Billings ranked No. 4 on Realtor.com and the Wall Street Journal’s latest Emerging Housing Markets index. They looked at metrics for housing market, economic vitality, and quality of life to come up with the list of cities that have great lifestyle amenities and are also expected to see home prices go up.
Billings is the largest city in Montana and has a much different vibe than Bozeman. It’s a proud, hard-working town that serves as an important hub for agricultural activity (sugar beets, grain and livestock) and the energy industry (natural gas, oil and coal).
What to Know About Billings, Montana
- Population: 109,577 (U.S. Census Bureau 2019 estimate)
- Median Home Price: $269,900 (Realtor.com)
- Unemployment rate: 4.1% (Bureau Labor & Statistics)
- Weather: Many locals refer to Billings as the sunbelt because of its relatively mild climate compared to other cities in Montana. You will see snow, about 59 inches a year, in the winter but it melts quickly and days are more sunny than not.
- Healthcare: Many people retire to Billings from smaller, rural communities for the most advanced healthcare in Montana. There are two major hospitals (Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare) and more than 40 clinics.
- Airport: Billings Logan International Airport has direct service to major cities like San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Chicago. It will unveil a new $55 million terminal in November 2021 that will house three additional gates.
Northern Hotel: A historic luxury hotel in the heart of downtown. Stylish rooms, great lobby for hanging out and two restaurants – Bernie’s Diner for casual breakfast/lunch and TEN for fine dining. 19 N. Broadway (406)867-6767.
The Rimrocks: These sandstone formations that run along Billings are called “the Rims” by locals. There’s a great paved trail that runs along the top where you can hike, bike or just walk and take in a 360-degree view of the city.
Yellowstone Art Museum: YAM is the largest contemporary art museum in Montana with an impressive permanent collection and a diversity of exhibitions for all art lovers. 401 N. 27th St. (406)256-6804.
Desmond’s The Store for Men and Brockel’s Chocolates: These two shops are just a fun nod to the past. Desmond’s has the kind of full-service shopping that you don’t see anymore- you’ll feel like you have your own personal shopper/tailor. Brockel’s is a local, handmade candy shop that makes you feel like a kid again. 2819 2nd Avenue North (406) 245-4612 and 117 N 29th St. (406) 248-2705.
Harper & Madison: Super cute downtown lunch spot for fresh salads, sandwiches and coffee. It’s close to Billings Clinic and St. Vincent and Pioneer Park, which has the best playground in Billings. 3115 10th Avenue North (406) 281-8550.
The Annex Coffeehouse & Bakery and The Fieldhouse: Do not leave town without hitting these two adjacent spots. Annex has craft coffee and amazing, house-made bread and pastries. The Fieldhouse has things that you normally don’t find on most menus in Billings like roasted artichokes with romesco, preserved lemon, puffed amaranth and nutritional yeast. 2601 Minnesota Ave. (406) 371-5904.
The Burger Dive: There’s usually a line at this divey burger joint with great burgers and fries. The “I’m Your Huckleberry” burger won the top prize in the World Food Championships in 2016 and it was featured on Travel Channel’s “Man Vs. Food.” 114 N. 27th St. (406) 281-8292.
Bozeman’s housing market saw a flood of new buyers in 2020 and the recent index shows that buyers are extending their searches to emerging housing markets like Billings. If you have any questions about the real estate picture in Bozeman or other towns in Montana, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.