Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 39

New Bozeman Neighborhood: The Lakes at Valley West

by Tim Hart

The final plat of Valley West Subdivision’s final phase was approved on October 5th, allowing development to begin on Bozeman’s west side. The Lakes at Valley West, as the final phase is called, has been under formal review for the past year. Now with approval, it will bring approximately 60 homes and 2 lakes to the already thriving subdivision.

Valley West has been one of the fastest growing and most active subdivisions in Bozeman. The final phase will help provide amenities to the current neighborhood while also increasing home inventory in the Bozeman area.

Bozeman, like the United States overall, has dealt with rising values and a very competitive rental market. Across the nation, builders have been trying to increase home inventory to help alleviate rising home values. With both rental values reaching an all time high as well as rental vacancies reaching an all time low, increasing the number of homes available should help increase competition.

Bozeman has approved additional neighborhoods, apartment complexes and multi-use properties to try to increase local inventory. Bozeman has also looked into trimming lot sizes to make the home building process more affordable. Currently, commissioners have put an inclusionary zoning proposal on hold as well.




YMCA Community Center Progressing in Bozeman

by Tim Hart

With initial plans being submitted to the City Planning office for a new YMCA community center, it appears the project only needs to secure funding in order to move forward with plans.

The building, designed to be 20,000 square feet, will be approximately a 6 million dollar project, slightly up from March projections of 5.5 Million dollars. In March, the Gallatin Valley YMCA had raised 2.5 million for the project. Now, they have secured $300,000 in additional donations and are 1.2 million short of the 4 million needed to move forward on the project. The 4 million dollars would be used to secure construction financing while also being used to seek grant support from other foundations.

Initially, the YMCA had plans to team up with the City of Bozeman to also include a new aquatics center for West Bozeman residents. However, that plan has been put on hold as city officials have now started work on passing a bond for a new, shared Law and Justice Center for the city and Gallatin County. The community center will be built in a way that will allow an aquatic center to connect at some point in the future.

Bozeman continues to put in the necessary infrastructure as it expands to the west. West end Bozeman residents will be happy to hear that these sort of projects are in the pipeline and will help them keep their travel distances to a minimum in Bozeman.



At the end of September, Bozeman and County Commissioners agreed to hire an architect to design the new law and justice center for the local area. The effort would be a shared joint effort between county and city governments, necessitated from the overall costs of such a project. Hiring an architect shows each government’s resolve to get the project approved and underway in Bozeman.

Both commissions approved unanimously to hire ThinkOne architects to submit building designs by the end of June 2016. Hiring an architect is just the first stage however, as the multi-million dollar construction bond that funds the project will be put up for voter approval in November of 2016.

Due to the high level of uncertainty in Bozeman’s construction market, ThinkOne Architects has been asked to submit 30% of the required design documents by the end of June, which will help calculate the building’s cost for the vote next fall.

Currently, Bozeman holds the honor of being Montana’s safest major town. With Bozeman’s recent growth and economic expansion, it will be important to maintain order moving forward. Having the correct infrastructure in place will allow Bozeman to stay on top of any potential crime and keep Bozeman’s reputation safe and flourishing.





Bozeman Montana Airport Surpasses 1 Million Visitors

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport surpassed 1 million total passengers over a 12 month period. From September 2014 to 2015, 1,000,483 passengers either boarded or exited a plane in Bozeman.

The airport saw a 4.4% increase compared to September 2013 to 2014 numbers.

In 2014, Bozeman had the busiest Montana airport, despite not having the highest population. The proximity of nearby attractions has really helped boost Bozeman’s tourism and economy.

In order to better host their rising totals, the airport has drafted plans to expand the airport in the next 5 to 10 years. The airport would like to add a second paved runway, expand the terminal, add a new parking garage and add a new de-icing area.

The airport and Bozeman both help each other and grow with each other. The airport attracts people, allowing Bozeman to sell itself, but oftentimes these visitors return again or sometimes become permanent residents. Once the airport expands, local residents can expect more tourists and more people looking to stay for an extended time.



Montana’s Smartest Highschoolers Choose MSU, Again

by Tim Hart

Just like last year and the year before, the smartest Montana High Schoolers are choosing Montana State University Bozeman.

Montana awarded 204 scholarships to the state school of each high schooler’s choice. 134 chose Montana State, representing two thirds of those who accepted. 37% of those students will be entering engineering.

In order to qualify, residents must have a 3.4 grade point average. After that, the state ranks them by their school ranking and ACT scores to differentiate the top students.

Having top students continue to choose MSU is great news for the school as well as Bozeman. Attracting the best talent will help MSU grow its own reputation, attracting more students, more jobs and more money to the area. As students graduate, they might also choose to stay in Bozeman, giving boosts to the labor and housing markets respectively.





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.




Streamline Bus System Hits 2 Million Riders

by Tim Hart

The Streamline Bus System had its 2 millionth rider last week—a noteworthy benchmark for the Gallatin Valley public transportation system. The busses have served its greater Bozeman area residents  for eight years and by breaking the 2 million rider mark has confirmed the Gallatin’s increased use and need of the bus system.

Over the first 5 years, Streamline reached the million rider mark. However, it only took 3 years and 3 months to serve the second million. Not only does this show the growth of the Gallatin Valley in general, but it also shows the increasing popularity of the valley’s bus system. Last year, Streamline served 330,000 riders.

Streamline busses help Bozeman become more than just a “car only” town. The city has focused on keeping itself affordable for all types of people. Streamline helps those who want to live in the area without owning a car by offering them a form of public transport that had not really existed previously.

However, Streamline serves many people who have their own methods of transportation as well. 40 percent of Streamline riders own a vehicle. By keeping these people’s cars off the roads, the bus system has helped lower traffic and traffic emissions around Bozeman.

The streamline takes care of some “Bozeman wants”, in addition to the “Bozeman needs.” For example, the Streamline does go up to Bridger while its Big Sky brother the Skyline offers trips up to Big Sky resort.

As Bozeman and the surrounding area grows, it will be more important to have the necessary infrastructures in place. Bozeman has turned its attention towards its rental vacancy concerns and the prospect of a increasing internet speeds in the area. Hopefully, those issues will be addressed as soundly as public transportation was when they enacted the Streamline 8 years ago.





Rental Vacancy at 20-Year Low in US

by Tim Hart

The nation is still looking for room to rent. The national vacancy rate for rented units has dropped to a 20 year low. The rate has not been this low since the Fourth Quarter of 1993.

Bozeman, Montana has seen these lack of vacancies first hand, thanks to a growing town and surrounding area, schools and university. Bozeman has preemptively added additional housing and even built new subdivisions to better address the rental needs in the area, though it is yet to be seen whether these changes will improve the vacancy rate compared to 2014.

In the US in general, rising rents and a small supply of rentable properties should help renters facing affordability issues transition to homeownership. Currently, the homeownership rate has been falling and has hit a point not seen since 1994. However, as mortgage rates have dropped, as the FHA has lowered mortgage insurance rates, and as mortgagees have began offering lower down payments, most believe that household formation should pick up its pace.

Many millenials, who had not been transitioning to homeownership, may now be able to jump in as buyers, not renters, especially with improvement in the labor market. First time buyers only hold a 29% share of the housing market, well below the average of 40 percent. As the economy has improved, several experts believe that these buyers will now do just that—buy.

Homeowner vacancy rate is low at 1.9 percent. Builders have shown increased confidence that they will have a buyer for their new construction.

Although the low rental vacancy rates have caused some issues throughout the country, the market has left positive hints at what could be in the future. The homeownership market could see big changes this year, as many renters will have to decide to buy or keep renting.





Bozeman public schools will once again be on the forefronts of national studies, as they have once again been selected to take part national research. Bozeman has already been selected for a highly competitive mental health program/study this year. Great news reached the district, when they found out that once again they had been selected for a prestigious program.

This study will take 72 Bozeman teachers through an intensive program to improve math teaching. The study is being led by researches at Montana State University, George Mason University, and Harvey Mudd College. The survey has been funded by the National Science Foundation, who offered a grant of 1.3 million dollars.

The project will study 3 public school districts—Bozeman, Fairfax County, and Pomona California. The project will take three years and will focus on teachers’ uses of mathematical modeling and how it affects student performance. Preliminary research has shown that students who work with real world problems feel less anxious about math and will be more likely to view the subject as useful and relevant. The universities hope to see improvement in around 4,000 students between the three districts.

Once again, the Bozeman School District has been selected for a high level educational study. The national radar continues to hover and focus on Bozeman for its outstanding academics, particularly as a public system. Winning such studies will only help make Bozeman faculty all the better at offering Bozeman children the highest quality education possible. Any parent looking at Bozeman should consider the positive momentum that the school district has built and how that may propel Bozeman as an educational haven in the future.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 39