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Why Baby Boomers and Millennials Are Competing for Housing

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

For years, many parents put their family homes up for sale once the kids grew up and moved out— this is known as the “empty nest” story, where many parents wanted to downsize as they grew older and neared retirement. This isn’t the case anymore— many Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) haven’t been able to find a smaller home that was cheaper than the large family home, so instead they’re opting to stay put and not sell. With so many Boomers choosing not to list their homes for sale, overall inventory has remained tight and prices have stayed high.

Why is this?

In a recent survey conducted by Realtor.com, 85% of Baby Boomers said they were not planning on selling their homes in the next year. When asked why, 72% said that their current home met their family’s needs, 13% said financial concerns prevented them from selling, and 12% said they needed to make home improvements before selling. Baby Boomers hold a very high stake in the housing market, as they currently make up 78% of ALL homeowners, while Millennials only make up 41%.

As Baby Boomers decide to stay put, this removes about 33 million properties from the housing market. Many of these homes are suburban single-family homes or urban condos— the same types of homes that Millennials are looking to buy. However, many of these older homes do not have the same modern, open-floor plan that both Millennials and Baby Boomers alike are attracted to, making it difficult for Baby Boomers to sell their homes. Both generations are competing for the same types of homes (1,800-1,950 sq. ft.), even though they have different lifestyles.

Many low-end homes that Millennials would consider purchasing in a more balanced market are being rented rather than being available for sale, due to competition being so high. The idea of purchasing a starter home and reselling it several years down the right road when they’re ready to settle down and start a family is no longer a viable option for them, due to lack of inventory and affordability in today’s market. As a result, many Millennials are now skipping traditional starter homes, and choosing to buy something larger right off the bat.

The Future

Many analysts believe that more housing in the future should be built to cater to the desires of Millennials (greener materials, less square footage, etc.) rather than the older generations. Others believe that Baby Boomers will eventually sell their homes as they hope to get a better price later rather than settling for a lower price now. If and when “the great senior sell-off” happens, it isn’t likely until the mid-to-late 2020s, as the oldest millennials approach their mid-40s and are more interested in the larger homes that the preceding generation is ready to let go of.

A New Solution: Bozeman’s First Affordable Housing Director

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman’s Affordable Housing Action Plan pinpointed several major strategies to implement over a 5-year timespan (2012-2016). Its purpose was to work on providing more affordable housing units and down payment assistance for both renters and homeowners alike. While this plan outlined several goals that were partially met by the end of 2016, affordable housing in Bozeman is still a significant issue that needs continued attention and work in the future.

In 2010, 28% of homeowners and 49% of renters in Bozeman were living in unaffordable housing, when using the widely accepted benchmark amount of <33% of total income for homeowners and <30% of total income for renters. It’s important to note, however, that there is no universal home price or rent benchmark that defines “affordable”— this varies by income level and should be based on ability to pay.

 By 2015, at least 4,000 of the city’s 8,400 renters were paying rents at or above the 30% threshold, while a third of homeowners were paying at least that much, if not more.

Is Something Being Done to Help?

With these statistics not having improved much in recent years, the City of Bozeman has decided to hire its first affordable housing director. The person who will fill this new position (expected to begin by the end of January) will be responsible for generating solutions to help reduce the gap between the cost of housing and how much many Bozeman residents can afford to pay.

Six months ago, Bozeman planning adopted a new rule that mandated that builders and developers would have to either sell 3 in 10 homes in new developments at $260,000 or less, OR 1 in 10 homes at $215,000 or less, subject to change based number of bedrooms per unit. The city has been trying to keep up with this rule, which is where the need for an affordable housing director stems from.

Additionally, the new director will help to track housing projects from the time a building permit is issued to the time that someone closes on their home, in order to ensure that this 6-month-old rule is followed from start to end.

As 2018 unfolds, it will be interesting to see how this new position begins to change the affordable housing market and what impacts it will have on many of Bozeman’s renters and homeowners who are currently above the income threshold for housing. 

Affordable Housing Development for Livingston in the Works

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

With 13.2% of Livingston’s total population (last estimated in 2016 at 7,401) in poverty, the addition of an affordable housing development would greatly benefit citizens who are currently working and earning lower wages.

How is This Problem Being Addressed?

Over the next 10 years, the Montana Board of Housing has assigned $27 million in credits to help fund affordable housing projects not only in Livingston, but in Billings, Butte, Kalispell and Lewistown as well. Homeword, Inc., a Missoula-based, non-profit affordable housing developer, has been awarded $5.8 million in tax credits to transform the old Livingston Memorial Hospital building into 34 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The new apartment complex, Bluebunch Flats, is named after Montana’s official state grass, Bluebunch Wheatgrass. In keeping with Homeword’s mission of sustainability, hospital rooms in the existing Memorial Hospital building will be renovated and converted into individual apartments.

Units will available to residents who make between 40% and 60% of the area median income. As of last year, median household income for Livingston was $40,358, while per capital income was just shy of $27,000. Although rent prices are not yet set in stone, they will likely range from $425 for a studio to $800 for a two-bedroom. Construction is set to begin in the summer of 2018, with a projected completion date of mid-2019.

Other Affordable Housing Projects Around Montana:

  • Billings: Heights Senior Apartments— 38-unit project for senior citizens
  • Butte: Copper Ridge Apartments— 32-unit project for families
  • Kalispell: Courtyard Apartments— 32-unit acquisition rehabilitation project for families
  • Lewistown: Meadows Senior Apartments— 35-unit acquisition rehabilitation project for senior citizens

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Housing Market Trends Amongst Generation Y

Home Prices and Growth: What's Going On?

Belgrade Expands and Prepares for Future Growth

Housing Market Trends Amongst Generation Y

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Inventory of homes for sale is tight and as a result, months of supply is low. With so many homes not remaining on the market for long, sellers have the advantage over buyers in that they have a much higher chance of obtaining top dollar for their home.  While this information isn’t new, you may be surprised to learn that generational trends play a huge role in today’s housing market, particularly amongst the buyer population. 

Who’s Buying the Most?

Different generations have different home buying tendencies and patterns. In 2016, Millennials/Generation Y (ages 36 and younger) represented 35% of all homebuyers across all other generations. This year, that number is down to 34%— still the largest share of home buyers. Of these buyers, 66% were also first-time home buyers. Generation X (ages 37-51) represented 28%, Younger Baby Boomers (ages 52-61) represented 16%, Older Baby Boomers (ages 62-70) represented 14%, and the Silent Generation (71-91) represented 8%.

 

Of all Gen Y buyers, 46% had a median student loan balance of $25,000, and 23% agreed that saving for a down payment was the most difficult step in the home buying process. It makes sense that this loan balance would decrease over time as the buyer ages, due to increases in income— however, 27% of buyers between the ages of 37 and 51 had the highest median loan balance of $30,000. This is likely due to accumulation of their children’s college loans on top of their own remaining balances.

Why Is Gen Y Dominating the Buyer’s Market?

Despite low inventory, rising house prices, and student loan debt, why does Gen Y represent the largest share of home buyers? For starters, rent prices are on the rise too— when taking into consideration that monthly rent payments can increase over time and mortgage payments are fixed, many Gen Yers are leaning towards home ownership. Many are also choosing a mortgage over renting because of their dogs— 33% of Gen Y home buyers stated their primary reason for purchasing a home was to have a yard and plenty of room for their dog, while 25% stated it was because of marriage and 19% stated that it was the birth of a child. Simply put, the desire to own a home of their own, the desire for a larger home, and a change in their family situation were the top 3 reasons amongst all Gen Yers for purchasing a home.

Looking Towards 2018

Although student debt and rising house prices may present a challenge for some, many Gen Yers are putting these factors aside and continuing to contribute to the housing market in a pretty significant way. As the days remaining before 2018 starts are limited, here’s what the Professional Warranty Service Corporation predicts for generational home trends for the new year: Gen Yers will represent 45% of all home loans while Baby Boomers represent 30%, and overall home sales will increase by 8%, or about 670,000 units. So far, it looks like Gen Y is on track to dominate the market for another year! 


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Red Flags in the Real Estate Market

 

Home Prices and Growth: What’s Going On?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

What Does Growth Look Like Around the U.S.?

It comes as no surprise to many of us that owning a home can be an expensive venture. Factor in HOA fees, interior appliances/materials, miscellaneous maintenance costs and everything in between, and it’s easy to see why being a homeowner can appear to be daunting to some.

Although home prices grew 5.6% last year, this is only determined when comparing dollars to dollars. If this statistic is adjusted for inflation, this increase is still actually 15% below the high that occurred in 2006. Of the country’s 100 largest metro areas, only 41 grew to new peaks, even though 97 of these 100 metro areas did see overall home price growth. Overall, housing markets on both the West and East coasts have experienced inflation-adjusted home price increases of more than 40% in the last 16 years, while markets in the Midwest and South have generally experienced decreases.

However, growth has not been the same across all income levels. After Harvard researchers collected data for more than 9,000 ZIP codes across the country, most home prices in all income brackets were LOWER than their pre-2006 peaks. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Low-income areas: 13.7% lower
  • Moderate-income areas: 6.5% lower
  • High-income areas: 3.3% lower

Because of the post-recession change in home prices, many homeowners were able to emerge from underwater, a term indicating that the value of a home is below or under its mortgage amount. In 2011, the number of underwater homeowners topped out at 12.1 million; by the end of 2016, that number was down to 3.2 million.

                   

Source: PalmBeachPost.com

What About Growth in and Around Bozeman?

Bozeman remains one of the fastest growing small towns in the country, with a population growth rate of 4.6%. Home prices across the state currently exceed pre-2006 levels by 10%.

When comparing median sales prices between Bozeman, Belgrade and other Bozeman areas, home prices are still steadily on the rise in all 3 areas.

 

Median Sales Prices (2011-2017)

This data was pulled Big Sky Country MLS for 2017. While we attempt to provide reliable, useful information, we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, current or suitable for any particular purpose. Estimates are subject to change without notice.

 

Although median sales prices are continually rising, the good news is that the median sale price is often lower than the median original asking price: 

This data was pulled Big Sky Country MLS for 2017. While we attempt to provide reliable, useful information, we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, current or suitable for any particular purpose. Estimates are subject to change without notice.

 

As for the country as a whole, Freddie Mac predicts an overall home price increase of 4.9% in 2018. While that may seem like quite a jump, this prediction is still lower than the 6.3% growth we’ve seen so far this year.  Much like the prediction for 2017, 2018’s prediction also suggests continued economic growth of around 2%, steady job gains and relatively low mortgage rates. 


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The Annie and Oak Street Issues: Bozeman’s Second High School Faces New Challenges

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

While the overall design for Bozeman’s 2nd high school has been approved, the actual design drawings will be completed sometime this month, at which time the School Board will take its final vote on the design. Previously, we had learned that the design was modern and sleek, with elements of brickwork, black metal cladding and an all-glass entryway incorporated into the plans. Only small modifications to this design have been made by Building Committee members, which include using traditional red brickwork rather than the originally proposed grey, and using white instead of purple for the triangle outside the main entry.

The Annie Street Issue

City staff members are in favor of the school district building Annie Street east-west, which would cut through the middle of the property where the high school will be constructed. This expense is estimated at $800,000, and would require students to cross a city street in order to reach the playing fields. While the school conducted a traffic study and found that Annie isn’t a heavily used street, the city feels as though building this street is needed for the transportation system.

The Oak Street Issue

While the school had discussed using a portion of the budget to build a soccer field and parking lot on the north side of Oak (across the street from the new school), designers have other plans— building a pedestrian tunnel under Oak Street AND constructing an overpass over the tunnel.

The land north of Oak is city-owned, which means that the plans for a field and parking lot would be a collaborative project with the city’s plans to develop a sports complex. Creating both a tunnel and overpass, while great for ensuring pedestrian safety, present the challenge of meeting the budget.

The goal budget is between $76 million and $78 million, the current design is around $87 million, and once site work, streets and the possible tunnel are factored in, the entire project will cost $93 million.

Future Location of Second High School/Sports Complex

Only Time Will Tell

The Annie Street issue will be discussed as soon as next week, although we aren’t sure when we’ll find out whether the tunnel and overpass project will move forward. Revisiting the budget and cutting costs will likely need to happen before any major decisions are made. Sometime after the new year, however, we can expect to find out more about the new school’s colors, logo and mascot.


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Design Plans for Bozeman's 2nd High School in the Works

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Long-Debated Black-Olive Project Gets Approved by City Commissioners

Long-Debated Black-Olive Project Gets Approved By City Commissioners

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In September of 2016, the Black-Olive project was first presented to Bozeman City Commissioners as a 5-story building that would feature 56 apartments, as well as commercial business space on the ground floor and 37 on-site parking spaces. Many neighboring residents spoke out at both public meetings and on Facebook’s “Save Bozeman” page to express their concerns that the contemporary building would ruin Bozeman’s small-town charm and negatively impact street parking.

On April 11th of this year, this proposal was denied with a 4-1 vote, although it was stated that developer Andy Holloran intended to modify the design and resubmit his proposal for later review. Fast forward to last week— the Black-Olive development was APPROVED after more than a year of discussions, meetings and revised design plans, ironically with a 4-1 vote. The project will include demolition of the two-story building currently located at 202 S. Black Ave.

What Else?

The new design has been modified to feature 66 bedrooms within 47 apartments, while providing 40 parking spaces for those residents.  Although some commissioners and citizens were still against the project, stating that the building was too big and that parking constraints were already an issue, others disagreed. Commissioners I-Ho Pomeroy and Jeff Krauss support the idea of creating more housing opportunities downtown, which would include growth upward instead of outward.

What Now?

Although the project has been approved, Holloran will be required to make minor changes to the building’s top floor to scale back its elevation. After finishing the design to accommodate this amendment and obtaining both a building and demolition permit, Holloran expects to break ground sometime this spring. 

Future Location of Black-Olive Project

New Local Businesses Contribute to Bozeman’s Rapid Growth

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman continues to grow, and we aren’t just talking about its population and endless road expansions all over town— new local businesses have been popping up all over town; Evergreen Clothing, Ekam Yoga, Stuffed Crepes and Waffles and Backcountry Burger Bar are just a few of the new businesses that have opened this year. But 2017 isn’t over yet— a new candy shop, new brewery and new diner are either slated to open their doors by year’s end, or have recently done so.

For Those With a Sweet Tooth…

Owner Kimberlee Greenough started Hush Salon in 2011 and has worked as a personal trainer for years, and is now pursuing a lifelong dream of owning her own candy shop. Set to open at the end of October, The Candy Jar will feature more than 500 types of chocolates, gummy candies and other classic candies, as well as a soda fountain and ice cream bar with Wilcoxsin’s and Montana-made syrups. The Candy Jar will be located near Wasabi on West Oak, and an open house on Halloween is currently in the works.

For Those Who Like Locally Crafted Beers…

If candy isn’t your thing, and craft beers are, you’re in luck. Mountains Walking Brewery and Pub opened in late September. Owner Gustav Dose grew up in both Taiwan and Japan, and has studied brewing around the world. His goal with this brewery was to make beers that can’t be made anywhere but Bozeman, taking into account factors such as our climate, altitude and native yeasts. The tap list changes daily, and will still feature familiar favorites in addition to rare finds. Mountains Walking is located on Plum Street on the east end of town.

For Those Who Appreciate Locally Grown Foods…

Opened in September by husband and wife duo Charley Graham and Lauren Reich, Little Star Diner has a menu that changes frequently, as most of the restaurant’s produce is grown by Reich. Depending on the time of year, and with Montana’s short growing season, you may find yourself faced with new menu options based on what’s available at that time. Reich has been growing produce for restaurants since 2009 and Graham was most recently a chef at Blackbird Kitchen. The couple is confident that by combining their culinary experience with the farm-to-table concept, Little Star Diner will soon become a local favorite in town. 

 

New Local Businesses in Bozeman​

Big Sky Town Center: Expansion & Affordable Housing Update

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In July, Big Sky developers and CrossHarbor Capital Partners (the investment firm involved in Big Sky’s development) announced the opening of a handful of new businesses, as well as the groundbreaking of the first chain hotel in the area. The Wilson Hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn, is being constructed to the east of the newly built Town Center and will feature 129 rooms, a full-service restaurant and a fitness center/pool area.

Fast forward a few months to today— Lone Mountain Land Company (LMLC) has announced construction on another new building in the Town Center—the Plaza Lofts development. It will house five new businesses, including a sushi restaurant, wine bar and a boutique shop, as well as 22 apartments with one-bedroom, two-bedroom and 4-bedroom floorplans. The completion date for this project is set at the start of the 2018 ski season, around the same time as the above-mentioned hotel.

Artist's Rendition of the Plaza Lofts development

Source: Bechtle Architects & Jim Collins

Is Affordable Housing Still an Issue?

Currently, the affordable units that are being planned for future construction are capped at $215,000 for a two-bedroom and $270,000 for a three-bedroom. Future owners will also be required to meet certain criteria, including a cap on income and proof that the unit will be their primary place of residence.

A Speedbump in the Road

In June, the group leading the effort to develop more affordable housing in the area (Big Sky Community Housing Trust) withdrew its application for $1 million in resort tax appropriations. Earlier this year in March, the Gallatin County Commission rejected the group’s plat proposal because certain variances made the project unsafe. Other affordable housing proposals that included raising the resort tax (currently at 3%) were also turned down at the Montana Legislature.

The group will be returning to the County Commission sometime this month for a revised plat hearing, and director Brian Guyer stresses to the Big Sky community that affordable housing is still a top priority, and the application withdrawal is just a speedbump in the road.

Despite overall frustrations and concerns regarding the affordable housing issue, directors and developers alike are excited about the continual growth in Big Sky. With more visitors coming to the area with every passing year, the need to continually build and expand the community to accommodate both newcomers and current residents is at the forefront of city leaders’ minds. 

Design Plans for Bozeman’s 2nd High School in the Works

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

We already know that Bozeman is quickly growing, and it comes as no surprise to anyone in the area that the high school is becoming overcrowded— just last year nearly 2,000 students were enrolled. With a capacity of 2,400 and a predicted enrollment of 2,700 by 2023, it only makes sense that plans for a 2nd high school are currently underway.

Back in February of 2016, several different scenarios for how to solve this problem were presented, a few of which included ideas for staying on Main Street by expanding the current building. However, it has been decided that the best course of action is to construct a 2nd high school, currently planned to be built on a 57-acre plot bordered by Durston & Cottonwood roads, Flanders Mill and West Oak Street.

What Else?

The latest cost estimate for this project is around $83 million, though it is expected to shrink since it is still in the design phase. The entire budget for the school is targeted at $94 million, with more than $10 million going toward equipment, fixtures and furniture. Some of these costs will also be used to renovate the existing high school to keep up with its rapid growth. CTA Architects Engineers, the firm working on developing the new school, will present its final design plan to the Bozeman School Board this December.

The design that was shown last week is modern and sleek, with some brickwork on the three-story classroom building to channel historic Main Street. Extensive black metal cladding, a wedge-shaped roof, all-glass entry and a two-story, stair-like tiered seating structure are all also currently included in the design plans, though these features are subject to change.

Current Design For 2nd High School

Source: CTA Architects Engineers

It’s Green, Too?

The school will also be constructed to environmental standards specifically tailored to schools instead of LEED building standards, which is the most widely used green building system in the world. Though using CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools standard) will run about $10,000 less than LEED, the school chose these standards because it has many of the same features and is more geared toward K-12 schools.

The design report  that was approved by the school board earlier this month contains a CHPS checklist (pages 25 and 118), which demonstrates how the new school will aim to earn 125 environmental points. Many of these points will be earned for its energy efficiency, acoustics, water use regulation and heating system, in addition to sharing the building with other community groups after school.

Pros and Cons

Though we aren’t sure yet when construction will begin, the new school would create more opportunities for students to join sports teams and enroll in special classes like AP and foreign languages.  On the other hand, additional costs for building upkeep, hiring staff and another principal, and funding for double the number of sports teams is generating concerns from both parents and the School Board. Though there are still many details to be worked out over the coming years, one thing is for certain— Bozeman is still rapidly growing, and addressing the soon-to-be overcrowded high school now rather than down the road seems to be the best course of action.


Related Articles: 

Belgrade Expands and Prepares For Future Growth

Bozeman Continues to Grow With New Proposed Airport Expansion

Bozeman Ranks Second as the Fastest Growing Small Town in America

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