Tons of us have jumped on the Yellowstonetrain as this point, and how could we not?
From the complex characters of John, Beth, Rip, and well, just about everybody, the intense storyline, and the gorgeous backdrop of Montana, not to mention the killer country music soundtrack… it’s a win-win for drama, suspense, crime, action, nature lovers, and country music fans alike.
However, there’s one thing we often forget about the show, and it’s the impact that the hit TV series has taken on the actual residents of Montana.
CNBC talked with some Montana locals, and as you can imagine, things have changed drastically, and not in a good way for most residents. Sure, the influx of tourism dollars is bringing cash to a number of small businesses, but for the residents who live there, it’s been difficult.
Ginger Rice, a lifelong resident of Montana, said she refused to watch the rest of the show after just one episode:
“It’s unreal… It doesn’t portray Bozeman or Montana life as far as I’m concerned.”
However, she also acknowledged the fact that the show has opened a ton of eyes to her gorgeous state:
“Do you see what our state looks like? The mountains and prairies and who can can’t love this?”
A study by the University of Montana also resulted in proof that the show has led to an economic boom for the state. Production spent $72 million in the state, with businesses getting a whopping $85 million economic boost.
But that also means rich people are moving to Montana, trying to get a shot of that fictitious ranch life. Trying to channel their inner John Dutton.
Robert Keith, founder of boutique investment firm Beartooth Group, addressed the number of wealthy people coming into the state recently:
“We’ve had an influx of all sorts of wealthy individuals looking for ranches… they’re looking to own really amazing large properties.”
In the Bozeman area alone, a single-family home price jumped from $500K before the pandemic, to $750K. Missoula and Kalispell, where a good bit of the show has been filmed, has seen an even larger spikes in price.
On top of that, Montana has seen a 9.6% population increase between 2010 to 2020. In 2021, during the pandemic, the state became one of the fastest growing states in the country.
Tim Murphy, a ranch broker from Bozeman and partner at Hall & Hall, weighed in on the drastic population boost:
“A lot of our clients during the pandemic, came out and found shelter at the ranches, a safe place to be and no people around.”
Rice also discussed her concerns for the quick rising home prices, and how her daughter and son-in-law were recently told that their landlord was not renewing their lease due to the price spike:
“My daughter says we’ll never be able to afford a house. We tried to save but everything’s going up and up and up.”
Some have opted to move into campers and RVs, and others in tents… Habitat for Humanity is calling it a housing crisis:
“Montana has quickly become inaccessible to those who live and work here.”
And when newcomers arrive in town, they don’t necessarily rush to become part of the community. Rice adds that she isn’t close to her neighbors anymore, nor does she like all the fancy rich folks that seem to be all over Bozeman:
“I used to love the fact that you knew your neighbors. We still do know our neighbors, but we’re not really friends with our neighbors.
I don’t like how busy it is. I don’t like traffic. And it’s too expensive.”
Granted, the same thing is happening in a lot of cities that are booming… cities like Austin, Nashville, Boise, Spokane… rich people are fleeing places like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and they’re willing to pay above asking for property.
And when everybody is overpaying to make sure they get the spots they want, everybody else gets priced out of the market. What’s the answer?
I’m not sure, but I’m not sure that you can entirely blame it on television show.
Then again, look at this place… who wouldn’t want to live here: