Real Estate Information Archive


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Plans are moving forward with the new College of Engineering Building at Montana State University. The Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center, named after the alumni who donated the $50 million required to fund the project, will be starting construction in Summer 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by Fall of 2018. The building is designed to be the new center of campus, with the sub directly across from it and the new parking garage close by.

The new building will help keep pace with MSU’s reputation as an excellent engineering school. The building will also help keep enough room for the rising enrollment in both the Engineering College and school overall.

The building will be 80 to 100,000 square feet, will have 10 – 15 classrooms, 12 to 16 Engineering labs in addition to faculty offices. Current plans are leaning towards creating a 3 story building w/ the $12 million dollar parking garage behind it. The building is designed to hold a 300 person presentation hall, which will be used for school and community events.

As MSU continues to have high enrollment and continues to attract great students, it seems only logical the school will continue to try to expand its reputation and its campus. MSU provides many real estate related opportunities and having a high prestige will make those opportunities more plentiful and more rewarding.



New Bozeman School Addresses Learning Disablilities

by Tim Hart

A new school will be coming to the greater Bozeman area, hoping to fill a niche in Bozeman by teaching young children with learning disabilities. Cottonwood Day School, as it will be called when it opens in September 2015, will help young children address their issues with speech, dyslexia, dysgraphia (for writing) and dyscalculia (for math). The school will be open for children in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade.

The school will use multi-sensory education techniques to provide many different types of learning styles to its students. Ideally, it will provide avenues for visual learners, auditory learners and hands on learners to learn in they best way they know. Cottonwood Day School wants to be another option in the Bozeman education world, giving parents alternatives for their struggling student. The school hopes it can provide early intervention and give struggling students a leg up and a chance to get back into public school and be successful.

The school is located on Cottonwood Road, just south of Anderson School. Tuition will cost $9,200 a year.

Education opportunities and alternatives continue to be at extremely high quality in Bozeman, Montana. Enrollments have increased in public schools, while private schools have been expanding in size and increasing in number. Bozeman has become a center for high level public and private education in the state, perhaps why so many people continue to be attracted to and move to Bozeman.



As many local Bozeman residents have surely figured out, a new apartment complex will be coming to the MSU area, south of the football stadium, to help ease the rental vacancy issues in Bozeman. Bozeman has been attracting more and more new residents of late as it has become one of the nation's most liveable towns. Both the local public schools and MSU have seen increased enrollments--also putting strain on the rental market. The apartments will add nearly 500 renters, but whether that will make any major changes to the overall market are yet to be seen.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 3,200 additional renters have been added to the Bozeman market since 2010, assuming half of the new non-student residents are renting and not buying. If this is the case, and with 888 new apartments and 371 multi-family units built since 2010, the Bozeman Chronicle believes that Bozeman is still short on rental inventory.

Bozeman has been working with consultants, builders and Montana State University to help ease the high costs of renting in the area. Nationally, renters have been struggling with affordability issues as well as vacancy issues and Bozeman has seen similar concerns. The surrounding areas of Bozeman have provided residents with some respite, offering better rental prices.

Bozeman has been adding more inventory through new apartments and in some cases new subdivisions to help keep prices manageable. The apartment complex is another effort to help create a more positive rental market in the future.



Bozeman Awarded 1 Million for Solar Research

by Tim Hart

In late April, Bozeman planners and commissioners were exploring the possibility of providing solar alternatives to its residents. Early last week, Northwestern Energy awarded the city $1,000,000 to explore the benefits, the utility and likelihood for creating some form of solar program in Bozeman.

The city will team up with the Montana State University to go over potential options for a new solar program. One idea has been to allow 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.

Other states, companies and individuals have also used other models and Bozeman will need to figure out which one works best for its unique situation.

Bozeman has tried to stay on the forefronts of technology. They recently approved a fiber-optic project to give Bozeman the highest quality internet available. Looking at solar alternatives will help keep Bozeman beautiful and sustainable.




Greater Bozeman Area Market Update - June 2015

by Tim Hart

This month, we will compare single-family residence sales through June 5th 2015 and compare them to similar sales from 2014 in the greater Bozeman area. Here are a few stats for all Bozeman area single-family residences:

  • Unit Sales increased by 8.96%  (365 sold through 6/5/15, 335 sold in 2014 through 6/5/14)
  • Dollar volume increased by 21.25% ($159,073,705 through 6/5/15, $131,196,367 sold in 2014 through 6/5/14)
  • Homes have been staying on the market 10.87% longer in 2015 (102 days on market in 2015, 92 days on market in 2014)

Summary – Through early June, the housing market continues its growth. Homes have been staying on the market a little longer than in 2014, but total sales and volume both increased. The overall Gallatin County market is still very healthy.

New Neighborhood Coming to Bozeman Area

by Tim Hart

An example of a European Woonerf

A new neighborhood will be coming to the greater Bozeman area called the Lakes at Valley West. City Commissioners recently approved the proposed European-style pocket neighborhood to the west of town. The neighborhood will try to shift away from an automobile focused area like most Bozeman neighborhoods, to a more pedestrian and bike friendly environment.

Now that the neighborhood has been approved, developers can get to work on the 65 acre piece of land that is south of Durston Road and in between Gooch Hill and Cottonwood Roads. The two phases that have been approved by City Commissioners will add 62 lots. Bozeman has dealt with low home inventory, low rental vacancies, and rising property values. Increasing the home inventory in Bozeman may help alleviate these issues to some extent.

The neighborhood itself will take a different approach and style to Bozeman living that many developments of the past have not. The theme or base of the neighborhood centers on walkability and bikability within it. According to developers, many of the homes would only be accessible by woonerfs (pronounced vone-erfs). A woonerf is a street designed  to give pedestrians the priority over cars. The street is only 15 ft. of asphalt directly next to a 5-foot walkway. The design of the streets should keep traffic slow due to the tight feel of the streets.

Interestingly, commissioners approved the neighborhood while allowing it to relax Bozeman’s current setback requirements (how far a home is from the beginning of the lot) as well as its yard size requirements, which will allow for a denser neighborhood.  According to developers, most of the lots would cluster around areas of public parkland. The neighborhood will also have  more connected trails and higher quality parks in exchange for the yard space.

City planners have said the density of the neighborhood shouldn’t affect  parking, snow removal or emergency access. Developers hope to sell the homes anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000.




Bozeman Safest Major Town in Montana

by Tim Hart

According to data released by the Bozeman Police Department, Bozeman has the lowest crime rate of any major town in Montana. Bozeman averaged 32.7 crimes per 1,000 residents, 16 crimes below the next closest town. Bozeman has now been honored as the safest major town in the state for 4 of the last 5 years.

Bozeman had the fewest homicides, 0; robberies, 3; aggravated assaults, 36; and burglaries, 71; in the state.

Bozeman has also been improving on its own standards. Bozeman’s overall crime rate dropped from 56.1 crimes per 1,000 residents seen in 2004. In 2014, more than 20 less crimes per 1,000 residents took place. Total arrests for Bozeman dropped 28 percent from 2,800 in 2008 to 2,189 in 2014. Traffic stops also dropped by 30 percent.

Despite Bozeman’s recent growth (nearly 12,000 residents since 1996), property related crimes like theft and burglaries have been going down. With more people living in the Gallatin Valley, it would make sense that property related crimes would go up. However, the local police department has done a great job in general of keeping people’s belongings and valuables safe.

The Bozeman Police Department attributed the low crime rates to the economic stability that has been present in Bozeman of late along with the hard work of local community members and organizations. The department also increased its total officers in 2008, a factor that has been highlighted towards improving local crime rates.

Bozeman continues to lead the way in public safety—one of the main attractors to both in-state and out-of-staters looking to move here.




Bozeman Growth and City Streets

by Tim Hart

Bozeman has been growing and the local city streets may need some time to catch up. Bozeman’s population now sits at 39,860 people, up from 31,545 in 2003. Since 1996, Bozeman has added 12,000 new residents who now call the Gallatin Valley home. As Bozeman’s population has grown, the number of cars using its roads has also increased. Recently, the City of Bozeman has turned its focus towards fixing and maintaining streets in light of its recent growth.

Since 1996, Bozeman’s planning department has issued 9,300 completed building permits. Nearly two-thirds of these permits were residential and commercial construction. When a developer breaks ground for a new subdivision, the city often requests they address their impact on the rest of Bozeman’s infrastructure through impact fees. Currently, the city has about $10 million pooled from impact fees, but taxes and other assessments will be needed to fully maintain Bozeman’s streets.

So far, it is believed that $2 Million dollars extra will be needed yearly to stay up with chip sealing and repaving. According to Public Works Director Craig Woolard, every dollar spent in preventative maintenance is equal to $6 to $10 in costs that would be needed to repair a deteriorated road. Raising taxes would help bring in the needed money to avoid deterring projects until it is too late for minor work.

The City Commissioners are considering a 12.2% increase to the existing street maintenance fees. For the average city resident, this would increase taxes by $37.86 a year. That number represents 1/5 of the total tax hike, showing Bozeman’s increased focus on city streets. Bozeman may also create a new assessment on arterial streets that could bring in $575,000+ dollars in additional revenue.

As Bozeman has grown, it has gone through both pains and gains. Keeping ahead on street maintenance will help keep Bozeman a beautiful, convenient place to call home. Taking care of the bumps and bruises while they are small will keep them from becoming something more pervasive in the future. Taking care of small pains, will help the city make big gains as it continues to grow.




Bozeman Tourism High and Growing

by Tim Hart

Tourists and visitors looking to visit the greater Bozeman area continue to come in larger numbers. Hotels, vacation rentals and traditional bed and breakfasts have all seen marked growth in their bookings for the 2015 summer.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, most rooms in Bozeman will be full every weekend through June, July and August assuming they haven’t been filled already. Some hotels are even booking into next year. Even with the new hotels moving in downtown, hotels are still seeing low vacancies.

Visitation statewide is expected to be up 2 percent this year. Last year, Bozeman had 40% of the 11 million visitors who visited Montana in 2014, so local Bozemanites should notice the tourism growth.

Bozeman has always attracted a large portion of out of state residents due to its proximity to public lands, Yellowstone and great local skiing. Last year, Yellowstone saw a large uptick in visitors during its high season and Big Sky saw above average tourism last year. Bozeman proper, meanwhile, was highlighted as a top 25 ski destination in the world. According to the University of Montana’s Institute on Tourism and Recreation Research, nearly 665 million non-resident dollars were taken in between 2012 and 2013 and Bozeman certainly has seen a good portion of these funds.

Many visitors to Bozeman have been looking for alternatives when taking vacation. Annual occupancy rates have gone up yearly since 2009 (42.5%) to now (51%). As less homes have less tenants and less vacation based tenants, with more owners taking up available real estate to visitors, many tourists have turned to AirBnB and other accommodation services to find a room. Air BnB for example, is an online community where owner occupied homes rent out space to tenants for short durations, much like how a bed and breakfast would function. Now, there are over 800 listings from Air BnB in Montana.

Investment opportunities may be available to homeowners looking for additional income streams. As more tourists need space in Bozeman, more opportunities will open up for locals. Bozeman’s high tourism provides a great base of people visiting the area while bringing in money to its residents. Bozeman’s location sells more than vacations though, and the town’s growth shows how sought after the Gallatin Valley has become.




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.



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