Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 409

Bozeman Looks to Expand and Upgrade Elementary School

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman School District continues to work hard improving an already wonderful school system. Officials will put a proposed expansion for Hawthorne Elementary School on the November ballot, asking for 5.5 million to improve the school. Even more interesting, the district believes they can gather the needed funds without raising property taxes on Bozeman residents.

Current plans include replacing old classrooms and improving the cafeteria in Hawthorne Elementary, all while creating more space for the school overall. The portable classrooms that were installed in the 1980’s will be removed and replaced with a new two-story addition. The cafeteria will also move from the basement to the first floor and be fully updated. Finally, some playground space that was used for portable classrooms will now be opened up once those are removed.

In order to get the needed funding for these improvements, school officials plan on using tax-increment financing, or a TIF, to raise funds without increasing property taxes. The downtown TIF was originally used to help create the parking garage near Main Street, but the extra reserves were reverted back to school funding. Money cannot be used outside of the district it taxes, so Hawthorne became the natural choice for these funds. Normally, school funding needs to come from the voter approval of some form of bond, which would raise taxes—this scenario will avoid the tax increase.

Bozeman continues to have some of the best public schools around. Their high school was recently honored as the best in the state. Keeping up to date with improvements will keep it so and keep Bozeman as attractive as it is to new potential residents.




Walkable Communities Most Popular for Millenials

by Tim Hart

The walkability of cities and towns in the United States has become increasingly important for homebuyers – particularly its youngest generation. According to a new study released by the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University, millenials show a strong preference to having a home that’s within walking distance of local amenities. These home buyers, those aged 18 to 34, preferred walking over driving by 12 percentage points.

All age groups saw walkability as a major asset in choosing a home—so much so that 48% of all respondents wanted a small home and yard within walking distance of activities, rather than a large home and yard that required driving to get to events and destinations—assuming prices were similar. Home sellers should keep this in mind when they go to list a smaller home with a great location—make sure not to forget one of the home’s best qualities!

Americans in general also looked for more transportation choices when choosing their new neighborhood. Eighty-five percent of American buyers looked for sidewalks to make sure their home would be walking friendly.

Women in particular showed a strong attraction to walkability, with 61% of those surveyed putting it as an important aspect of their home search.

For a smaller town like Bozeman, having close, walkable neighborhoods will continue to attract homebuyers to Bozeman. Not only can a person walk through the City of Bozeman in complete ease, but the city’s massive trail system provides even more options for the active homebuyer. Bozeman was ranked as the 11th most livable mid-sized town in the US, with transportation as a major factor in the rankings. It sounds like Bozeman is on the right path to keeping itself a walking friendly place that will continue to attract new residents to the area.




Local Restaurant to be On National Cooking Show

by Tim Hart

For anyone who loves the Cooking Channel, they will get to see a Bozeman restaurant featured on one of its national shows. The Western Café, a steadfast of downtown since the 1930’s, was selected to appear on the channel as a great mom and pop operation that also utilized local Bozeman ingredients.

The café will appear on the Cooking Channel’s show, Pizza Masters. In this case, the Pizza Masters were apparently less interested in pizza, because they asked the café to show them how to make the café’s famous cinnamon rolls along with their biscuits and gravy. The Pizza Masters chose the location for its great food, décor and local atmosphere.

For any non-local visitors to town, the Western Café can be a great place to enjoy some old-time western cooking. As Bozeman has grown, it has done a great job keeping the small mountain town feel that has become so attractive to out of state visitors.




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.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 409