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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

Belgrade Expands and Prepares for Future Growth

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

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​

Bozeman Continues To Grow With New Proposed Airport Expansion

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It comes as no surprise to most of us that Bozeman is quickly growing, in terms of both population and city development. In the past seven years alone, we’ve grown from 37,000 residents to more than 45,000. Last year was a record year for the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, which is located in Belgrade and is the busiest airport in the state— there was an 8.4% increase in the number of travelers in and out of Bozeman, and 29% of all air travelers in and out of Montana fly through the Bozeman airport.

To better accommodate those flying in and out of Bozeman, plans to develop more than 50 acres of land south of the airport have been submitted. These plans include a mixed-use complex that will hold hotels, retail stores and restaurants. A Connecticut-based developer, Charter Realty & Development, is currently in negotiations to purchase the property from its current owner Knife River, a construction materials company headquartered in Bismarck, ND. 

With both the number of new listings and pending sales increasing in Belgrade, this development may also be beneficial to Belgrade residents and those looking to relocate to the area.

While the median sales price for Belgrade sat at $279,900 last month, this is still lower than that of Bozeman, with its median sales price hovering around $369K. Dan Zelson, a principal with Charter Realty, states that with growth coming out of Bozeman and into Belgrade, long-term plans may include residential buildings. While this isn’t part of the current proposal, this development could take place as soon as next year, with its first tenants moving in by 2019.

The plan will be presented to the Belgrade City Council on September 18th. Whether or not lower median sales prices are encouraging some Bozeman residents to relocate to Belgrade, the area is indeed expanding and will likely continue to do so with such a busy airport nearby that continues to set new passenger records every year, as well as with the high population growth rates we’ve been experiencing in recent years. 


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The Cost of Improving Bozeman's Transportation Infrastructure

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It’s great to see Bozeman, Montana grow and prosper as a thriving community, but there’s always a catch to population growth—traffic.

The city expects that by 2040, Gallatin County will have 77,000 new residents, 36,000 housing units, along with 48,000 new jobs. Even if all of Bozeman’s road projects on its 5-year plan are completed, the city projects that traffic will still overcrowd major streets like Huffine, College, Griffin, 19th and 11th Avenue

The Cost of Adding Traffic Capacity

The city is well-aware of the challenge ahead to accommodate for Bozeman’s rapid growth, and they found that the cost would be staggering. According to actual construction bids, a standard two-lane road in Bozeman, with curbs, bike lanes and sidewalks, costs about $2.2 million per mile. Four lane roads are more than double the cost, at roughly $5 million per mile.

Upgraded intersections are also incredibly expensive. A large traffic signal was estimated to cost about $2.4 million, and a roundabout would cost about $2.9 million.

If the city follows through with every project that it has planned for Bozeman for over next 25 years, the total cost would amount to an estimated $380 million. This plan includes 58 major street network upgrades ($174 million), more than 42 miles of new roads ($129 million), and 53 “system management” projects, which mostly includes intersection upgrades ($77 million).

How Can We Mitigate These Costs?

With such a high price tag for new roads and intersections, it’s understandable that the city is so conservative about starting new construction projects. Fortunately, with the exception of Rouse Avenue north of Peach Street and Kagy Boulevard between 19th and Seventh, Bozeman’s streets are still big enough to handle their current traffic volumes, according to the engineers working on the plan.

To minimize the need to sacrifice hard-earned tax-payer dollars, the city encourages drivers to use alternative transportation options.

One option, of course, is to have more commuters walk or ride a bike. However, while this may work for the summer months (which wouldn’t help much because school is out for summer anyways), we wouldn’t see many people enduring the brunt of winter just to get to work or school.

Another more practical idea is to break up the typical 9 to 5 work schedule. City planners are currently working with researchers at the Western Transportation Institute (an affiliate of Montana State University) to coordinate alternating work schedules with employers in attempt to calm the intensity of rush hour traffic.

For those that simply have no other option, they can try to plan a route around the most congested intersections. For your reference, below are some the most overloaded intersections to avoid:

  • Baxter and Davis
  • Babcock and Ferguson
  • Kagy and Seventh
  • Kagy and Sourdough

Here are also several intersections that are most prone to crashes:

  • Valley Center Spur and Frontage Road
  • 19th Avenue and Goldenstein
  • Willson and Peach

 

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Another Mid-Rise Building Approved for Bozeman

Bozeman Ramps Up Development This Spring

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Looks like this spring is going to be a busy season for Bozeman, Montana. Aside from the many new residential homes and apartment buildings sprouting up around town, numerous new businesses are opening soon and development projects are breaking ground.

Here is a quick snap shot of some of the new development happening now in Bozeman.   

Restaurants

There are several new restaurants coming to town, and most are opening around the same time in April. Here are a few of them.  

The M Donut Factorylocated on Main Street, is set for a slow opening in April, and then a grand opening in June. The owner, a retired cop from California, is excited to share his love for donuts with Bozeman. He plans to offer all traditional doughnuts at first, then specialties, and eventually some gluten-free and vegan options. 

The M Donut Factory

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream will be opening in April, replacing the old Rockford Coffee shop on Seventh Avenue and Main Street. The ice cream shop will offer more than a dozen flavors, ranging from honey cinnamon to Madagascar vanilla, and homemade waffle cones.

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Stuffed Crepes and Waffles will be bringing a little piece of France to Bozeman on downtown Main Street, next to the Country Bookshelf. Sometime in April, this crepe and waffle joint will offer both authentic and non-traditional crepes and waffles, smoothies, ice-cream, and delicious parfaits.

Sidewinders is set to open on June 1st on Bozeman’s west side, off Huffine Lane. This family-owned and operated American grill will feature 8,000 square feet, with rooftop seating, a large bar, and even an arcade! The restaurant is popular for its chicken pot pies, French onion soups, and stuffed pretzels, while also serving burgers and steaks. The best part about this place? — a selection of more than 70 draft beers!

Taco del Sol will be catering to Four Corner’s growing appetite in April with a second location closer to home. On Shedhorn Drive, in the old Frugal Frame Shop, this new shop will be much smaller than the one on Main Street, with under 1,000 square feet floor space. The owner intends to cater to the “summer crowd” that passes through Four Corner’s, offering to-go cold wraps, snacks, bars and fruit in addition to its regular tacos and burritos.

Commercial Development

There are two new commercial development projects set for Bozeman, with one underway right now.

#1 A project has just started to turn 20-acres of the Opportunity Subdivision (south of Target and the City Brew on North 19th Avenue) into 6 developed lots—5 will be for shops and businesses, and 1 will be residential. Right now, construction of two roads is underway for this development, named Kimberwike and Max streets. The plan does not specify what the businesses and tenants will be for the commercial lots.

#2  There is also a 19-acre development project in the works for the Ferguson Farm development. The plan includes yet another restaurant and a 22,000-square-foot multi-use space that will host about nine businesses, including anything from brew pubs to coffee shops, and eventually a lodge and grocery. The project is planned to start sometime this summer.  

Office Buildings

Two new office buildings are being built across from each other on the intersection of 19th Avenue and College Street.

On the northwest corner, the old house currently sitting on the lot will be torn down to make way for a 17,000-square-foot commercial building. According to the planning documents, this space will be used for offices.

On the northeast corner, next to the Montana Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center, Excel Physical Therapy is constructing a two-story, 8,500 square foot building that the company plans to relocate to. The top floor will be rented out to a separate business.

More to Come

As a rapidly growing and thriving community, there is much more to come for Bozeman. The city has been attracting a lot of attention for its entrepreneurial activity and business success, making-up another great reason to move here than for just its beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation, and small-town charm. It will be exciting to see what the high-tech sector brings our town in the years to come.

Follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive exclusive information about the housing market, real estate tips and advice, and local news and development.


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A Skeptic Outlook for $125 Million Proposal for Two Bozeman High Schools

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman’s $125 million plan for a second high school and improvements to the existing one is awaiting voter approval in the upcoming May 2nd election, and the outlook doesn’t look so good.

Voters normally approve Bozeman School District’s development plans, and by big margins. In the last seven school construction bond proposals, ($36 million for Bozeman High School, $16 million for Sacajawea Middle School, $5.5 million for Hawthorne Elementary, $17.5 million and $26.3 million to build Hyalite Elementary and Meadowlark Elementary, and two bonds of $14.1 million and $5.75 to build the new Chief Joseph Middle School) each were approved by margins as high as 62 to 70 percent.

It seems, however, that voters are changing pace. In the last November election, voters of Gallatin County rejected the $71.5 million proposal for a new courts and law enforcement facility. The proposal lost by 3 percent (47% approved by city and county voters).

Even more discouraging to the School Board is the results from a recent poll conducted by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. While it was an unscientific online poll, it revealed that out of 1,500 responses, 54 percent disapproved of the project (811 disapproved, 591 approved, and 99 were undecided).

Why the Opposition?

In a recent meeting with a room full of retirees, attendees expressed their concern that the project would spend unnecessary tax dollars. One gentleman criticized the plan for not saving money by sharing sports facilities with Montana State University. $2.5 million of the proposed plan would go toward upgrading Bozeman High’s current stadium, and more would go toward a large gym for the new high school.  

Countering the skepticism, Rob Watson, the school superintendent, explained that the School Board already cut the original estimate down from $144 million, and added that MSU couldn’t guarantee that the high schools could use its facilities.

What Will This Project Cost Taxpayers?

The cost to taxpayers for the $125 million plan would be about a 9 percent increase in property tax over a 20-year period for homeowners in the Bozeman elementary school district. As the city grows with more businesses and homes, however, the cost should decrease as more property owners share the expense.

The School Board Says Bozeman Needs This Project

The School Board urges voters to approve this project, explaining that the current high school is reaching its 2,400-student capacity and is deteriorating. Trustee Wendy Tage says that the glass-walled lobby in front of the cafeteria “could fall over in an earthquake.” And the amount of repair and maintenance that is needed for Bozeman High School would be like, as Parent Matt Kraska says, “polishing a turd.”

If this bond doesn’t get passed, the School Board would have no choice to go back to the drawing board and modify its plan for the next election in November. Watson says that if they must, they could either plan a smaller design for the new high school or make fewer improvements the current one, but something needs to be done nonetheless.

 

Below is where the new Bozeman high school would be located, on the corner of West Oak and Cottonwood Road.

Follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive exclusive information about the housing market, real estate tips and advice, and local news and development.


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Another Mid-Rise Building Approved for Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The lots currently occupied by the vacant old Pizza Hut at 716 W. Babcock Street and the home next to it may soon be the site of another four-story apartment building in Bozeman. The SOBO Lofts, or South Bozeman Lofts, is planned to hold 42 one-bedroom apartments and 3,000 square feet of commercial space facing Babcock Street.

The project came by surprise as it was approved by Bozeman planning director Marty Matsen without a public hearing before the Bozeman City Commission. Meanwhile, a heated debate over another mid-rise building is already underway for the Black-Olive proposal downtown. It will be interesting to see how the neighbors respond when they see this building go up.  

Here’s a map of all the mid-rise buildings that are currently planned or being constructed in Bozeman: 

 

Matsen said that the SOBO Lofts plans abides by Bozeman’s zoning code, which does not merit a hearing before city commissioners. The SOBO building is planned to be 50 feet high, and include 52 parking spaces, which Matsen says is well within the zoning requirements. In this B-2M zoning district, buildings are restricted to 60 feet in height. However, some residents have expressed concern about overflow parking and the scale of the building conflicting with the character of the neighborhood.

Projects that do not conflict with zoning codes are only reviewed by the city planning department, and approved by the planning director. Matsen also pointed out that the proposal was presented to a public hearing with the Design Review Board and was granted a unanimous approval, but it wasn’t as well attended as the packed meetings for the Black-Olive proposal.

What About the Black-Olive Project?

While the Black-Olive project was also within zoning requirements, it was unique in that the City Commission reclaimed authority over the city planning director’s approval after concerned neighbors appealed the planning director’s approval (A public hearing before the commission is scheduled for April 3rd). The same can be done for the SOBO Lofts if an “aggrieved party” appeals the decision to the City Commission—for a fee of $8,700.

The developer behind the SOBO project, Rob Pertzborn, from Intrinsik Architecture, says they are moving forward with the project, but he has not yet confirmed a date to begin construction. His next step is to apply for a demolition permit, then develop construction designs and seek bids from contractors.

 

Follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive exclusive information about the housing market, real estate tips and advice, and local news and development.


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Crepes and Waffles Coming Soon To Downtown Bozeman!

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Sometime in April, Erik Esper will be adding one more cuisine to Bozeman's wide selection of restaurants. Esper plans to bring a little piece of France to Bozeman with crepe and waffle joint downtown on Main Street. 

His restaurant, Stuffed Crepes and Waffles, will open in the space that used to be the Tonsorial Parlor Barber Shop, next to the Country Bookshelf. He plans to renovate the 400-square-foot space and spruce it up with a warm and inviting feel for customers. 

The menu will include a variety of both authentic and non-traditional crepes and waffles with sweet and savory combinations, smoothies, ice-cream, and parfaits. Parfaits are essentially the French version of ice-cream, made with custard-like puree and layers of yummy ingredients and fruit arrangements, then topped with whipping cream.

It will be a brick-and-mortar shop, meaning that it will serve both in-store and on-line sales, with an on-the-go style. Convenient for downtown strollers, the crepes will be wrapped in a sleeve and the waffles folded like sandwiches—perfect for a quick bite to eat while meandering around downtown.


It's great to have such a diversity of culture in Bozeman, and Stuffed Crepes and Waffles will be adding one more to the list. Esper is excited about opening the restaurant, saying "Hopefully it'll be a great success and serve the community well."

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Source:
Crepe and waffle joint coming to downtown Bozeman

This American Grill Might Soon Be The New Favorite Place To Go In Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

A new American grill is set to open on Bozeman's west side this summer. Featuring 8,000 square feet of space with rooftop seating, a large bar, and even an arcade, Sidewinders will be bringing Bozeman a completely different style of restaurant. It's located off Huffine Lane on Bozeman's west side and is set to open June 1. 

The family business originates from Jackson Wyoming where the owner, Joe Rice, and his wife, daughter, and son-in-law opened six restaurants, one being the original Sidewinders that opened in 1997. Seeing the rapid growth of residential and commercial development on Bozeman's west end, Rice found a need for a place to congregate in this area. 

Sidewinders is known for its chicken pot pies, French onion soups, and stuffed pretzels. The restaurant also offers burgers and steaks. Understanding our appetite for beer in Montana, the Sidewinders at our Bozeman location will offer an astounding selection of more than 70 draft beers! This may soon be the new fun place to hang out in town.


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Source:
New American grill set for Bozeman's west end

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