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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Announce 3% Down Payment Loan

by Tim Hart

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced its attempt to better increase mortgage credit availability to US borrowers in October. Now, with the recent announcement of a 3% Down Payment loan by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it seems the FHFA’s efforts have paid off.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced new 97& loan-to-value mortgages that will be available to first time homeowners. The new loans help creditworthy borrowers without capital get a home loan. The loan should help buyers who want to own a home and can afford monthly payments but cannot pay for the down payment and closing costs.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t foresee the loan becoming a major part of their business. The loans target a very specific borrower in their eyes and the loan will be awarded with this specificity in mind. With that being said, the loan should appeal to a lot of millenials, who as of yet, have not been buying up real estate like previous generations. Many economists have predicted millenials becoming major players in the real estate world in the coming years and steps like the one taken by the FHFA to broaden credit requirements should help bring these buyers to the table.

For those first time homebuyers who wanted a home, but until now did not have enough capital to put down, now may be the time for them to re-engage their lender and see if a 3% down payment is a feasible alternative to a standard 30 year fixed rate mortgage..

Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/32269-fannie-and-freddie-officially-announce-3-down-payments

 

 

Big Sky to Lead State in Student Access to Technology

by Tim Hart

The Big Sky school district laid out a plan late November to put technology in the hands of every student in the area. Big Sky would become to first district in Montana to have their technology to student ratio be 1:1.

The district has crafted a three-part vision for how they will approach technology with their students. They want to improve education on information and media literacy, then the application of media and communicating with technology and one day, they hope to have a fully digital classroom.

Once the new program is up and running Kindregarten through 3rd grade classes will have 36 ipads for daily use. Grades 4 through 8 will get chromebooks and high school students will receive surface pro 3’s. Teachers hope to teach children about technology while also teaching them about safety in an ever-growing digital world.

Schools in the local area continue to put an emphasis on technology education. In an ever-changing world, staying at the forefronts of technology will be important to any child’s later success. Bozeman also purchased chrome books for its students this semester in an effort to provide the most opportunities available for its students.

Source: http://www.lonepeaklookout.com/news/article_65340c2c-74d3-11e4-999c-4304f1929d58.html

 

Employment and Salary Numbers Improve in November

by Tim Hart

Employment and salary numbers continued to improve in November—a good sign for other finance sectors including housing. The Bureau of Labor released a report that highlighted several positive trends.

Payroll employment expanded by 321,000 people in the month of November. That increase was far above the expected amount set in previous months. Monthly employment gains in 2014 had averaged around 233,000. Job gains in September and October also had to be revised, adding more than 44,000 people to their earlier figures.

The average workweek and average hourly pay rose for the US as a whole. The labor force expanded by 119,000 and the US’s current unemployment rate of 5.8% is considered to be at the high end of normal.

For a growing housing industry, wage concerns are often the most powerful retardant. Seeing positive news in the labor industry reflects well on the housing industry down the line. As more capital becomes available to more Americans, more homes can expect to be bought and sold, more often than not, at higher prices.

 

Source: http://eyeonhousing.org/2014/12/the-employment-situation-in-november-3-2-1-lift-off/

5 Story Building Approved on Mendenhall

by Tim Hart

City commissioners approved a new 5 story building to be built on Mendenhall, following a recent trend of approvals for larger commercial buildings in the downtown area. The building will replace the soon to be demolished Opportunity Bank site. The building will inclue three floors for commercial use and two additional floors, with 29 units, for residential use. An underground parking lot will also be added.

For Bozeman residential and commercial real estate, the building will help alleviate the high demand for downtown businesses and also provide additional space for potential homebuyers.

The new 5 story building will join two hotels that have been approved in the nearby area, the Element and the Etha. The City Commission has put a recent focus on fostering more growth in the downtown area. Both hotels will end up leasing parking spaces from this new building to meet their own needs, so the 5 story building may have already been pseudo-approved when the hotels were approved as well.

Building tear down will begin in March.

 

Sources: http://www.kbzk.com/news/bozeman-commissioners-approve-new-project-on-mendenhall/

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/bozeman-commissioners-set-to-vote-on-proposed-5story-building/30124888

 

 

 

New Livingston Hospital Coming October 2015

by Tim Hart

Fundraising efforts to help build a brand new hospital in Livingston has officially past the half-way mark, keeping construction plans on schedule for an October 2015 opening. The fundraising campaign, led by the Livingston HealthCare foundation, hopes to raise 10 million dollars to help pay construction costs on the new 125,000 square foot hospital. Livingston HealthCare hopes they can raise the targeted $10 million by that time.

The total cost of the new, two-story hospital will cost around 43.5 million dollars. The cost may have been more, had the land its being built on not been donated. The Livingston Hospital has secured 36 million from a low interest loan financed by the Department of Agriculture and can help complement their funds with $500,000 in funding from hospital reserves. However, the last 10 million, as mentioned, will need to be fundraised from anyone willing to help an important cause.

The fundraising campaign seeks 7 million to cover the remaining costs for building and equipping the hospital, along with 3 million extra to cover unforeseen costs. As of now, more than 5 million has been pledged.

Currently, construction is ongoing, on budget and on schedule for an October 2015 opening.

A new hospital in Livingston would bring a lot of benefits to current and future residents in the area. For those looking at homes for sale in Paradise Valley and the surrounding Livingston area, having larger, better hospitals to treat patients can help alleviate the worry of potential emergencies. Now, the twenty minute drive to Bozeman Deaconess may not be necessary for bigger health issues. Experts from Billings and Bozeman can also visit easier with the additional space.

In addition to the obvious benefits of a new hospital for Livingston homeowners, Livingston HealthCare is currently Park County’s largest employer. Improving the local facilities will only continue to attract the best and brightest to the area, while keeping those already working there, more than satisfied.

(Click Here to read about Bozeman's recent additions to their hospital)

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/health/livingston-hospital-fundraising-past-halfway-mark/article_174b2c4e-7d92-11e4-875d-535be4e05c05.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_937344&utm_campaign=blox

 

Three new conservation easements have been approved by the Gallatin County Commission to better preserve the rivers in the valley. (What are conservation easements? Click here to read more) The three properties that were granted easements will all end up protecting different sections of either the Gallatin or Madison river.

As more people move to the Gallatin Valley and as more open spaces are filled, oftentimes agricultural land will be lost. Conservation easements help protect the open spaces from sub-development in the future.

One easement for a 185 acre farm along the Gallatin River will now help protect the river for its wild and human visitors. Conservation easements represent a very modern dilemma between economic prosperity and environmental and agricultural conservation. On this particular 185 acre farm, if, in the future, the owner decides to sell the property, it will be worth around $665,000 dollars less than without the easement. But the easement protects the land from subdivision for all subsequent owners, hence the dilemma.

Another easement was granted on the Madison River for a 188 acre property. More than half of the property is floodplain so its very useful to a high number of bird species.

Finally, an 86 acre property along the East Gallatin River will receive a conservation easement. The commission did not have to approve a grant for the easement, because the owner was able to  absorb the lost monetary value of the easement, and take a one time tax credit on the loss.

It is nice to see the Gallatin County, and the landowners living in it, have a concern for future development and growth of the area. So long as city and county leaders think ahead and continue to provide easements for important areas in the valley, they should be able to maintain a balance between the area’s growth and maintaining what makes Montana truly special.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/three-new-conservation-easements-protect-gallatin-valley-rivers/article_bc90a6dc-7b4b-11e4-893b-9b7678092d08.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_801085&utm_campaign=blox

Bozeman School District Approves Public Preschool Program

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman Public School District has introduced a test run, public preschool program at Whittier Elementary School. The first semester will begin on January 26th this year. The district’s goal is to improve the performance gap between children in Kindergarten who had access to preschools compared to those who did not. Oftentimes, students come into Kindergarten with no learning experience.

The program will cost around $50,000 to 60,000 dollars for a class of 20 students, with the majority of those funds paying for a teacher and an aide. The funding for the pilot semester will be taken care of by Federal Title 1 funds that Whittier receives due to their percentage of low-income families. Funding for additional years has yet to be secured.

Space and money may be the biggest issue moving forward, but a public preschool program is a great step towards helping give all Bozeman children every opportunity to achieve their highest potential. Bozeman public schools continue to do right by their students and parents, focusing on continual improvement to a system that has already received multiple national honors this year. For families looking at homes for sale in a variety of places, the continued forethought of Bozeman educators helps Bozeman stand out as an ideal family town.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/news/new-preschool-program-to-roll-out-in-bozeman-school/

December Gallatin County Market Update

by Tim Hart

This month, we will highlight townhome and condo Quarter 3 sales in the Gallatin County. Here are a few stats for all of Gallatin County condos and townhomes:

  • Unit sales remained true in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014. (208 sold in 2013, 208 sold in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014 by 18.2% ($44,963,205 in 2013, $53,127,269 in 2014)
  • Average sales price also rose in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014 by 18.2% ($216,169 in 2013, $255,420 in 2014)
  • Sales for all townhomes and condos in 2014 through 10/31/2014
    • Sold volume at $158,723,701 and 592 units

Summary – Gallatin County and the Bozeman area saw a definitive rise in townhome and condo prices over the last calendar year.  The Gallatin Valley appears to be growing at a healthy pace.

 

Tim's Know Your Homes 101 - Colonial

by Tim Hart

 

Colonial Architecture became very popular in the Americas in the early 1700’s. Very old historic buildings often carry the colonial style. Harvard and Brown both have many of these buildings on their campus.

For residential homes, the most distinct and most famous colonial is the Georgian style. Georgian colonials stand out for their square symmetrical shape with matching windows. Georgian colonials’ windows tend to be equally spaced with 9 or 12 panes within each window. Most Georgian homes have 5 windows across the top row and 2 windows and the door on the bottom row. The door, in general, tends to be paneled with a decorative trim above it, and also has paned glass. Many colonials have double chimneys but most colonials in the United States will be much less stately than those found in Britain.

New-Home Buyers Walk and Bike More Than the Rest

by Tim Hart

Today I stumbled upon an article with a really out there fact that I felt like I had to share. Apparently, residents of newly built homes are more likely to bike or walk as a form of transportation than homeowners of previously owned homes. According to the article 44% of residents in newly constructed homes either bike or walk compared to 40% for houses in general.

In general, new-home buyers are more likely to walk than bike, if they were to  choose one exclusively. A quarter of those surveyed walk but don’t bike while fewer than 4% said they bike and don’t walk.

Is there any correlation that can be attributed to this strange phenomenon? As I read, I came to nearly the same conclusions as the article. Its not really about the people moving into new homes, rather than the amenities generally provided in newer neighborhoods. Sixty one percent of new homes reported that their neighborhood has sidewalks, whereas only 55.7% of all houses say they have one. New homes are more likely to be built in new neighborhoods, where builders are planning ahead by building walkways and bikelanes. New homes are also more likely to have well-lit streets to make walkers and bikers safer from both traffic and crime.

I really enjoy little facts like these ones because although new homes and walking don’t seem to relate at first, a little deeper digging suggests they might. Just remember, when out purchasing real estate, to consider some of the small details that may make a big difference in your lifestyle down the line.

Source: http://eyeonhousing.org/2014/12/walking-and-biking-more-common-in-new-homes/

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 195