11 Cheapest Places to Live in Montana

Hey there, outdoor adventurer! I’ll be sharing the cheapest places to live in Montana. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for an affordable city to settle down in, this article is for you.

Now, I understand the pain points that come with finding the perfect place to call home. The fear of making a costly mistake can be overwhelming. 

I’ll delve into the cost of living, average income, rental costs, average mortgage payments, and even median home prices in these cities.

But who is this article really for? Well, if you’re someone who values a low cost of living combined with a rich history and vibrant community events, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Are you curious about the affordable options in the capital city? Or perhaps you’re interested in the largest city where cheap homes can be found?

So, grab your hiking boots, saddle up, and join me as we uncover the hidden gems of Montana’s cheapest cities. It’s time to find your slice of big-sky country without breaking the bank. 

Cheapest Cities to Live in Montana

An aerial view of a town with trees and a river

When it comes to the cost of residing in Montana, the state ranks 35th in the country, meaning it can be pricier than other states. 

Despite this ranking, there are still some notably affordable places to live in Montana that offer residents a more budget-friendly lifestyle.

It’s important to note that while these cities may offer affordable living options, the cost of utilities and other factors may vary.

With a little research and planning, you can find a place where you can enjoy the outdoors, embrace history and cultural events, and become part of a vibrant community, all without draining your wallet.

Below is an overview of economic indicators for Montana’s most affordable list of cities:

 CityMedian Home ValueAverage Cost for RentUtility Costs (Electricity)Median Household IncomeHome Price to Income Ratio
3Wolf Point$129,022$624$154.62$49,5092.61
6Cut Bank$139,794$751$139.75$46,1203.03
7Miles City$164,500$870$146.77$54,2653.03
15Deer Lodge$148,730$666$140$42,3143.51
16Great Falls$190,300$760$139.75$53,1263.58

1. Colstrip

Smoke coming out of chimneys
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Colstrip:

Median Home Value$151,423
Average Rent Cost$845
Utility (Electricity)$132.46
Median Household Income$85,039

Known as the “energy capital of Montana,” Colstrip is a charming town that originated in 1924 when the Northern Pacific Railroad began extracting coal nearby to power their steam locomotives.

Colstrip not only offers affordable living options but also provides a safe and welcoming community. With a high median income and affordable child care, you can rest assured that your financial future is secure.

The town is home to good schools, a public library, a food bank, and an active senior community. This ensures that residents of all ages are well cared for.

And let’s not forget about the quality medical services available in Colstrip, keeping you and your family in good health.

One of the standout features of Colstrip is its strong economy. The availability of jobs, coupled with higher pay, has made this town a desirable place to call home.

Colstrip’s good economy can be attributed to the substantial export of electricity to nearby states. Since the 1980s, this industry has been supporting employment, earnings, and tax income in Montana.

You can see why Colstrip is considered one of the cheapest places to live in Montana.

So, if you’re looking for a community that offers affordability, safety, and a historical perspective, look no further than Colstrip. 

2. Baker

A street sign in a small town in Montana
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Baker:

Median Home Value$191,085
Average Rent Cost$710
Utility (Electricity)$146.77
Median Household Income$79,104

When it comes to finding an affordable place to live in Montana, look no further than Baker. Sure, the average home prices may be slightly higher here, but they make up for it with low median rent.

This town has a diverse range of housing options, spanning the spectrum in cost. Whether you’re in the market for a cozy cottage or a spacious family home, Baker has got you covered.

Bakes has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s when the Milwaukee Railroad made its way through Montana. It was named after A.G. Baker, the construction engineer for the railway.

In 1915, a fortunate discovery of natural gas during a routine water drilling led to the establishment of several oil wells in the area. 

If you’re looking for the cheapest place to live in Montana, Baker is calling your name.

With its housing options, low median rent, and favorable financial landscape, you can live comfortably and still have money to spare.

3. Wolf Point

Flags in a city street in Montana
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Wolf Point:

Median Home Value$129,022
Average Rent Cost$624
Utility (Electricity)$154.62
Median Household Income$49,509

Wolf Point, a historical town in Montana, holds a special place in the hearts of local farmers and ranchers as a vibrant trade point. It’s not just about commerce, though.

Wolf Point is also deeply connected to the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes, adding a cultural richness that sets it apart.

One of the standout features of Wolf Point is its excellent home price-to-income ratio, making it one of the cheapest places to live in Montana, in fact, among the list, it has the lowest price of home value.

If you’re not quite ready to dive into homeownership, renting is a solid option, with an average monthly cost of just $624.

Wolf Point is among the most dangerous cities in Montana. This city experiences about 26 violent crimes annually. Be sure to take necessary precautions and prioritize your safety.

In addition to its low cost of living, Wolf Point boasts a creative community and a charming historic downtown that adds to its allure.

So if you’re looking for affordability and a touch of charm, Wolf Point might just be the perfect place for you.

4. Hardin

A brick building in Montana
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Hardin:

Median Home Value$152,892
Average Rent Cost$740
Utility (Electricity)$140
Median Household Income$53,856

This enchanting town boasts affordability like no other, making it a prime destination for those seeking a budget-friendly lifestyle.

Not only does Hardin provide financial relief to its residents, but it also offers a thriving local economy.

Hardin employs around 1,700, with the largest industries being Health Care and Social Assistance (406 people), Accommodation and Food Services (327 people), and Educational Services (230 people).

These sectors provide ample opportunities for employment and growth.

The town embraces its rich history with open arms. Every year, the Crow people honor their heritage at the renowned Crow Fair, hosting the state’s largest powwow.

For history enthusiasts, the nearby Big Horn County Historical Museum takes you on a journey back in time, showcasing the captivating stories of the region.

5. Chester

A small town street in Montana
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Chester:

Median Home Value$152,403
Average Rent Cost$598
Utility (Electricity)$139.75
Median Household Income$52,365

Chester is the epitome of affordability. Ranked as the 5th most affordable place for homes in the state, this charming town boasts a median home value of just $152,403.

For renters, the average monthly rent in Chester is only $598, making it one of the most cost-effective places to live in Montana.

But affordability doesn’t stop at housing. Chester excels in every aspect. With an unemployment rate of just 1%, everyone in the town can likely benefit from the opportunities available.

For those interested in the ways of the Wild West, the Liberty County Museum is a fantastic destination to explore, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the region.

With a median household income of $52,365, residents of Chester can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

6. Cut Bank

A river that runs through the middle of a grassy area
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Cut Bank:

Median Home Value$139,794
Average Rent Cost$751
Utility (Electricity)$139.75
Median Household Income$46,120

Cut Bank is one of the cheapest places to live in Montana. As the administrative center of Glacier County in the northwestern region of the state, Cut Bank offers affordability that is hard to find elsewhere.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the cost of living. Cut Bank’s cost of living index is significantly lower than the state average.

When it comes to housing, Cut Bank truly shines. With a median price of home of just $139,794, prospective homeowners can find their slice of paradise without breaking the bank.

For those who prefer renting, the average rental cost in Cut Bank is a wallet-friendly $751 per month. It’s good to have cheap rental options.

But affordable housing is just the tip of the iceberg. Utilities in Cut Bank are also incredibly reasonable, with average utilities around $139.75 per month. This contributes to the town’s affordability.

With a median household income of $46,120, residents of Cut Bank can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without having to worry about their finances.

The combination of low housing costs and decent wages makes Cut Bank an excellent place to call home.

7. Miles City

A brick building with cars parked in front
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Miles City:

Median Home Value$164,500
Average Rent Cost$870
Utility (Electricity)$146.77
Median Household Income$54,265

With an average home value of just $164,500, finding a cozy abode doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re looking to become a homeowner or prefer renting, Miles City has you covered.

The average rent cost here is a wallet-friendly $870 per month, allowing you to allocate more funds toward experiences that matter.

With a median household income of $54,265, Miles City offers residents a comfortable lifestyle without compromising their financial stability.

Miles City holds onto its rich Western history, making it an exciting place to call home. The Range Riders Museum and the yearly Bucking Horse Sale are just a couple of events that showcase vibrant heritage.

There’s also a wildlife museum located within the Fish Wildlife & Parks Department, providing an enjoyable experience for families with children.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Tongue River Reservoir State Park is just a stone’s throw away, offering endless opportunities for hiking, fishing, and boating along the Yellowstone River.

8. Havre

A brick building
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Havre:

Median Home Value$179,700
Average Rent Cost$821
Utility (Electricity)$139.75
Median Household Income$58,513

Havre is one of Montana’s hidden gems nestled along the Canadian border. Situated on Montana’s Hi-Line, this town was once a bustling hub for railroads, weaving together a rich tapestry of history.

The surrounding region boasts a bountiful blend of mountains and plains, providing year-round opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers like you.

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Beaver Creek Park and Fresno Reservoir, where adventure and tranquility meet in perfect harmony.

When it comes to city life, concerts, live theater, museums, shops, galleries, and sports events are just some of the activities waiting to be explored. 

The city also organizes cultural events like the Northern Montana Summer Fair, which highlights the lively essence of the region.

Now, let’s talk affordability. With median home prices starting at a jaw-dropping low of $179,700, Havre offers an affordable alternative for those seeking a cozy abode.

Rent costs here average around $821 per month, making it one of the most budget-friendly places to call home.

Even utility costs are delightfully low, with electricity bills averaging a mere $139.75 per month. This means you can keep the lights on without feeling a shock to your wallet.

When it comes to financial stability, with a median household income of $58,513, you can enjoy the best of both worlds, affordable living expenses and the means to embrace the wonders that surround you.

So, if you’re looking for a place that combines affordability, natural beauty, and a vibrant community, Havre is calling your name. 

9. Malta

A yellow and blue building in Montana
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Malta:

Median Home Value$166,847
Average Rent Cost$508
Utility (Electricity)$139.75
Median Household Income$52,558

Nestled in the heart of Montana, Malta embodies the charm and tranquility of small-town living. But don’t be fooled by its modest size – this hidden gem offers a wealth of exciting attractions to explore.

From outdoor adventures to captivating historical sites, there’s something for everyone. With a median home value of $166,847, Malta boasts some of the most affordable housing options in Montana.

And for those who prefer renting, the average cost is a budget-friendly $508 per month. In fact, among the list, Malta has the lowest cost of rent.

Living in Malta is not only easy on the wallet, but it also brings peace of mind when it comes to utility costs. With an average electricity bill of only $139.75, keeping the lights on won’t strain your budget.

In terms of financial stability, Malta shines bright. The median household income stands at $52,558, providing a solid foundation for residents to enjoy the beauty and adventure this city has to offer.

So whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking thrilling escapades or a history buff yearning to delve into the past, Malta, Montana is the place to be. 

10. Harlowton

A small town in Montana
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Harlowton:

Median Home Value$158,523
Average Rent Cost$712
Utility (Electricity)$140
Median Household Income$49,308

Harlowton is a little town tucked away in the heart of Montana. This place is home to Montana’s largest wind farm, occasionally making the city the top producer of wind energy in the entire U.S.

The Judith Gap Wind Energy Center is situated between Harlowton and Judith Gap. Built by Invenergy Services in 2005, it features 90 wind towers with an annual output of approximately 450,000 megawatts.

Harlowton is not only a vibrant hub for renewable energy, but it also offers some incredibly affordable housing options. With a median home value of just $158,523, you can find a cheap abode.

For those who prefer to rent, the average cost is a mere $712 per month. Harlowton residents allocate a modest $140 per month on electricity bills. You won’t have to sacrifice your latte to keep the lights on.

In terms of financial stability, Harlowton shines bright. With a median household income of $49,308, residents have ample funds in their budgets to savor the simple pleasures of life.

One of those pleasures is grabbing a cold one at Gally’s Brewing Co. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a long day and enjoy the local flavors.

11. Conrad

A city street in Montana
source: flickr.com

Key economic indicators for Conrad:

Median Home Value$165,134
Average Rent Cost$842
Utility (Electricity)$139.75
Median Household Income$51,350

With its roots deeply planted in farming, ranching, and oil production, Conrad exudes a sense of resilience and tenacity.

But it’s not just the economic pillars that make Conrad special. To its west lies Bob Marshall Wilderness, with its breathtaking Rocky Mountains, which beckons outdoor enthusiasts far and wide.

Whether you’re into hiking, backpacking, or horseback riding, this untouched region offers a haven for adventure seekers.

Now, let’s dive into the numbers that make Conrad a truly affordable place to call home. With a median home value of $165,134, you can find a cozy abode that won’t drain your wallet.

And for those who prefer to rent, the average cost is a reasonable $842 per month. That’s a steal considering the beauty that surrounds you.

And when it comes to financial stability, Conrad shines bright. With a median household income of $51,350, residents have the means to pursue their dreams and build a comfortable life.

How We Determined the Most Affordable Places to Live

A man holding money with a cardboard model of a house and keys beside it

In our evaluation of these cities, we’ve utilized a metric known as the Housing Price-to-Income Ratio (HPTIR). This essential measure provides valuable insights into housing affordability and valuation.

Calculating the Housing Price-to-Income Ratio is a straightforward process of dividing the median home value by the median household income. A lower value signifies more affordable housing and is simple.

Across the U.S., the average home price-to-income ratio stands at 4.1. This implies that families need to allocate over four times their yearly income to acquire a home, a substantial financial commitment.

However, in the most cost-effective places within Montana, the HPTIR is far more reasonable.

This ensures families and homeowners can avoid overextending their finances on housing costs, freeing up resources for savings or other investments.

Cheapest Places to Live in Montana Final Thoughts

An aerial view of a city at night in Montana

After delving into the affordability factors of Montana’s cheapest cities, it’s clear that families and homeowners can enjoy a high quality of life without breaking the bank.

With a low cost of living and median home values that don’t drain your bank account, these cities offer a truly appealing prospect for those seeking an affordable place to call home.

Montana’s stunning natural beauty shines through with attractions like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, providing endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

From jaw-dropping mountain peaks to mesmerizing waterfalls, these national parks are a constant reminder of Montana’s breathtaking landscapes.

When it comes to the cost of living, these cities also outshine the national average, allowing residents to save more and live comfortably.

With affordable rental costs and a range of housing options, families and individuals can find their perfect home without emptying their pockets.

So, if you’re looking for a place to settle down or simply seeking adventure, Montana’s cheapest cities not only offer an affordable lifestyle but also a gateway to some of the most unique attractions in the country.

Say goodbye to expensive cities and embrace the charm and affordability that Montana has to offer.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into Montana, stay involved with these articles:

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Written by:

Chris Hall
Hi, I'm Chris Hall, co-founder of PocketMontana.com. Growing up among Montana's breathtaking landscapes ignited my passion for travel. While I've journeyed to many corners of the world, the allure of Montana's wild beauty always draws me back. To me, travel is about understanding the soul of a place, and Montana has a special place in my heart. It's where endless adventures meet raw nature.

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