This story is excerpted from the MT Lowdown, a weekly newsletter digest containing original reporting and analysis published every Friday.

It’s no secret that prices in Montana’s real estate market have risen dramatically in recent years, but the state’s breakneck appreciation was driven home for many residents in June when the Montana Department of Revenue sent out its every-other-year reappraisal notices, informing property owners about updates to the value estimates used to calculate property taxes. The increases — commonly 40%, 50%, 60% — or even higher, left many homeowners with their jaws on the floor.

Statewide, the median residential property saw its value increase by a whopping 46%, the revenue department reported. But that value growth was distributed unevenly across the state.

Counties in western Montana — especially rural counties that were until recently blessed with cheap housing — saw the highest percentage increases. Granite County, around Philipsburg and Drummond, saw its median home valuation rise 67%, from $182,000 to $304,410, the largest increase in the state. Similarly, median values increased by 64%, to $185,880, in Meagher County (White Sulphur Springs) and 60% to $185,915 in Deer Lodge County (Anaconda).


Property taxes, explained — with pictures

Property values have risen dramatically in Montana, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you (or your landlord) will pay higher property taxes. If you want to know why, read our property tax explainer — with pictures.

Some of the state’s longtime real estate hot spots saw smaller percentage increases that are nonetheless significant in dollar terms. Median residential values in Gallatin County, which includes Bozeman, rose 59% to $646,000. Flathead County saw a 45% increase to $444,700, and Missoula County saw a 37% increase to $413,200.

Complete data, including similar figures for commercial assessments, is available on the department website.

Also worth a look in case you missed it: our visual guide to how property taxes actually work.


Eric came to journalism in a roundabout way after studying engineering at Montana State University in Bozeman (credit, or blame, for his career direction rests with the campus's student newspaper, the Exponent). He has worked as a professional journalist in Montana since 2013, with stints at the Great Falls Tribune, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Solutions Journalism Network before joining the Montana Free Press newsroom in Helena full time in 2019.