Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


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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.



Bozeman City Commissioners rejected the proposal by Bozeman area builders to lighten parkland requirements to make homes more affordable. They city remained open to the idea of lowering lot size requirements to increase inventory and lower prices of homes in Bozeman.

Bozeman builders were asked by City Commissioners to come up with several proposals in mid March to lower the prices of homes in the area. Despite high permit requests, new construction has not alleviated rising home values. Builders pushed for less mandated parkland in new subdivisions—a request, they believed would help lower prices while keeping their jobs affordable and feasible. City code currently specifies that 0.3 acres be set aside as parkland for each dwelling unit in new subdivisions. Builders believe that not being able to use this land has been a major cost driver for home values because there are less total homes available in Bozeman. Their proposal was denied outright by the city.

They came with another alternative as well, one that is still being considered by commissioners—lowering lot size requirements. Current minimum lot size is set 5,000 sq. ft. but builders want this lowered to 2,000 sq. ft. Again, this would be to raise home inventory, and having more homes would lower existing prices based on competition.

Other proposals included subsidizing impact fees and improving down payment assistance programs, but both would need public funds and much more deliberation to be considered.

The city was open to lowering their lot sizes, but they did not decide on what size they would be comfortable with moving forward. The city has also looked into adding more “pocket neighborhoods,” based on how their experiment in the Lakes at Valley West is received. When the decision comes from commissioners on how they will tackle affordability, it will be a major decision that affects home building, home prices, and the overall Bozeman real estate market for years to come.





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.

Tim’s Know Your Homes 101 - Tri-Level Architecture

by Tim Hart

A Tri-Level or Split-Level home’s most defining aspect is that its main floor sits between the upper and lower floors. From the outside, these homes can be mistaken for a ranch home but inside they really stand out.

A Tri-Level has two short stairways on the main floor. They are usually right next to each other, one going up and one going down—much like a staircase in a commercial building. The main floor itself usually has the living room, kitchen and dining area. The upper floor most often has the bedrooms, while the basement usually holds the laundry facilities, office, family room or garage. Basements are usually always finished in a tri-level home.

Tri-Levels are usually one of the cheaper architectural styles found in the US but can really match well with young families. Their lack of single floor living or a first floor master can cause issues for older homeowners.

If you’d like to take another lesson, click any of the links below.






French Eclectic

Spanish Mission Revival

Cape Cod



New Neighborhood Coming to Bozeman Area

by Tim Hart

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.

Click Here for Additional Information on Other Bozeman Neighborhoods




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.




Retirees Keeping Their Mortgages in Higher Numbers

by Tim Hart

Some retirees are opting to keep their mortgages instead of using their retirement funds to cash out and have full ownership over their home. Why? Well for now, stock market returns and low interest mortgage rates might make it more financially advantageous for a retiree to keep their money in these investments. More often than not in the past, retirees with an active loan would use a piece of their retirement plan to pay off their premium no longer owe anything on their home.

However, with high capital returns from the stocks and bond market, coupled with the fact that mortgage rates are some of the lowest seen in history, investment returns from other markets have actually been greater for many even with their mortgage payments subtracted out.

Improved health care and life expectancy has also affected this trend. Where many retirees preferred a low risk investment in the past, a lot of people now potentially see decades of life ahead of them and are still willing to take some financial risks.

Interestingly, 64% of retirees said they would also probably move at least once after retirement. Assuming it’s not an all cash deal, many of these retirees would be applying for another mortgage post retirement. Not only that, 30% of them actually said they would be looking for a larger home, rather than downsizing.

As mortgage rates rise, this financial path’s viability will need to be re-evaluated. The stock market does hold more volatility and risk—so even in a positive market like this, there is no guarantee of reward. However, more retirees have gone through this process, evaluated their financial situation and chosen to incorporate more risk—showing a marked shift in how many people have been approaching their retirement of late.




Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9