rentals continues to be a concern. The rule continues to be that if you need a rental, pick up The Pathfinder on Wednesday afternoon and if there is a rental available, call the number and tell them you will take it.

Pyramid Mountain Lumber has approximately 135 employees, and of the 135 about 22 of them are commuting to Missoula or places as far because there is not available housing locally. If we could increase work force housing availability in Seeley Lake, just think of the positive local impact of the income of those 22 families being spent in the local economy and the positive impact of the additional children enrolling in local schools.


Interest rates are currently around 4.5 percent for a 30 -year fixed rate mortgage and 3.875 percent for a 15 -year fixed rate mortgage.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about property in the area, please contact a local real estate professional.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 11/06/2019 00:38