I had a very interesting conversation yesterday with a friend I hadn't seen in months. We hadn't seen each other because she and her husband moved from Bozeman to Butte.

photo - Michelle Wolfe
photo - Michelle Wolfe
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"The prices here (Bozeman) are just too much. We were never going to get a place to live that made sense. So we packed our s*** and got out of here, over the hill." Ok, then.

This particular friend of mine works for a national online company and can pretty much work from wherever they choose to live. Her husband is a trucker, so he also has some flexibility in where he calls home. So Butte, America it is for them.

It's no secret that almost ANYWHERE in Montana has less expensive housing costs than Bozeman. Montana Connections recently did a story declaring, "Butte Wins in Median Housing Prices Compared to Other Major Montana Cities."

But now I'm wondering what Butte folks think about this mini-migration, or if it's even an issue yet? If it's NOT an issue yet, I'll bet you good money it will become one. Moving 85 miles west of Bozeman but still being in Montana is vastly more appealing to most people than leaving Montana entirely.

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According to the Gallatin Association of Realtors' latest report, the median sale price for a single family home in Bozeman, Montana is $756,250. According to Montana Connections, the median sale price for a single family home in Butte is approximately $220,000. It doesn't take a genius to do that math.

The overall cost of living is also generally lower in Butte. According to Best Places, if 100 represents the National Average of cost of living, Butte's number is currently 80.1, significantly lower than that national average. Bozeman's number is currently 121.6. (Sperling's Best Places calculates these numbers, including costs of groceries, health, housing, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous costs.)

Steven Cordes - unsplash
Steven Cordes - unsplash
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My friend that I spoke with yesterday isn't the only person I know who has made the move to Butte. (Many other friends have left Bozeman for Helena, but that is rapidly becoming quite expensive too.) Although vastly different towns, Butte does have a lot to offer newcomers...and it has massive amounts of potential.

So, good people of Butte...let us know. Is it really happening? Or are a few sly folks slidin' in the backdoor nearly unnoticed? Would you welcome an influx of old-school Bozeman residents moving to Butte?

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