Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 19

Housing Start-Ups Up, Permits Down in March

by Tim Hart

March gave some mixed results regarding the health of newly constructed homes in 2015. New permits shrank by 5.7% from February to March, yet housing start-ups rose by 2.9 percent.  Both directly affect the number of homes available on the market. How home inventory will be affected is yet to be seen.

Building permits and housing start ups are the leading indicator for the health of the new construction industry. On the positive side, single-family start-ups increased by 4.4% in March. Another positive note, the lack of building permits in March may be just a small dip because housing permits have increased by 8% since last year and increased by 10% in the Western Region.

However, costs for lots, materials and labor for builders is still a bit high, preventing builders from building more houses to raise home inventory. According to realtor.com, to return to normal markets, builders would need to construct around 1.5 million homes. Currently they are on track for around 1.2 million.

How these numbers will relate to home inventory and therefore the housing market overall are yet to be seen. Ideally, home inventory will achieve a good balance to prevent price volatility that we have seen in the past.

 

Sources: http://www.realtor.com/news/data-report-new-construction-permits-from-commerce-department/

http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/04/modest-increase-in-housing-production/

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.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/28924241/strong-push-to-expand-solar-energy-in-bozeman

 

Home Builders’ Top 5 Concerns and Obstacles for 2015

by Tim Hart

Builders across the nation were surveyed by the National Association of Homebuilders regarding obstacles that may cause problems to their personal business and the overall housing market recovery. Here is a list of their top 5 concerns.

  1. Cost/Availability of Labor – 68%
  2. Cost of Building Materials – 66%
  3. Bank/Financial Institution regulation – 61%
  4. Cost/Availability of Developed Lots – 57%
  5. Federal environmental regulations and policies – 57%

Although all of these seem like common sense issues when building a home, its always good for buyers to better understand the perspective of the person selling their home. If a buyer can understand the stresses, obligations and duties a builder/seller has to the home and all involved in its build, the buyer can be better prepared to write an offer that would be accepted. Buying and selling homes can be stressful—but remember it’s stressful for both the buyer and seller—even if he is a builder!

 

Source: http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/04/top-builder-challenges/

Housing Inventory, Sales, Values, All Up in March

by Tim Hart

Existing home sales hit their highest annual rate since September 2013, good news for the overall housing market. Existing home sales rose to 6.1% in March to an annual rate of 5.19 million. That figure is 10.4% higher than a year ago. Low mortgage rates and a strengthening job outlook locally and nationally have fueled the increased sale activity. As home buying and selling activity increases, the overall market will deepen and be more immune to shifting conditions—again, positive news.

Home values are still rising—generally good news for sellers. Across the nation, a median priced existing home sold for $212,000, up 7.8% from March last year.

Interestingly, home inventories also increased 5.3% in March, suggesting many sellers are happier with where the value of where their home may sell at. In general, rising home inventories benefit the buyer because sellers have more homes to compete against in their local markets. Inventory currently sits at a 4.6 month supply of homes, meaning current inventory should last the market 4.6 months. That value was 2% above levels seen last year. An ideal balance would be 6 months.

Assuming home values still rise, more and more sellers can be expected to list their homes. However, there may be a tipping point where either values peak and scare off buyers, or where a few too many sellers list their home, lowering the values across the board.

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/04/23/home-sales-surge-18-month-high

 

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.


Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/economy/montana-unemployment-rate-drops-to-percent-in-march/article_f5f0c959-60b4-501a-aedf-5d8a81bf170c.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_937344&utm_campaign=blox

New Program Pays Portion of Homebuyer’s Closing Costs

by Tim Hart

Fannie Mae announced a new program to help first time home buyers take the final step in their home purchase. Fannie Mae rolled out their new Home Path Ready Buyer Program this last week, designed to help buyer’s who may be cash poor or credit poor.

First time home buyers can now receive up to 3% off the purchase price in closing cost assistance. Depending on the price of the home, that can mean big savings. For example, a $150,000 home can receive up to $4,500 in closing costs savings.

This past year, Fannie Mae also released new low down payment loans to entice buyers to start their home buying process. This program was created for similar purposes.

Any homebuyer who wants to take advantage of the new program will need to take an online course, which includes 9, 30 minute sessions. That may sound like a good chunk of time, but when you break down the previous example, that’s $1,000 in savings for each hour of class. Not bad.

For anyone interested, you can take the course here: www.homepath.com

Sources: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/04/15/fannie-offers-closing-cost-aid-first-timers

http://www.realtor.com/news/fannie-mae-first-time-home-buyer-closing-costs-help/

Foreclosures Lowest Since Late 2010

by Tim Hart

Based on a recently released foreclosure report, the United States Housing Market looks to be continuing on its road to improvement.

Foreclosure inventory dropped by 27% in February and completed foreclosures fell by 15% year over year. Even better news… foreclosures have fallen 67% since they hit their peak in September 2010. 

Foreclosure inventory represented 1.4% of all homes with a mortgage nationwide. Although that number is lower than any number seen recently, its still more than double the 0.6% seen from 2000-2004.

Mortgages in serious delinquencies (overdue payment by more than 90 days) also dropped by 19% in February.

Lowering foreclosure totals represent a growing, stabilizing economy. For both the housing market and the overall economic outlook of the US, this is great news. As more buyers and sellers gain back their confidence and reenter the market, the more we can expect to see improvements in real estate.

 

Sources: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/04/14/foreclosures-plunge-67-from-peak

http://www.realtor.com/news/corelogic-foreclosures-report-february-2015/

 

 

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.

 

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/economy/montana-unemployment-rate-drops-to-percent-in-march/article_f5f0c959-60b4-501a-aedf-5d8a81bf170c.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_937344&utm_campaign=blox

 

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.

 

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/msu-plans-million-parking-garage-in-center-of-campus/article_5944826e-f610-5688-aa90-f1b13459f662.html

Home Buyer Demand Rising In Real Estate Housing Market

by Tim Hart

Home buyers may soon look like the picture above, as they wait to see that perfect home listing. Ok, maybe not to that degree, but of late, buyers have been lining up to get their chance in the US housing market.

Buyer demand has increased over March and into April across the United States due to low mortgage rates and more, new constructions start-ups adding cheaper inventory to the market.

Mortgage applications rose in the week ending April 4th for the 3rd consecutive week. Applications rose by 7% week over week and were up 12% from the same week in 2014. Mortgage applications are the best barometer for homebuyer demand, so seeing an increase in applications is always positive.

Applications rose by 17% from March compared to February as well. Most attribute the rise in mortgage activity to be due in part to the low mortgage rates seen recently (3.66% for a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage).

Buyer demand has also increased for new construction. Many buyers have opted to wait for a new home, rather than competing with other buyers on an existing home. New construction homes sales have gone up recently because they have found a price point that is appealing for many buyers.

 

Source:

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/04/08/more-proof-home-buyer-demand-rising

http://www.realtor.com/news/mortgage-rates-lower-new-home-buyers-take-advantage/

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 19

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