Montana is easily one of America’s most beautiful states, where casual walks outside feel like you’ve stepped into the scene of a movie – or a Bob Ross painting.
It may be hard to believe that all of Montana’s lush mountainous landscapes and diverse nature and the cost of living in Montana, in general, comes at a surprisingly affordable price.
If you’ve ever wondered how much it is to live in this beautiful state, you’re in luck.
Our guide gives a complete breakdown of the cost of living in Montana.
Housing Costs in Montana
Although Montana is the fourth-largest U.S. state by area, it is one of the least densely populated states in the country. With an average of six people per square mile, Montana ranks as the third most sparsely populated state in the U.S.
Because of Montana’s low population, where the number of cows outnumbers the number of people (yes, this is a fact), this means their housing market isn’t exactly the strongest.
It’s All About Neighborhoods
Housing costs in Montana vary from city to city. In some of Montana’s bigger cities, the average home price can be higher. The same goes for rent prices.
According to Zillow’s Home Value Index, the median price of homes in the city of Missoula is $360,000, and the median rent price is around $1,450 per month.
While in the smaller city of Kalispell, Montana, the median price of homes is around $355,000, and the median rent price in this area is about $930 a month.
These rent rates are far below most of the rest of the country.
Take a look at some of our new homes in Bloomstone, a new residential subdivision in the heart of Kalispell, Montana. We offer quality, budget-friendly, and conveniently located single-family homes in the Flathead Valley. Our pricing starts at only around $266,000!
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average electric bill in 2018 in the U.S. was $117.65. The average electric bill in Montana is $94.75.
This isn’t the lowest energy bill in the country (New Mexico takes the cake at $74.05), but it is still well below the national average.
Generally speaking, Montana is considered a driving state, and owning a car is preferred. In Kalispell, gas goes for an average of $$2.19 per gallon, which is lower than the national average of $2.60 per gallon.
If you live in one of Montana’s bigger cities, however, there should be a public bus service in your area.
Bozeman’s Streamline bus is free, and Missoula’s Mountain Line bus service is currently free of charge as well. In Great Falls, their bus service costs only $1.
Food and Grocery
Depending on the city, Montana’s grocery prices range from two to four percent above the national average for a U.S. state. A loaf of bread will cost you around $3.39, and a gallon of milk will be about $1.97.
When it comes to dining out, an average meal in Montana should cost around $10 per person, $7 lower than the national average of $17.
Healthcare in Montana ranges from three to five percent above the national average. According to ehealth, Montana Residents can expect to pay around $164.15 per person for basic health insurance, which includes major medical plans.
The average annual employee premium in Montana employer-sponsored plan (after employer contribution) will cost around $1,367
Here are the average healthcare costs in the city of Kalispell:
Doctor Visit: $116.13
Dentist Visit: $99.77
Optometrist Visit: $108.82
RX Drug: $462.61
Veterinary Visit: $53.17
Moving to Montana is an excellent choice if you are considering sending your children to a state school or if you want to go back to school yourself.
Montana ranks second when it comes to states with the lowest in-state tuition. CollegeCalc.org reports that tuition at Montana’s public universities on average had a cost of $6,879 per academic year. This is $7,233 less than the national average.
Nothing will make someone move states faster than the promise of low taxes, and Montana has got you covered. Montana is one of the few lucky states that have no sales tax. Montana also does not have an estate or inheritance tax.
When it comes to income tax, the state system is progressive, so there is a tax rate range between one percent and 6.9 percent. Property tax will depend on the county you live in, but the average rate is 0.87 percent – lower than the national average.
Cost of Living in Montana – Other Expenses
One of the best parts about living in Montana is front-door access to all of the recreational and outdoor activities. Montana is home to Glacier National Park, also knows as “The Crown of the Continent” and part of Yellowstone National Park.
You can enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting, climbing, as well as all sort of water activities because of the state’s abundance of rivers and lakes. Even walking is more enjoyable in the beautiful state of Montana.
Glacier National Park’s rate of admission will depend on a few things like the season and whether or not you’re bringing a car with you.
That summer rate between May 1 and October 31 is $35. This rate includes a seven-day vehicle permit. The winter rate, between November 1 and April 30, drops to $25 for admission.
The rate for individuals arriving on foot, by bike, or as part of a commercial group is $20 in summer and $15 in winter. If you live in the area, you can get an annual pass for $70.
Here are some things to do in Montana that don’t involve going to Glacier National Park.
If you’re dreaming of getting away and making a move to the treasure state, we don’t blame you! We hope our complete breakdown answered some of your questions when it comes to the cost of living in Montana.
If you are planning an amazing move you won’t regret, please feel free to get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you find your new home in beautiful Kalispell, MT!