10 Cheapest Places To Live In Montana For 2019


We used data and science to determine which places in Montana go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Montana.

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If you’ve never paddled Flathead Lake or had a bison burger in Bozeman, then you’ve not experienced what the good people of Montana already know; they have some of the best, most affordable fun in the country.

But, you’re going to need a little more than affordable fun if you’re looking to move your life to Montana on a budget. You’re going to need a good job and a map to navigate Montana’s cost of living.

We’re pretty sure there isn’t a bad place to build your dream cabin in Montana, but there are some places that are super expensive. So, HomeSnacks thought that we’d give you the ultimate Montana life hack: a list of the most affordable places to live in Big Sky Country for 2019. How did we determine that most affordable places in Montana? We consulted Montana’s most recent census data. We also looked at cost of living, home prices, and the recent crime statistics for places with 1,000 or more residents.

The competition was fierce to say the least. Many of the Treasure State’s top ten most affordable places boast great home prices, safe neighborhoods, and good jobs. Any one of these Montana places would be a great place to enjoy life while saving money. Montana’s most affordable places also frees up cash for the fun ‘Montana’ things to do and see. Like, scoring tickets to Livingston’s Roundup Rodeo or catching a powder day in

It’s simple economics, folks. When you choose to live in one of Montana’s most affordable places, you’re choosing to live where your Montana dollar will go the furthest. And that, friends, makes perfect sense.

So, what’s the most affordable place to live in Montana for 2019? The most affordable place in Montana would be Chinook according to the most recent Census data.

To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Montana and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Montana For 2019

Chinook, MT

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,056
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.1x (7th cheapest)
More On Chinook: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in Chinook comes in at $38,824 and the median home value is $102,900 for 2019.

Scobey, MT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,268
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 84.3x (4th cheapest)
More On Scobey: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Scobey comes in at $53,594 and the median home value is $119,200 for 2019.

Wolf Point, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,792
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.0x (11th cheapest)
More On Wolf Point: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Wolf Point comes in at $43,512 and the median home value is $107,100 for 2019.

Colstrip, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,253
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 108.2x (2nd cheapest)
More On Colstrip: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Colstrip comes in at $88,542 and the median home value is $137,500 for 2019.

Glasgow, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,361
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 124.0x (1st cheapest)
More On Glasgow: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Glasgow comes in at $61,484 and the median home value is $140,800 for 2019.

Townsend, MT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,000
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 94.6x (3rd cheapest)
More On Townsend: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Townsend comes in at $49,012 and the median home value is $141,200 for 2019.

Deer Lodge, MT

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,015
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.3x (21st cheapest)
More On Deer Lodge: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Deer Lodge comes in at $37,985 and the median home value is $113,000 for 2019.

Review Of Deer Lodge by HomeSnacks User

Wonderful pictures! Yep this is my home and my roots! From Deer Lodge! Thank you for sharing!

Baker, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,860
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 79.5x (6th cheapest)
More On Baker: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Baker comes in at $51,573 and the median home value is $144,800 for 2019.

Conrad, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,841
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.8x (30th cheapest)
More On Conrad: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Conrad comes in at $43,372 and the median home value is $118,000 for 2019.

Hardin, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,812
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.8x (36th cheapest)
More On Hardin: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Hardin comes in at $43,641 and the median home value is $111,800 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Treasure State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Montana
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Montana to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 50 places in Montana that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Montana according to the data is Chinook.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Montana Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Montana, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in montana for 2019.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Montana according to the data:

  1. Bozeman
  2. Whitefish
  3. West Yellowstone

For more Montana reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Montana?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Chinook 5.0 1,056 2.7x 75.1x
2 Scobey 5.33 1,268 2.2x 84.3x
3 Wolf Point 6.33 2,792 2.5x 72.0x
4 Colstrip 7.33 2,253 1.6x 108.2x
5 Glasgow 8.33 3,361 2.3x 124.0x
6 Townsend 12.0 2,000 2.9x 94.6x
7 Deer Lodge 13.0 3,015 3.0x 67.3x
8 Baker 13.33 1,860 2.8x 79.5x
9 Conrad 15.33 2,841 2.7x 60.8x
10 Hardin 15.33 3,812 2.6x 57.8x

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.