‘Yellowstone’ boom pits lifetime Montana residents against wealthy newcomers

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  • Paramount’s hit streaming show “Yellowstone” gives the city’s wealthy an idea of ​​what it would be like to be a real-life Baron of the Wild West.
  • “We have an influx of all kinds of wealthy individuals looking to farm,” Robert Keith, founder of boutique investment firm Beartooth Group, told CNBC.
  • But as wealthy shoppers move in, and the state’s population grows, native Montanans and others at the lower end of the income spectrum are feeling the squeeze from higher rents and property prices.

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“Yellowstone” has become one of the most popular shows streaming. Filmed on location in the West, much of it is in Montana, the screenplay drama tells the story of John Dutton, a modern-day ranch owner, played by Kevin Costner and his family descendants.

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The story is deliciously captivating, with back-stabbing and family intrigue, high-stakes power plays and dramatic plot twists, but the cinematography is a key element of the appeal. The sweeping scenery, snow-capped mountains and charming small towns are captured throughout the episode.

Still, ask native Montanans what they think of the show, and you’ll likely be faced with grimaces and criticism.

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Ginger Rice, a lifelong resident of the state, said she initially vowed not to watch the series after watching just one episode.

“That’s untrue,” she said. “It doesn’t portray Bozeman or Montana life as far as I’m concerned.”

Yet Rice, who accepts the show eventually draws her in, also admits that the show makes her home state attractive to viewers: “Do you see what our kingdom looks like? ? Mountains and valleys and who couldn’t love it?”

According to one, production has a significant economic impact on the state study by the University of Montana. When season four was shot on location last year, production cost the state $72 million dollars, giving businesses in the state another $85 million economic boost. The study was partially funded by Paramount, which owns the show.

That study didn’t determine the impact of all the free advertising Montana receives from “Yellowstone.” But it’s clear that the fictional John Dutton and his imaginary sprawling ranch have given the wealthy city slayer an idea of ​​what it would be like to be a real-life Baron of the Wild West.

“We have an influx of all kinds of wealthy individuals looking to farm,” said Robert Keith, founder of the boutique investment firm. Beartooth Group, told CNBC. “They own really amazing big properties.”

As the demand for land and homes has increased, so have the prices.

Around Bozeman, the average cost of a one-family home rose from less than $500,000 before the pandemic to nearly $750,000. Gallatin Association of Realtors, surrounding area Missoula And Kalispell An even more dramatic price increase was observed. The rents are so high that even working professionals are having a hard time finding affordable housing for themselves. And some landlords, demanding higher rents, are not renewing leases with tenants.

Big Sky in huge demand

It took years for Big Sky Country’s population boom to build up. montana, eighth smallest state Population wise, now the population is more than 1.1 million people, From 2010 to 2020, the state grew by 9.6% according to the US Census Bureau.

Then came Kovid and remote work. In 2021, Montana will become one of the fastest growing places in the country, according to The US Census Bureau.

“Many of our clients during the pandemic came out and found shelter on the farm, a safe place and no people around,” says Tim Murphy, a longtime farm broker and Hall & Hall partner at Bozeman.

Last year, Chris Kimbrell, who lives in Georgia, joined the mass emigration to Montana for a job as a vet in Bozeman. From his first voyage at the age of nine, he said he was attached to the state and kept on making return trips to fly-fishing through college.

But he carefully weighed the rising cost of living.

“If it wasn’t for a family member who is letting me live on their property, I’d have to really think about moving out of here,” Kimbrel said. “Rent and housing are becoming increasingly expensive.” He said support staff at his veterinary practice were being kept out of residence.

Rice, a lifelong Montana resident, said her daughter and son-in-law were recently given notice that their landlord would not renew their lease on the three-bedroom home they’d rented for more than a decade. . He said it was also a mad scramble to find a two bedroom apartment at three times the rent he was paying.

“My daughter says we’ll never be able to buy a house,” she said. “We tried to save but everything is going up and over.”

Some families, even those with full-time employment, are moving in vehicles or tents for recreation. Local streets are now dotted with people in campers who can no longer pay rent or own a home. habitat for Humanity This is called the housing crisis. “Montana has quickly become inaccessible to the people who live and work here,” said the nonprofit, which is prompting lawmakers to prioritize housing affordability.

fly fishing and designer jeans

Longtime residents also criticize the cultural divide between newcomers and longtime Montanans. They lash out at newcomers who buy property but refuse to join in and commit to their communities.

“I loved the fact that you knew your neighbors. We still know our neighbors, but we’re not really friends with our neighbors,” Rice said.

She quietly complains that Bozeman is full of “highfalutin people” dressed in posh outfits who make her feel uncomfortable around her. And she says the city is almost unrecognizable.

“I don’t like how busy it is. I don’t like the traffic. And it’s too expensive,” she said.

Longtime residents told CNBC that changes are also evident in Missoula and Kalispell. Outsiders, they say, are always in a hurry and too loud with their unrealistic demands. Rice said that at her former job at the dry cleaner, a customer insisted on removing paint splatters from designer jeans. “What were they painting in those pants anyway?” she wondered.

The “Yellowstone” effect reminds residents of another culture conflict, which developed when Hollywood portrayed Montana in the movie “A River Runs Through It.” The film, which was directed by Robert Redford and featured a rising movie star named Brad Pitt, was filmed on location in 1991 and released in 1992. It won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

“At the time, fly fishing was in vogue,” said farm broker Murphy, “because a large number of people wanted to buy fly fishing properties in the area.”

As a result, the fly fishing industry grew by 60% in both 1991 and 1992, according to Forbes,

It is seeing a boom again, he said, even as uncertainty clouds the economy. “When the stock market becomes volatile and there is volatility, it just boosts our market because the land market is pretty stable,” he said.

Many newcomers come with deep pockets and entrepreneurial aspirations that fuel Montana’s growing economy. Governor Greg Gianfort’s office said in May the state’s economy grew 6.7% in 2021, the fastest pace in more than 40 years. The economy of the seventh fastest growing state in the country,

Beartooth Group is betting that investors want not only financial returns but also inheritances. The firm specializes in rehabilitating degraded land – such as old mines, feedlots or ranches – and then selling it.

Beartooth founder Keith showed CNBC a creek that had been restored into a winding waterway perfect for trout. Generations ago it was forced into a ditch to be used for agricultural purposes. But now the fish draw the birds. The osprey built a nest and the parents were seen feeding their young.

Keith said a property like this appeals to buyers with a notion about Montana’s wild places. They want to see deer and bears and butterflies.

“I think we can all agree that not enough dollars are going into conservation,” he said. Wealthy, conservation-minded buyers often invest even more in restoring land after owning a property. He said Beartooth’s pitch is unique: “By doing something good for the world, we’re making it more valuable both economically and environmentally.”

The state is also hoping to bring former residents back to the Big Sky state with a marketing campaign, “Come Home Montana,

“No matter how long you’ve been away, now is the time to come home to rural Montana,” the campaign says. “Embrace the life you really want to live.”

But if you want to be there, bring your checkbook. Former residents will find that their home state is far more expensive than when they left.

Credit: www.cnbc.com /

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