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Can Home Renovations Raise Property Taxes?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

As spring approaches, many home sellers awake from their winter slumber, hoping to list and sell their home for top dollar. The current wisdom suggests that renovating the home in the right places can oftentimes drastically raise the list price. Although true for many, home renovations come at a cost. Renovations take up time that the home could otherwise be on the market and they take up-front money. Most homeowners see both of these costs and plan their investment accordingly. However, many renovators forget that improvements to the property can also raise their own tax bills. Though usually not a deal breaker, its something many overlook when they are trying to determine whether a renovation will bring a solid return on investment.

Renovations can raise a home’s assessed value and therefore its property taxes. Local governments valuate homes then take a percentage of that value to determine how much each homeowner should pay.

Homeowners who are unsure of how a renovation may affect their assessed value should communicate with government officials before taking on a major project.

Generally, increasing the living space (square footage) of a home will raise a property’s value. Finishing a basement or an attic, for example, will also require a reassessment. Of course, adding additional bedrooms or bathrooms can almost guarantee a property value rise.

Kitchen renovations are very grey area, so checking in with local officials first will alleviate worries of reassesments. According to Realtor Magazine, even adding things like garden sheds or regrading lots for drainage issues can affect a property’s value.

Renovations can often be the best way to improve a property’s listing price. With a higher listing price, comes a higher overall home value, increasing property taxes. Homeowners should make sure that the renovation, as well as future costs, are properly budgeted to avoid having to squeeze by financially.

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/11/30/some-home-renovations-can-raise-tax-bills

 

 

US Housing Market’s Third Quarter Best in Nearly a Decade

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Existing home sales rose by 3.4% in the 3rd quarter of 2015 and has been one of the best quarters for the housing market in nearly a decade. The quarter has lead to a new annual rate of 5.48 million sales in 2015. Existing home sales increased by 8.4% compared to 2014.

In the United States overall, the single family median home price hit $229,000, up 5.5% from the third quarter of 2014. While home prices and sales continue to climb, their growth rates have slowed to a much healthier pace, providing a bit more depth and consistency to the US housing market.

Median prices rose in 87% of US markets and only 24 of these areas reported prices lower than in 2014.

In the West, existing home sales increased by 3.9% and are 9.7% higher than a year ago.

Issues still remain with lack of home inventory, which have pushed prices up and eliminated some first time home buyers from feasibly buying a home. But generally, more buyers are now able to buy a home than before.

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/11/13/housing-has-best-quarter-in-nearly-decade

 

Federal Reserve Raises Short Term Interest Rate

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

By unanimous vote, the Federal Reserve agreed to raise the federal fund rate (aka short-term interest rate) showing their confidence in an improving United States Economy. The Fed will raise their rates from near zero to 0.25 to 0.5 percent, a decision that had been expected to come at several different points in 2015. The Fed will shift between 0.25 and 0.5 based on market conditions. They are also willing to adjust their strategy based on how the economy performs in response to the move.

The Fed has kept rates at near zero since 2008. During the recession, the Fed did all they could to entice borrowers back into the fold. Now that the labor market and housing market have started performing well, the Fed has decided that now is the time to get rates up again. So far, the market has performed well in response to the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising by 224.18 points.

The Fed pointed to strong dollar values and a rebounding labor market as the major factors that convinced them to raise rates. As the dollar value has risen, emerging market companies that borrowed heavily during low rate periods will now have to pay more to payoff the debt.

But how will the rates affect the housing market?

With a rise in interest rates, each subsequent lender will need to raise their rates as well to keep their business profitable. It is fully expected that mortgage rates will increase over 2016. Mortgage rates have been at historically low levels during the recession. Buyer confidence has improved over 2015, allowing the Fed to raise rates without losing all their borrowers.

Although mortgage rates will in all likelihood increase, according to the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun,  the small uptick should not have a major affect on borrowers. However, other experts believe this is the first of several upticks, in which case mortgage rates may rise at several points over 2016.


Currently the 30 year fixed rate mortgage sits at 3.93 percent. In the short term, the housing market might actually have a small surge, as fence sitting buyers take the plunge with rising mortgage rates on the horizon.

 

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/12/17/what-fed-s-decision-means-for-housing

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-raises-rates-after-seven-years-at-zero-expects-gradual-tightening-path-1450292616

 

 

Bozeman Parks Exceeding 2012 Funding

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In order to address Bozeman’s fast paced growth, the city has been hard at work to continue adding and enhancing the recreational parks in the area. Most of the funding has come from a 15 million dollar bond that passed in 2012. Unfortunately, as more visitors have taken up permanent residency in Bozeman, it appears that funding will fall short for the 6 major projects on Bozeman’s agenda.

The projects include the Bozeman Sports Athletic Complex, the Front Street Connector Trail, the Pass to the M, the Bozeman Pond Park expansion, the Bozeman creek work at Bogert park and the Story Mill Community Park Project.

Most of these projects are in the early design stages, but in order to have useful facilities for a growing populace, the city has already started work towards gaining additional funding through bonds, grants and donations.

A majority of Bozeman’s real estate activity since the recession has taken place from 2012 and on. Bozeman may ask for another bond to help address the growth and properly fund these projects, based on a more accurate city population.

The Story Mill Park project received 5 million dollars in bonds, but will probably end up costing closer to $10 million while the Sports Complex received 7 million in funding, but will probably tally closer to $20 million. Story Mill Park did recently receive a $75,000 dollar grant from local banks in the area recently.

Bozeman residents have been very good about passing new bonds, something they have been recognized for by community ranking organizations. However, if future bonds do not pass, the city will work on creating partnerships with outside organizations to help fund the projects.

 

Source:  http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-Parks-and-Rec-projects-exceeding-initial-costs/36266770

 

 

Bozeman Commission Passes Inclusionary Zoning Plan

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

After nearly a year of discussion and research from residents, consultants and builders alike, and after a voted delay in September, the Bozeman City Commission decided to move forward with a two-stage plan to help lower home values in Bozeman.  The plan, ideally, will help Bozemanites with modest means better afford to buy homes within the city limits.

Although the areas surrounding Bozeman have more reasonable home and rent values and although Bozeman’s cost of living is not outrageously above national averages, the city made it clear, by their decision, that they want Bozeman itself to remain a diverse and affordable place to live. Opponents to the plan did not want to hamper down a recently recovered housing market. Builders, who require on average 22 subcontractors to build a home, also felt the plan put too much financial risk on their shoulders.

The proposal has two phases to try to get builders and developers to start building affordable homes—one voluntary and one mandatory. The mandatory phase would only come into use should the voluntary phase not produce 54 affordable homes within the next two years.  Only the mandatory phase includes plans for inclusionary zoning – the most controversial aspect of the new ordinance.

The voluntary phase, as mentioned, requires that at least 54 affordable homes be built in 2 years within Bozeman city limits. During the voluntary phase, the city would try to entice builders to add affordable homes into their existing plans by including incentives like reduced lot size requirements, relaxed parking standards, expedited plan review and impact fee subsidies, incentives the city already may have added anyways. The voluntary phase also requires that at least 14 affordable homes are built by September 2016, otherwise, it would revert to the mandatory phase after only one year.

If the voluntary phase fails, then the city would move to a mandatory inclusionary zoning ordinance. In this phase, subdivisions would be required to either make 1 out of ever 10 units affordable to Bozeman residents making 80% of Bozeman’s median income or to make 3 out of every 10 affordable to residents making the median income.

Please read Eric Dietrich’s great follow up article going into the nitty gritty details of the new zoning ordinance here.

The new plan should help lower home values in Bozeman, helping free up more buyers in Bozeman’s housing market. How it will affect sellers and builders is yet to be determined. Rental values might also be impacted. High rents have been keeping investment properties in Bozeman at very high values. With additional homes on the market, both rental values and investment property values may decrease, helping keep renters in home while also helping them jump into homeownership.

 

Source: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-City-Commission-passes-inclusionary-housing-ordinance/36512554

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/blogs/city/questions-and-some-answers-about-bozeman-s-new-housing-plan/article_be2e9b16-b1e8-5ce7-8f34-982e270cd21e.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/split-city-commission-passes-housing-plan/article_7080761a-5287-59dc-a4fd-7f73a12e3f7e.html

 

 

Study Recommends Bozeman Montana Update Historic District Regulations

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

A study commissioned by the City of Bozeman in April has concluded that the city should reconsider the intensity of its regulations in its Conservation Overlay District. Downtown residents within the district, currently have to apply for a certificate of appropriateness before being allowed to make exterior modifications to any properties. The study concluded that although district regulations had helped preserve historic buildings in the area, it was also a major contributor to the lack of infill development in the city, keeping home inventory low and affecting home affordability in Bozeman.

According to the study, there are not any detached, single-family homes in the conservation district  that are affordable to residents making 80% or less of the city’s median income. The study believes that by allowing and welcoming infill development, Bozeman can keep its historic charm while helping lower home prices downtown.

The study noted that vacant lots are scarce in town and suggested Bozeman start offering incentives like smaller lots, ground accessory dwelling units (normally ADUs are above garages etc, but do provide rental income to the homeowner and another bedroom for a Bozemanite.

The study believed that by replacing the overarching district with a collection of districts would help provide more specific regulations to neighborhoods. With code relaxations, 35 properties within the district would be eligible for renovation, expansion and densification.

As the overlay district, in a sense, operates as the city’s Home Owner’s Association, the study’s findings are not surprising. Although the study still suggests keeping control in the hands of the city, essentially, each historic district would operate as regulator for the quality and consistency of specific neighborhoods, like an HOA would. That would allow the city to lower standards in one area, while maintaining them in another, helping them preserve historic homes while also increasing downtown density.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/study-recommends-re-tooling-bozeman-s-historic-preservation-regs/article_90cbb01d-5268-5f4e-bd6f-ba9211fd6f20.html

 

Gallatin County Housing Market Update - November 2015

by Tim Hart

This month, we will compare Condo and Townhome sales in the Gallatin County for the first three quarters of 2015. Here are a few stats for Gallatin County townhomes and condominiums:

  • From Quarter 1 to Quarter 2, total home sales increased by 77.50%(120 sold in Quarter 1, 213 sold in Quarter 2)
  • From Quarter 2 to Quarter 3, total home sales increased by 5.16% (213 sold in Quarter 2, 224 in Quarter 3)
  • From Quarter 1 to Quarter 3, total home sales increased by 86.67%

 

  • From Quarter 1 to Quarter 2, dollar volume increased by 65.66% ($33,245,180 in Quarter 1, $55,075,255 in Quarter 2)
  • From Quarter 2 to Quarter 3, dollar volume increased by 5.11% ($55,075,255 in Quarter 2, $57,889,875 in Quarter 3)
  • From Quarter 1 to Quarter 3, dollar volume is projected to increase by 74.13%

 

  • From Quarter 1 to Quarter 2, homes spent 18.46% longer time on the market (65 DOM in Quarter 1, 77 DOM in Quarter 2)
  • From Quarter 2 to Quarter 3, homes spent 23.38% shorter time on the market (77 DOM in Quarter 2, 59 DOM in Quarter 3)
  • From Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 homes spent 9.23% shorter time on the market.

 

Summary – Sales and dollar volume continue to grow for townhomes and condominiums. Increased home sales and dollar volume imply more homes on the market at higher prices. They have been going quicker as the year has progressed, suggesting more buyers are jumping into the market. Overall, the market appears to be deepening as more homes are listed and more buyers start their search.

New Bozeman Neighborhood: The Lakes at Valley West

by Tim Hart

The final plat of Valley West Subdivision’s final phase was approved on October 5th, allowing development to begin on Bozeman’s west side. The Lakes at Valley West, as the final phase is called, has been under formal review for the past year. Now with approval, it will bring approximately 60 homes and 2 lakes to the already thriving subdivision.

Valley West has been one of the fastest growing and most active subdivisions in Bozeman. The final phase will help provide amenities to the current neighborhood while also increasing home inventory in the Bozeman area.

Bozeman, like the United States overall, has dealt with rising values and a very competitive rental market. Across the nation, builders have been trying to increase home inventory to help alleviate rising home values. With both rental values reaching an all time high as well as rental vacancies reaching an all time low, increasing the number of homes available should help increase competition.

Bozeman has approved additional neighborhoods, apartment complexes and multi-use properties to try to increase local inventory. Bozeman has also looked into trimming lot sizes to make the home building process more affordable. Currently, commissioners have put an inclusionary zoning proposal on hold as well.

 

Source: http://www.ktvq.com/story/30282335/growth-spurt-on-west-side-of-bozeman

 

Property Taxes Rising Suggests an Improved Economy

by Tim Hart

Property tax collections increased by 3 percent over the past year. Collections increased by 13 billion dollars to a total of 503 billion collected. The figures include both commercial and residential property taxes.

Property taxes might be rising thanks to improving home values. State and local governments might be re-appraising homes to raise their listed value. Whether it has happened enough in different towns and states to affect the national average is unclear.

Interestingly, property taxes have taken up a smaller percentage of total tax collections than in recession years. In 2010, property taxes held 44.9% of the total share whereas now they hold 38.9% of the total. According to the National Association of Home Builders, that proportion is very close to the pre-housing boom levels seen in 2001 to 2003.

This trend would suggest that non property taxes have grown significantly faster over this time than property-based taxes, meaning that Americans are taking in more income and are generally having better economic success than in years previous. As everyone’s financial situation improves, it would make sense for the housing market to see similar results as it tries to creep back to a normal, healthy market.

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/09/25/property-taxes-are-rise

 

 

Fed Keeps Rates Near Zero, Mortgage Rates Fall

by Tim Hart

In light of the Federal Reserve’s decision to not raise the Federal funds rate, mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.86 percent this week.

The Federal Reserve continued to hold off on raising their interest rates, choosing to keep rates close to zero percent. The Fed attributed their lack of action to the lack of global growth that could potentially slow the domestic economy as well as the fact that inflation in the US remains subdued. The Fed committee also wanted to see additional evidence from the labor market to make sure it has and continues to improve.

The Fed made their decision 9-1 but they will meet again in late October and mid December. During those meetings, the Fed will once again decide on whether to raise rates. The Fed still plans on raising interest rates by the end of the year, but they have also said this for several previous years.

Currently, the Federal Reserve’s long-term goal is to have rates at or close to 3.5% by 2018.

Home buyers looking for a home loan will love the news that the Federal Reserve has not raised their rates as of yet. Mortgage rates are directly affected by the Federal Reserve rates and rise accordingly. Rates have stayed below 4% for 9 straight weeks. So long as the Fed does not raise rates, great financing opportunities still exist for buyers that might not be seen for some time. Having the Fed raise rates shows their confidence in overall economy, but from an individual buyer’s perspective, now is the time to lock in a great rate for the next 15 or 30 years.

 

Sources: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/federal-reserve-opts-to-keep-interest-rates-near-zero/

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/09/25/mortgage-rates-in-free-fall-after-feds-vote

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 170

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