You’re familiar with the variables that affect your local housing market, such as economic development, zoning laws, taxes and interest rates. But few real estate professionals will contend with a market boom following a hit TV show.
In our TV-obsessed culture, shows like “Yellowstone,” in which land disputes are a central conflict, have moved the economic needle in the real locations they portray. Increased tourism and local job growth bring new people to these areas, creating high demand for housing. Agents in markets that benefit from the hype around a TV show must grapple with both the positive and negative interest it generates—and buckle up for the ride.
Waco’s Makeover in ‘Fixer Upper’
Chip and Joanna Gaines put the town of Waco, Texas, in the spotlight with their HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” which aired from 2013 to 2018. Before the show, Waco, a small university town that was struggling economically, was best known for the 1993 massacre involving cult leader David Koresh. But the Gaines’ Magnolia brand has made many investments in the local market, including a shopping complex and a new hotel opening this year to be featured on the upcoming HGTV show “Fixer Upper: The Hotel.” Along with the growing prominence of the Magnolia brand, Waco has experienced a tourism boom, an influx of jobs and “an international city PR campaign no town could ever pay for,” Mayor Dillon Meek told local reporters.
Still, not all is coming up roses (or magnolias) for longtime residents, who saw average home prices locally increase nearly 52% from 2015 to 2019 and a tax appraisal increase of roughly 30% in 2022, according to reports. Out-of-state relocation buyers, who tend to have larger housing budgets, have descended on Waco and propped up the local market.
Montana’s ‘Yellowstone’ Effect
Few TV shows are filmed in a location with as much natural beauty as Bozeman, Mont., where Paramount’s “Yellowstone” is produced. The show debuted in 2018 to much fanfare. The COVID-19 pandemic and the era of remote work followed shortly thereafter, leading to an influx of wealthy new residents seeking homes, ranches and open land. Today, prices in Montana across the board are at an all-time high as economic expansion, jobs and tourism skyrocket.
One study by a local real estate brokerage showed that “Yellowstone” brought 2.1 million tourists and $730 million in associated spending to Montana in 2021. Seventy-one percent of those tourists had seen “Yellowstone,” according to the study. Production on season four of the show alone created more than 500 jobs and brought $72 million to the local economy, the study notes. More broadly, the economy in all of Montana grew by almost 7% in 2021—the fastest pace in more than 40 years—making it the seventh-fastest growing state economy in the nation.
In 2020 and 2021, Montana was one of the few states in the U.S. to grow in population. But the median home price locally has increased to $500,000—double what it was in 2020. Montana land values also increased 10% from 2021 to 2022. In Bozeman, home of the Dutton family in “Yellowstone,” the median condo price soared more than 60% year over year from 2021 to 2022, and the median price for a single-family home has increased to nearly $750,000 since the pandemic began in 2020, according to CNBC.
While “Yellowstone” is rumored to be filming its final season, time will tell if national attention stays on Montana or pivots to West Texas, where Paramount’s upcoming show “6666” reportedly will take place.
If you are an agent lucky enough to be in an area with rising home sales stemming from a hit TV show, keep in mind that you’ll be dealing with both new and longtime residents who are adjusting to change in the local market and need guidance. Keep an eye on streaming networks for their next offerings, as your neck of the woods could be a setting viewers fall in love with.