How we really feel?

Responses to the “Big Sky Employee Survey—Housing Needs and Preferences”

If not satisfied or very dissatisfied with your residence, can you briefly describe why? 

•Two strangers sharing a one-bedroom. 

•Six people packed in a two-bedroom. 

•An employee can’t afford to live at Big Sky and pay rent on their own and usually end up staying on the floor in another employee’s place and pay $400 or more for that space. There is not enough employee housing for everyone.

•Because we pay $1,500 a month for a 400-sq. ft. studio that is infested with mold. 

•It is impossible to find housing in Big Sky that is affordable and reasonable for the amount we all work. This is embarrassing.

•Cramped hotel room with three people, no kitchen, bad wifi.

•Due to the lack of supply, landlords are able to charge high rent rates. In two years, our rent has gone up $1,050/month. 

•Everything is falling apart and the floors are getting very loose. It’s too hot in here and the dressers are falling apart.

•Expensive, it’s a trailer and far from work in Big Sky. 

•HOA dues are way too high and is what will likely cause us to leave.

•I am embarrassed by how difficult it is to find permanent housing here. Living with my boss is temporary and I’m grateful for the offer, but the stress of finding affordable housing is not a healthy way of living for anyone.

•We love our home, but living in a high-density condominium complex is not ideal. Our neighbors smoke and their smoke comes into our home. Most of our neighbors are great people, but we have a large number of transient short-term residents coming and going. One resident in our building was arrested for raping a woman. We have had people steal packages from our door... just a couple instances showing that Big Sky is changing and growing. We want to live in a safe place, want to raise a family in a safe home. If single family homes were more affordable, if more neighborhoods similar to Ramshorn were developed, we would retain more long-term, high-quality, working-class people in our community. 

Additional comments regarding being forced to move within the past five years? 

•After living in the Big Sky area for nine years, rent became too expensive. I love the Big Sky area for work and play and have been forced to do the deadly commute from Bozeman knowing one of these trips I will meet my demise.

•Developers throughout the community appear to have little/no interest in building property with a per-sq-ft cost below $250. 

•I had to move three times in one year because I was being forced out. I’m lucky that I was able to find places or else I would have been homeless and forced to leave Big Sky. 

•My wife and I have submitted four offers in the past six months, all rejected. We have excellent credit and good work histories/income; however, the high purchase price (coupled with our combined student debt) makes home purchasing a truly stressful experience. In the vast majority of the state, our pre-approval to $370k would be MORE than sufficient. In Big Sky, however, this places us just barely on the cusp of condo affordability. Single-family homes? Apparently, one needs to accumulate out-of-state wealth in order to purchase a HOME. 

•Since I have been here, housing costs and rent keep going up and up and up. Prices will continue to go up because of who Big Sky has chosen to cater to—the wealthy and forget who keeps this town running, with over 80 percent of employees returning to Bozeman every day. 

•The struggles and emotional stress of living with random roommates is very difficult. It is my only option though to live in the place I love. It’s a shame I am one of the lucky ones. Many of my friends are paying close to $1,000 dollars for one bedroom. Outrageous. I want to start a family here, but I can barely pay my rent for a portion of a house. I couldn’t imagine paying $3,000 a month for a family. 

•I do not believe you should be allowed to sit on a HOA board if you are not a full-time resident, and make decisions based on your VRBO that affect full-time residents. It would be great to have income-based housing that had a time limit on how long you could live there to give other people a chance to get established in the area. 

•I oppose housing subsidies to attract critical employees. For instance, the school district should not create a funding subsidy to attract new teachers. A better approach would be to raise salaries for all teachers in the district to allow them to afford to make individual housing choices. The subsidies for critical new employees is inherently unfair unless existing employees who have housing are also helped financially. 

•I see landlords taking advantage. One kid cannot get his landlord to insulate, and he pays over $300/month for heat in the winter to keep his place at 55 degrees! That is unacceptable! 

•If you choose to rent in Big Sky, you forgo any ability to save a down payment to one day buy your own home. AirBNB and VRBO just add to the inflated rents here in town. Seriously, drive through the Firelight condos and chalets, it is quite easy to tell that about a third of the units are VACANT most nights. The owners of these units would rather collect $200-300 a night from tourists rather than $1,000 a month from a resident. But let’s be honest, those weren’t built to make wealthy people more wealthy. They were built to be affordable housing for the working class of Big Sky.     

To see all results from the “Big Sky Employee Survey—Housing Needs and Preferences,” visit


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