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East Wilson School May Become Residential Area

by Tim Hart

 

It looks like Wilson School may see some new life as a residential area. Bridger Builders presented a case to the city to turn the area into 18 single household units. Looks like there will be a parking garage as well for new residents. I will be interested to see whether the city decides to move forward with these plans. The meeting is at 6pm on Monday the 25th.

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/news/future-plans-for-east-willson-school-to-be-presented-to-city/

Off-Leash Dog Park Coming to Bozeman

by Tim Hart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new dog park will be coming to Bozeman. The park will provide off-leash options, which is even better news for dog owners. The new park will be located at Rocky Creek Farm off of Frontage Road. Starting today, owners will be able to visit the fully fenced 2-acre park. The 2-acre park will allow for dogs off leash and is only the first phase in an effort to create a much larger dog park with both off leash and on-leash options. Soon, new trails will be created that will provide dog owners with on-leash hiking options as well. The park is now accessible thanks to West Paw Design, who finished installing a new bridge, opening up access to the park. West Paw Design also chipped in $6,000 worth of fencing and other small projects to get the dog park starting strong. Dog owners can now look forward to another beautiful park to take their dogs. Having a park with off-leash access will also provide the dogs with a fun, friendly environment to meet other dogs and not be constantly on-leash in public. Having a dog in the home has become even more worry free in Bozeman with this additional dog park, providing a place for home owners to get their dogs out of the house and burning some of that seemingly never ending dog energy.

New Home Construction Rising

by Tim Hart

I read an interesting article today on new construction for July. More and more people are putting their faith in the housing market. Here’s what I took out of it.

 

New home construction continued to rise in July which should continue to boost the economy in the coming months. Housing start ups climbed 16% last month to an annual rate of 1.093 million units, showing a renewed faith in the housing market. July levels hit the highest level of construction since November. Construction on new apartments has seen the greatest increase in the US. Total home construction rose 22% all the way up through July, and building permit applications.

 

http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post--us-housing-starts-up-sharply-in-july

New Montesorri School Coming to Big Sky

by Tim Hart

A new school may be coming to Big Sky. The Big Sky Discovery School, a private Montesorri school, has been started by Big Sky locals Scott and Karen Maybee in an attempt to diversify the education options for Big Sky locals. The school will serve up to 12 students in first through third grade but will look to expand up to sixth grade in the next year. Both owners believe the new private school will only help enhance the quality of education available in Big Sky. As there is no Montessori school in Big Sky, Big Sky Discovery School will bring a less traditional education method to the area. The school’s calendar will mimic the local public elementary school, Ophir, but the prospect of a new school has received mixed reactions from locals. In general though, having multiple options for schooling can only help potential home-buyers feel more comfortable moving to a smaller town. The school aims to be environmentally sustainable while feeding their students only healthy, natural, organic food. The eco-friendly perspective may also align more with recently moved parents, who are looking to raise their children with these tenants in mind. Any home-buyer looking to move into Big Sky can only be heartened by having more educational options available for their children.

Updates Coming for North 7th Avenue

by Tim Hart

City officials met this past week with professionals from California in the hopes of updating and renovating North 7th Avenue.  The California company, the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, helps prepare mayors to become the chief designers of urban areas, and they will be begin by focusing on the 7th Avenue area that stretches from Main to I-90.  The area could see zoning changes as well as aesthetic updates. For property owners in the area, the new focus on 7th and its neighboring streets could really improve home values in the future. Now may also be the time to grab up any open real estate in the area, as improvements could lead to higher prices later on.

 

http://www.kbzk.com/news/a-new-vision-in-the-works-for-bozeman-s-north-7th-avenue-corridor/

New FICO Credit System Changing

by Tim Hart

The credit scoring system may be changing for the better, at least for consumers with a shakier credit history. FICO has introduced their new credit system that is aiming to be more loan friendly towards clients with past, but paid-off debts as well as those with medical debt. The new FICO scoring system will take settled bills into consideration when adjusting someone’s credit score. If someone had owed money in their past, with the old system, their credit could be retroactively affected for seven years. Now, old, but paid off bills should not affect their credit score as much as before.

            The new FICO system will also remove the negative effects of having unpaid medical bills. Currently, 64.3 milion Americans’ credit scores are affected by these unpaid medical bills. By removing the negative impact of medical debt, some Americans may see their credit scores raise by 25 points. Considering that FICO scores are used to determin loan decisions around 90 percent of the time, many more people may find themselves eligible loan. Even more people will see their own rates lower, especially if they had been receiving less than friendly rates from banks. These new rates could greatly increase the number of Americans receiving loans and buying cars and houses.

The Bozeman City Commission will vote on Monday night on whether to approve new changes for city street and tree maintenance fees. If passed, Bozeman homeowners will either have to pay more  or less per year, depending on where they live. The City Commission proposed a 6.39% increase to the overall maintenance budget, but not everyone will see the increases reflected in their taxes. When the city initially proposed the change, they called for a 10% increase to these taxes in order to bring in the necessary revenue. However, after implementing a new system and formula for gathering these fees, the city was able to lower the proposed increase to 6.39% while still bringing in the same revenue as before. The new formula will provide a more than $315,000 increase for street maintenance while adding $9,700 dollars to the tree maintenance budget. Some Bozeman property owners will see their bills be less than before. Fifteen percent of property owners in the City of Bozeman will see their fees increase.

Gallatin County Economy Continues to Thrive

by Tim Hart

Despite the fact that Montana’s economic growth rate has slowed in recent years, Gallatin County continues to maintain high economic growth. The county’s growth was driven by wages earned in the construction, manufacturing and service industries. From 2012 to 2013, the county added 2,500 jobs. That number was more than double any other county in Montana. Unfortunately, the amount of wages brought in was proportionally low at 28 million. Experts believe the low numbers simply reflect the generally lower wages that are given to these three sectors. But, the growth in the county still dwarfed the growth in any other Montana county.

For real estate, Gallatin County continued to look strong, coming in second for the most new housing startups. Gallatin County has plenty of potential for continued growth in this sector, as this data still only reaches to 76% of the pre-recession peak.

Source: Bacaj, Jason. “Gallatin economy growing, state slowing.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 6 August 2014.

August Gallatin Valley Home Statistics

by Tim Hart

Last month, we focused on activity in the Gallatin County for condo/townhomes. This month, we will highlight rising prices for all homes in the Gallatin County.

Here are a few stats

  • The average price of a single-family residence raised from $364,736 in 2013 to $402,370 currently, a $37,634 increase.
  • The median price also rose from $279,500 in 2013 to $295,000, a $15,500 increase.
  • The average price of a condo/townhome raised from $236,544 in 2013 to $282,109 currently, an increase of $45,565.
  • The median price of these homes also raised from $175,000 in 2013 to $200,000 currently, an increase of $25,000.

Summary – based on these consistent price increases for single-family residences, condominiums and townhomes, the 2014 market continues to improve the value of homes in the Gallatin Valley.

Montana Tourism Revenue Reaches Highest Ever

by Tim Hart

In 2013, tourism brought in a record high 3.62 billion dollars into the state of Montana. Sixty percent of tourism related businesses saw their profits rise by 10 percent. According to the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, spending by the 11 million non-resident visitors fully supported 1 out of every 9 Montanans. That number accounted for 34,000 jobs in the entire state.

            Bozeman has become a major hub for tourism in Montana. Bozeman has great tourism in both the summer and winter, due to its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Ski Resort, and Bridger Bowl Ski Resort. 397.3 million dollars was brought into MT from National Parks alone and Bozeman sees much of the benefits from the state’s most famous park.

            Montanans have seen the benefits of increasing tourism. Taxes have lowered and more jobs are being created every day. Locals have warmed up to the idea of marketing the state, although most would still prefer to keep it a well kept secret. But tourism advertising can seen as far as Chicago, where a #MontanaMoment billboard has been placed in the city. Rising tourism will only increase the money being brought into the state and can only help improve the quality of life of its residents.

 

Walden, Kaylee. “Montana Tourism Revenue Reaches Record High in 2013.” Business Journal For Southwest Montana. Page 1. 29 July, 2014.

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