LIVINGSTON, Mont. – The nationwide trend of tiny homes has made its way to the booming housing market and worker shortage in Southwest Montana looking to be a possible solution for affordable housing and the limited housing inventory.
Woodland Ridge Tiny Homes started in 2020 by Cody Wood and Rick Gilliland who have seen first-hand the growth of Park County and the surrounding areas of Montana having lived in Livingston for a combined 30 years.
"In 2008, when everything crashed, we saw a lot of our friends and families that had to move, they couldn't stay here and now were in the situation where we are kind of in the same thing but in a different reason," Wood said.
The duo first had the idea a year ago to make luxury tiny homes just for people who wanted them during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they didn’t realize the trend would also appeal to several area businesses who need help hiring workers and then finding housing for those workers.
“That’s who we thought would be our target market would be individuals, and what we’re finding is here in Park County, most of it is businesses because there are businesses right now that they can’t fill positions because their workers can’t find housing," Wood said.
According to Big Sky Country MLS Market Watch, the median sales price of a home in Park County has jumped by $150,000 in one year and even more in neighboring Gallatin County.
- Park County Median Sales Price-
- May 2020: $279,000
- May 2021: $429,000
- Gallatin County Median Sales Price-
- May 2020: $475,000
- May 2021: $661,000
Wood said the asking price on their first tiny home built was $78,000 for a 240 square foot home. The base rate for a custom build is $325 per square foot.
Woodland Ridge Tiny Homes is in talks with Chico Hot Springs who plan on using them as a pilot project to possibly solve their employee workforce housing problem along with Livingston HealthCare and several other employers in the area.
In real estate it's all about location and each tiny home is custom built into any size of a trailer from 12 to 44 feet and are built to code for both Recreational Vehicle and National Organization of Alternative Housing standards.
All tiny homes come with kitchen and bathroom amenities which can all be customized, but the standard is their washer/dryer machine, incinerating toilets, shower, electric stovetop, refrigerator/freezer and an air fryer.
The size of the sleeping area can be customized to fit a king size bed at maximum and can come with a closet to hang clothes.
Specific to Montana and the cold winters, the floors are outfitted with radiant heating and the water lines are only in heated spaces, not the floors or walls.
You can find more information and ways to speak with Woodland Ridge Tiny Home crafters here.