Montana Has Become Most Popular Place for ‘Zoom Towns’
Back when Montana was founded, a lot of towns popped up after the discovery of gold. People from all over the country flocked to places like Bannack, Virginia City, Helena and even Drummond.
In fact, according to umt.edu
Rich “boomtowns” grew out of the frantic search for the yellow metal, as well as from silver discoveries. Granite, Elkhorn, Confederate Gulch, Diamond City, Montana City, Garnet, Coloma, Horse Prairie Creek, Southern Cross, Pony and Marysville were but a few of the legendary camps.
Small gold camps quickly grew into large towns. Those towns would grow quickly, but also sometimes die quickly. Depending on the price and amount of precious metal being mined. "Boom towns" strung out all over the state. Mining everything from gold to silver and even copper. But, some local economies would boom and others would bust. The towns that "bust" would eventually become ghost towns.
Fast forward nearly a century and a half later, and Montana is seeing another rise in "Boom towns." Except these towns have nothing to do with the search for yellow gold. These towns are "booming because of Zoom." The pandemic of 2020 has showed a lot of companies that employees are capable of working remotely. Meaning living in the "big city" is no longer necessary for some. So, many people have decided to leave those cities behind and search for "greener pastures." Coining the new phrase "Zoom Towns."
According to Matador Network
The pandemic has precipitated the rise of the “Zoom Town” — small towns that appeal to remote workers — and few places have felt the impact like Bozeman and Billings in Montana.
With the uncertainty surrounding the Delta variant and many companies following the lead of Facebook, Twitter, and Slack and declaring that remote work will be a permanent option, it’s a safe bet that the popularity of places like Billings and Bozeman will continue growing — but at what price for the locals?
Demand for housing have skyrocketed, as people working remotely have been bringing that "big city" money and paying cash. Prices of housing have gotten so bad, that many Montanans are being forced to move to smaller communities or even out of state. But, just like "boom towns," the growth is dependent on economy. Will people flocking to "Zoom towns" be able to handle a recession, mass inflation or even a cold Montana winter? Time will tell.