Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 232

Gallatin Health Department Performs High Nationally

by Tim Hart

The Public Health Accreditation Board highlighted the Gallatin City-County Health Department as one of the highest performing health departments in the United States. The department serves the greater Bozeman and Gallatin Valley area and it was only one of 75 departments to receive the accreditation.

The Gallatin City-County Health department stood out for providing accessibility to medical services for its residents and for coordinating between departments and services. The department also ran seminars for local health providers, working to boost awareness for any social services available to the public and to non-profits.

Having a high-level Health Department helps make all medical services in Bozeman and the Gallatin County better, faster and more reliable. An accreditation such as this one come from many years of consistent, good work from the Health Department. Recently, both Bozeman and Livingston (Park County) have made major additions to their medical facilities. Coupled with the Gallatin County being honored by the University of Wisconsin as the healthiest county in the state, the Gallatin County is shaping up to be a very healthy home.



Pet Friendly Bozeman Adds New 20+ Acre Dog Park

by Tim Hart

The Gallatin County and Run Dog Run, a local non-profit, will be creating a new off-leash dog park that organizers are calling the best dog park in Montana. The new park will be in Gallatin Regional Park and will be 23 acres in total. The first phase, which is on track to be completed by September 2015, will be 13 acres in size.

According to those working on the project, the new park will be a thick slice of doggy heaven. The park will include ponds, docks for diving and playing fetch, berms, shaded areas and hills. The whole park will be fully fenced, allowing dog owners to take their dogs off leash without worry about nearby traffic etc.

With dog-related improvements throughout Bozeman over the past year, the city and county have really made a true effort to turn Bozeman into doggy paradise. Run Dog Run has helped start 4 off leash dog parks in Bozeman, including the recent 2-acre off-leash park at Rocky Creek Farm. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust also worked on improving and expanding Snowfill, the off-leash dog park north of town.

With the west side of Bozeman still experiencing rapid growth, all Bozeman dog owners as well as dog owners looking to move to Bozeman will be relieved and pleased to hear that the city has provided multiple places across town for dog owners to exercise their pets. Having a pet, for many, is a staple within any household. Having a town and neighborhood that are dog friendly can do a lot for a homebuyer choosing one city or neighborhood over another. For buyers and sellers alike, having solid park infrastructure with pet friendly areas can be a major asset when it comes time to list a property for sale.




After receiving awards for the highest ACT scores in the state and having some of the highest AP exam scores in the nation, Bozeman High School students book ended their school year with another award.

The students who run, create and design the high school student newspaper, Hawk Talk, won the Pacesetter award for best high school student newspaper in the state. In addition to the overall award, individual writers were also honored for their hard work. 8 other awards were presented to these high school journalists including 4 first place finishes in enterprise reporting, opinion, news and feature writing. Another student took 2nd place for a sports feature.

Bozeman students and administrators alike have been receiving a multitude of awards and grants this year—a great reward for their hard work. Bozeman Schools continue to see their enrollment increase and having a top high school in the district does a lot to attract new families to Bozeman. Montana State University and the primary and secondary schools in town continue to be one of the main attractors for out of town and state homebuyers.




Potential New Development off Manley Road?

by Tim Hart

Tonight, Bozeman City Commissioners will decide whether re-zoning a piece of land out in the Manley Road area for residential use is feasible and makes sense for the city moving forward. If they decide yes, the owner of the land will move forward developing the area.

The 6.5 acre piece of land in question has had some zoning confusion to say the least—a very boring sounding topic that somehow can end up quite fascinating. Currently, the city has that land designated for future use as parkland. However, the County has the land designated for light industrial use (pretty mutually exclusive from parkland). The best part, neither have actually incorporated the land at all. The city would need to annex the land to develop it and moving to a residential designation would allow them to do so.

The piece of land is surrounded on 3 sides by city limits and access to the nearby recreation area and pond is protected by a permanent easement.

Now, if the situation didn’t sound complicated enough, this very same piece of land used to be used as a dumpsite from 1962 to 1970. Coupled with the poor recent history with dumpsites, what may have been a hard decision for the City of Bozeman got a lot harder. Environmental concerns will be a major factor on whether the new development is approved.

For this specific scenario, we can only hope the city makes a decision that will bring the highest benefit to its residents in the long run and that recent concerns, whether its the dump or current home inventory, will not affect the decision, no matter which way they ultimately decide to go.

From a real estate perspective, this story is a great reminder why its so important to cross every i and dot every t when performing due diligence on any information surrounding a property. How is it zoned? Are there any easements? How was the land used in the past? Some pieces of land (and sometimes homes too!) have had long, deep histories where others may have little to none. With as much land as there is Montana, we get the best of both untouched land and land with deep history.  Make sure you are buying what you want and that you have a realtor who can make sure you are buying a good product.



After two years of construction, the new College of Business will open on Thursday for MSU students and the public alike. The building will help open up study space for a rising student population while improving the college’s and overall University’s reputation in business and entrepreneurship.

Jabs Hall, the name of the new building, cost 18.5 million to complete. It will be home for (on average) around 1,250 business majors for Fall 2015.

MSU has been hard at work to expand and improve campus. Bozeman and MSU have been attracting more young students than they ever have before. In order to keep up, MSU has been hard at work on expanding and improving the campus. MSU is currently working on the new Engineering building, which it plans to be the new campus hub. Due to the new building wiping out a major parking area, MSU has also had to line up a new parking garage in the coming future.

Jabs Hall stands out from most of the other buildings on campus for its environmental efficiency—a winner with students, environmentalists and tax payers alike! It is the 2nd building to win the LEED “gold” certification due to its green and earth friendly features. The building will maintain its heat from 52 geothermal wells  while cooling itself with night air. All of the lights are energy efficient and all the countertops in the building are made from recycled materials.

MSU continues to make efforts improving their reputation as a center for education in Montana. They have been hard at work improving their business, medical and engineering programs while expanding for the new students attracted by these changes. Things continue to look up for MSU and therefore Bozeman!




Gallatin County Market Update May 2015

by Tim Hart

This month, we will compare condo and townhome sales for Quarter 1 in the Gallatin County between 2014 and 2015. Here are a few stats for all Gallatin County condos and townhomes:

  • Unit Sales decreased in the first quarter by 1.7% (121 sold in 2014, 119 sold in 2015)
  • Dollar volume increased in the first quarter by 0.26% ($33,006,258 in 2014, $33,095,180 in 2015)
  • Median sale price decreased in the first quarter by 2.5% ($200,000 in 2014, $195,000 in 2015)

Summary – Condo and townhome sale numbers for Quarter 1 of 2015 compare very similarly to numbers seen in 2014. It should be noted that although almost all numbers are on par with 2014 numbers, the average days townhomes spent on the market were nearly half in 2015 (124 DOM in 2014, 65 DOM in 2015). Assuming the year follows a similar pattern as last year, we are on our way to a healthy year in real estate.

Vacation Home Sales Way Up in 2014

by Tim Hart

Vacation homes sales in 2014 were almost as hot as the beachfronts they sat on. Vacation home purchases rose 57% from 2013 to 2014—an astounding number and one that suggests buyer confidence continues to improve. For a place like the Gallatin Valley, with Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park so near, the vacation market can affect nearby home prices as well.

The 1.13 million home sales last year made up 21% of all home sales in the United States housing market. Vacation homes took their largest share of the market since 2003—but what has changed recently to make such a difference?

A lot of the improvement in sales can be attributed to the generally positive economic outlook that 2014 gave us—at least towards its end. Stock market performance and an improving labor market helped open up some spending money for a lot of homebuyers. Wages grew in both the US and Montana and both also have added new jobs over that year as well.

A typical second homebuyer in 2014 had a median income of $94,380. 58 percent of those buyers had their partner bringing similar income streams into the same family. 48% of vacation home buyers financed less than 70% of the total purchase price and 54% of the vacation homes bought were single-family homes.

Of course, many vacation homebuyers are better off than perhaps the standard American, but the relatively good value on these homes may have also contributed to high sales numbers. Last year, the median price for a secondary residence came in at $150,000—that’s an 11% decrease from 2013. Many homebuyers seem to have been waiting to buy low, to have it for vacation and investment purposes.

Baby boomers have also been attributed to improving vacation home sales. Many boomers have bought these homes as vacation homes to start, but plan on shifting it into a primary residence upon retirement.

In general, beach and mountain (yes, mountain) vacation homes tend to recover their value slower than other homes, so there may still be time to scoop up that ski lodge at a great price.



Bozeman Exploring Solar Alternatives

by Tim Hart

City leaders want to lower utility costs and make Bozeman a little greener by offering some form of solar program to its residents. The city wants to provide clean energy to all its residents-whether they rent or own a home.

Currently, a new community solar model has gained traction as the front-runner for how Bozeman may address solar needs moving forward. The community solar model allows customers to tap into a community-based solar system. For ‘opting in” to the solar program, customers will receive a credit on their utility bill without having to pay for expensive solar panels. Buying and installing a full solar system into a private home can cost up to $23,500.

Currently 22 other states use a similar model.

With that being said, it should be noted there are a couple other viable models that have worked very well in different places across the United States.

The first model involves putting solar panels on individual homes for no cost. The utility company then deducts energy that home produces from their overall utility bill. The company, in a sense, buys the power from the home and deducts that cost from the bill.

Another model follows a similar idea. In this model the utility company still places solar panels on the home. However, they set up a loan agreement, much like a home, for 30 years at a fixed rate. The homeowner will still receive a deduction on their bill but in this model they are also provided an opportunity to be a full owner of the solar panels (which would really cut down on costs!). The energy they produce can also be reinvested back into their loan payments.

I have written an in depth article about the last two models. If you would like to read more about them, click here.

All of the models have their own advantages and drawbacks. Whether its time, money or freedom of action, all the plans give in some areas and take in others.

Bozemanites should be appreciative of their elected officials' attempts to stay up to date with technology. With this solar story, along with city leader's recent attempts to establish a fiber optic network, its clear that one of Bozeman's goals is to keep itself technologically up to date. No matter what, having some form of solar program in place will help make Bozeman more sustainable, cheaper and keep it a wonderful place to live.




Montana Unemployment Rate Lowest Since 2007

by Tim Hart

March unemployment numbers were released, bringing more positive news to Montana and the Gallatin County. Montana’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent, down from 4.4% seen earlier this year. That rate is the lowest seen since October of 2007.

The Gallatin County had even lower totals. Only 3.6% of people are unemployed.

The national unemployment rate currently sits at 5.5 percent, also down from 5.7% from earlier this year.

Although the state dropped payroll employees by 500 in March, the state added 8,873 new jobs in the first quarter of 2015.

Coupled with Bozeman’s average cost of living, it makes sense why Bozeman continues to attract those looking to live in a great place, while giving them the opportunity to save money for their life goals.





Montana State University Building Parking Garage

by Tim Hart

Montana State University continues to ride the positive momentum from a growing student enrollment. With recent approval of a new College of Engineering Building at the heart of campus, parking might now be an issue for the growing school. Now, MSU has turned its sights towards a new parking garage to help address the needs of both the students and the public.

MSU had considered several other options to address parking on campus, but ultimately the parking garage dealt best with the issue while offering possible growth in the future.

As MSU has grown, its reputation and quality education have stayed in stride, if not improved at an even faster rate. This past year, MSU attracted its smartest group of incoming freshmen in 25 years. Assuming MSU continues on this track, there is no reason not to expect the school to continue growing.

The parking garage will help address the school’s needs and will be built across from Grant Street and the Strand Union Building—right between the student fitness area and the current parking lots. The new Engineering building will be eating up nearly 400 parking spaces, but the garage will open up around 550 to 600 spaces. Construction will start Fall 2015.

Bozeman’s growth will always be somewhat tied to MSU’s success. So long as MSU continues attracting smart young students, then businesses, parents, teachers and professionals will continue to take part in Bozeman’s economic and housing market growth.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 232