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At Home in Bozeman Real Estate Blog

Tim Hart


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Library Receives 300k to Get Mobile Library Rolling

by Tim Hart

In late February, The Bozeman Public Library crafted plans to bring books to local residents who might not be able to make it to the library themselves. Now, with a 300,000 dollar donation, the library is 5/6 of the way to their fundraising goal. The donation came from a private person—really showing Bozeman’s community driven perspective in its essence.

The bookmobile will need anywhere from 9 months to a year to become fully operational and library staff will still need to decide the size of the new mobile library. Current plans include having a wi-fi hotspot along with iPads and laptops to create a true library feel. Of course, the mobile library will also have lots of books that they can distribute to those who cannot make it to the library themselves. Seniors and children have been pointed to as the main target audience.

Bozeman continues to be community focused—making sure the whole community gets access to the best Bozeman can offer. It’s no wonder that so many people continue to choose Bozeman as their top living destination.



Land off Stucky Road Considered for Annexation

by Tim Hart

Bozeman City Commissioners will vote next Monday on whether to annex a piece of land off Stucky Road in order to zone it for apartment style residences. The commission has seen several bids to annex additional land into the city in the last year. Bozeman continues to find ways to add additional home inventory to keep home values reasonable.

The land off Stucky is currently set for agricultural use and nearby farms are concerned about adding more residential lots on high quality, useable soil. Both farmers and developers made their pleas to the City Zoning Commission and though the zoning commission voted 2-1 against rezoning the parcel, the decision ultimately rests with City Commisioners.

Bozeman continues to search for land and strategies to help keep the real estate in the Gallatin Valley affordable. The city has looked at narrowing lots and has given a high number of building permits to increase inventory. Bozeman will need to strike a healthy balance between keeping prices reasonable and growing in a healthy, planned out manner.




United States Foreclosure Numbers Keep Dropping

by Tim Hart

The total foreclosed on homes has dropped to its lowest level since December 2007 according to CoreLogic’s May 2015 National Foreclosure Report. The report states that the number of foreclosures nationwide dropped to 41,000 in May. Today’s foreclosure totals are now 65% lower than the number of completed foreclosures in 2010.

The report continues a similar trend reported early in the year, when foreclosures fell by 27% in February and completed foreclosures fell by 15% year over year. 

Mortgages also have seen big drops in delinquent payments. Mortgages in serious delinquency—or mortgages that are 90 days or more overdue—dropped by 23% in May based on year-over-year totals. Currently, 1.3 million mortgages are delinquent. Sounds big—but that 3.5% rate is the lowest seen since January of 2008.

Having both lower foreclosure totals and less delinquent payments reflect positively on the current housing market and overall United States economic outlook. As more people have found consistent jobs and as housing prices have recovered and provided equity to many homeowners, foreclosures and delinquent mortgages have gone down. Having less people defaulting on their loans will create a more balanced, deeper, less volatile housing market—something buyers and sellers alike can benefit from.




According to a study by Realty Trac, 66% of housing markets in the United States provide cheaper monthly payments when buying a home compared to renting a home. Coupled with the fact that buying provides additional benefits that renting does not, if the two are even close, buying will be a better financial decision. Having rent actually cost more makes it a no brainer for anyone who has a down payment and qualifies for a loan to buy a home rather than rent a home.

The study looked at 285 counties in the United States. Of the counties surveyed, 188 of them reported higher rent rates than mortgage rates. Not only that, the study included insurance and property tax payments on the “buy side,” yet renting still remains the more expensive across the US.

The study based their findings on the percent of total wage a person used to either rent or pay off their mortgage. Renters used  29.96% of their income, while buyers used 29% while still building equity in their home. The study also found that 13 counties that were cheaper to rent in 2014, had shifted over to cheaper to buy in 2015.




New Mixed-Use Property to Add Home Inventory in Bozeman

by Tim Hart

A new Mixed-Use Property is slated to be built to the North of Bozeman’s Main Street. The building will have both commercial and residential spaces and will span nearly a full city block. The building should help with Bozeman’s low home and rental inventory that has lead to high rental rates and home values.

In order to build the new development, 8 older rental units will need to be demolished. Of the 8, three are uninhabitable during the winter while others have repair costs too high to make renting feasible.

The building itself will be 5 stories with a ground floor reserved for new businesses. The other stories will house the 41 residential units. The building will be located on N Lamme between Grand and Third.

This project, ideally, will help lower both apartment values and rental rates by adding additional home inventory to the Bozeman Montana housing market. 9 units will be made affordable even to residents only making 80% of Bozeman’s median income. While rental rates remain lower outside of Bozeman, this project will offer additional units to help lower rates within the city itself.

The City of Bozeman has focused on finding methods to lower housing costs. They have already given a no to a proposal to lower park requirements but have considered allowing smaller lots for denser neighborhoods. The City has also worked hard at alleviating the affordable housing issue by increasing inventory, whether through apartment buildings or new subdivisions. This project falls in line with the latter strategy.




Both mortgage rates and loan applications have seen big up and down swings over the first few weeks of July.

Earlier in the month, mortgage interest rates fell and continued to be on a downward trend. On July 10th, the rates fell to 4.04 percent. However, the past weeks since then have given a sense that mortgage rates may once again be trending up. This week, mortgage rates hit their highest level since October of 2014—hitting 4.09% this week. For now, its clear that at the very least, mortgage rates have been volatile and should be watched closely over the follow weeks to get a better sense of where they may be heading.

According to the sources listed below, events and turmoil in both China and Greece directly affected yields on US Treasury Securities. Rates rose during this time, but the Fed may still hold back from raising interest rates in light of turmoil abroad.

Mortgage applications have also been volatile as buyers have mirrored interest rates closesly. In a July 8th article, mortgage applications had risen 4.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis but by July 10th, those numbers had already fallen by 1.9% again. On the bright side, although the numbers may be volatile in 2015, total mortgage volume still remains 22% higher than a year ago and total home purchase volume is up by 17 percent.

Any buyer looking at homes right now will want to keep a good watch over mortgage rates so s/he can take advantage of the lowest available rates. They seem to be moving up and down quickly—so buyers will want to make sure they don’t settle for a loan with higher rates than average.






Bozeman Cannery Annexation District Considered Tonight

by Tim Hart

Bozeman City Commissioners will consider creating the Cannery Annexation District to extend city water and sewer services to the growing commercial district.

Cannery District was given its name for the pea cannery that did business there in the early 1900’s. Developers are fast at work creating a new commercial hub in Bozeman, where restaurants, coffee shops and breweries have already opened up shop. Creating an annexation district will make these businesses water and sewer utilities through the City of Bozeman, rather than through other sources.

Locals will have seen the cannery building renovations that have taken place since March. Crews have been hard at work getting the building up to code. Tenants already include a barbershop, an architect, a physical therapy group and a marketing firm. The owners of the building are hoping to have a restaurant of some form to attract day-to-day visitors.

The developers’ plans calls for 15 buildings in total, costing roughly 15 million dollars. Owner’s will strip down old buildings and remodel to keep historic significance while making them environmentally efficient. They will build the other buildings to total the goal of fifteen.

The City of Bozeman wants to do a full annexation of the area, but by turning the district into an Annexation District, they can hook up the area to city water and sewer services without officially incorporating the area into Bozeman yet. Plans still remain to officially annex the district at some point in the future.




Bozeman City Commissioners approved plans for a new market on the West side of Bozeman. The Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for a new 21,000 sq. ft commercial space that will be used primarily for food and beverage based businesses.

The building will help provide more commercial diversity to Bozeman’s fast growing west end of town. The building currently will house one main business space, which will be filled by a The Market at Ferguson Farm. Currently, Commissioners hope the other tenants and businesses will fit into the farmer’s market type setting. The space would include a full-liquor license and its costs would be shared among tenants. The building hopes to attract bakers, wine and seafood vendors, retailers and restaurants. The building may also have one or two offices as well.

The market is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 and is part of a greater plan to divide 19 acres west of Ferguson Road into 18 commercial lots.

Bozeman continues to expand and commissioners continue to work hard making sure the proper infrastructure has been put in place. The Market at Ferguson Farm will help provide new places for Bozemanites when in need of good food and drink.





I read a great article by Troy Carter of the Bozeman Chronicle, detailing the effects of the exempt well ruling on Gallatin County growth. In mid-October of last year, a county judge ruled that subdivisions pumping over 10 acre feet of water per year would need to apply for a water rights permit. Before the ruling, subdivisions could pump up to 1,000 acre-feet of water without a permit, while farmers and ranchers using the same amount needed a permit.

The article details how the well ruling has affected development in Gallatin County since its inception. Many people have been worried it will affect growth in the area. So far, it has been difficult to tell whether the ruling will affect subdivision growth moving forward.

According to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Water Resources Division, nearly 100 subdivisions have applied for approval since the ruling. If a subdivision stays under 10 acre-feet of water per year, then no further action is needed to drill. According to the DRNC, a vast majority of subdivisions have stayed under this threshold. From this perspective, it appears the ruling has done little to curb growth.

However, other evidence suggests that changes may be coming. This year through June, 53 wells were reported whereas last year there were 57 and 70 in 2013. In addition, some well experts are worried that the ruling will raise land values. Because subdivisions have to use less water per home, they would put less homes on a parcel of land. Whereas ten homes may have shared the water before, now only a few may be able to. Not only would there be less home inventory on the market, homebuyers may have to buy larger segments of land as well—both of which would raise prices, potentially slowing development.

The ruling may also just affect how people live in Montana but not the overall growth. The ruling could potentially lead to more urbanization as developers move towards hooking up to city water, rather than having to jump through the hoops of attaining water rights.

Currently there are 18,000+ wells in the Gallatin Valley with 12,500 of them labeled as domestic wells.

Moving forward, it will be very interesting to see how this ruling affects subdivision development and overall growth in Bozeman, the Gallatin Valley and Montana overall.




Bozeman Airport Reflects Town's Growth

by Tim Hart

Bozeman’s Airport, much like the town itself, has seen fast growth over the past few years. After continuing its population growth and seeing high tourism numbers, its no wonder Bozeman has seen increased activity at its airport.

Last year, commercial passenger traffic increased 15 percent. Each month in 2015 has seen higher numbers than the previous month. Both of these facts contribute to the narrative that Bozeman is growing quickly and has become one of the most sought after locations in Montana.

Bozeman has been attracting airline travelers for vacation and for permanent stay, or perhaps a little of both.

Bozeman has had some of the highest wages in Montana along with a reasonable cost of living, while staying safe. Coupled with its livability and amazing access to public lands, it’s a very attractive place for people looking to call Bozeman home. Both Bozeman Public Schools and Montana State University have seen rising enrollments, reflecting the desire of many to call Bozeman home.

Tourism in Bozeman has also seen large growth. Yellowstone National Park and nearby State Parks saw increased numbers in 2014 while Bozeman was honored as one the top ski destinations in the world.

After the airport reached 1 million passengers last year, it announced it would need to expand again to deal with increased numbers. Now, it continues to see even higher numbers. Bozeman’s access to an international airport has been partly attributed to its recent economic success. Both help eachother, attracting great people and allowing Bozeman to sell itself. Once the airport expands, local residents can expect more tourists and more people looking to stay for an extended time.





Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 406