Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18

Bozeman Commissioners Use Eminent Domain for Traffic Improvement

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

After flirting with eminent domain for the second time in a year, this time, commissioners approved and will move forward with plans to use eminent domain to acquire an easement at the corner of Davis and Baxter Lanes.

The city has been trying to widen the two roads and add crosswalks and signals to the intersection. More often than not, owners adjacent to these streets would lose part of their land to the road expansion. Usually, the city and property owners can strike a deal in payment for land, but sometimes owners do not want to give up a piece of their property.

Eminent domain is when a government body forcibly purchases private land from an individual for the overall benefit of the public.

In this case, the owner’s of a 5 acre parcel at 5001 E Baxter Lane, did not want to sell 19,000 square feet of land to the city for the $38,400 dollars offered. When the owner’s did not accept the city’s offer, City Commissioners chose to use eminent domain to force the sale of the land, allowing them to improve the congestion.

Commissioners did say they believed that eminent domain was the only option remaining to them in order to fix the intersection and its heavy traffic. Here lies an example of the growing pains Bozeman will continue to face as it expands.



Commissioners Delay Vote on Affordable Housing Plan

by Tim Hart

I wanted to quickly apprise Bozeman locals and potential residents of the impending decision Bozeman Commissioners need to make regarding affordable housing. On Monday, Commissioners heard arguments from all sides on whether they should move forward with an inclusionary zoning proposal that would try to lower costs of home within Bozeman city limits.

Commissioners received solid opposition from members in both the real estate and building industries.  Both the Gallatin Association of Realtors and the Southwest Montana Building Association raised concerns about the new proposal. These two groups worried the proposal would set back a rebounding Bozeman housing market while also encouraging sprawl outside of city limits to avoid the new laws.

Even the HRDC, a proponent of inclusionary zoning, took issue with the fact that it only helped the most affluent families who still qualified for affordable housing. But, the HRDC did still support the proposal as it stood.

For now, commissioners have tabled a vote on the proposal, with no deadline for when it may reappear for a vote. As of now, the Bozeman housing market will carry on as it had been.




Tourist Spending in Montana Close to $4 Billion

by Tim Hart

According to a study released by the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, tourists visiting Montana spent nearly 4 billion dollars in 2014. The report showed that 10.89 million visitors came to Montana to enjoy the many attractions the state showcases.

For Gallatin County, tourists spent 662 million in Gallatin County, directly leading to 6,740 jobs. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, more than 2,800 jobs were also indirectly supported in the county, leading to an additional $347 million in spending in the state.

Currently, Gallatin County is leading and among the leaders in population growth and economic growth. Some experts have attributed the growth to the fact that the Gallatin County has some of the highest percentage of accessible public land in the state. Naturally, there are a wide variety of reasons for the County’s positive economic outlook, but having natural attractions will help bring in an additional inflow of money. Tourism, of course, directly reflects out-of-state visitors desire to also share, see and enjoy these areas of Montana. In 2014, state park attendance and Yellowstone park visitors saw increases in tourism numbers and spending. Bozeman has also become a ski hub for many skiers in the United States and abroad.

The county's access to an international airport also helps make visiting the Gallatin County a little easier than other places and Bozeman has done a good job adding additional hotels for its growing industry.

Tourists to the Gallatin County spent nearly double that of visitors to Missoula County. Flathead County was the only county to beat the Gallatin County in tourism spending. $668 million was spent and it helped support 6,800 jobs.

As Bozeman residents have probably deduced and as the Chronicle noted, the tourism industry can generate long-term residents. According to a report by University of Montanan’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, 140,000 people—more than 1/10 of the total population—moved to state after vacationing here or working a seasonal job. So long as the Gallatin County continues to attract new, permanent residents, various markets will continue to see improvement – real estate among them.





Gallatin County Market Update - August 2015

by Tim Hart

This month, we will compare single-family residence sales in all of Gallatin County for 2013, 2014 and 2015 through the second quarter. Here are a few stats for Gallatin County single-family residences:

  • Total Quarter 1 and 2 sales increased by 9.39% from 2013 to 2014 (554 sold in 2013, 606 sold in 2014)
  • Total Quarter 1 and 2 sales increased by 10.09% from 2014 to 2015 (606 sold in 2014, 667 sold in 2015)
  • Quarter 1 and 2 dollar volume increased by 23.12% from 2013 to 2014 ($198,018,584 in 2013, 243,809,312 in 2014)
  • Quarter 1 and 2 dollar volume increased by 18.74% from 2014 to 2015 (243,809,312 in 2014, 289,510,813 in 2015)
  • Homes stayed on the market 37.62% shorter in 2014 than in 2013 (155.5 days on the market in 2013, 97.5 days on the market in 2014)
  • Homes have been staying on the market 1.54% longer in 2015 (99 days on the market in 2015, 97.5 days on market in 2014)

Summary – Through Quarter 2, numbers suggest the Gallatin County Housing Market is growing and healthy. I want to note that Quarter 2 dollar volume in 2015 ($186,513,135) came very close to the 2013 Quarter 1 and 2 combined volumes ($198,018,584). More homes are being sold at higher prices across the valley. The overall Gallatin County market is very healthy.

United States Foreclosure Numbers Keep Dropping

by Tim Hart

The total foreclosed on homes has dropped to its lowest level since December 2007 according to CoreLogic’s May 2015 National Foreclosure Report. The report states that the number of foreclosures nationwide dropped to 41,000 in May. Today’s foreclosure totals are now 65% lower than the number of completed foreclosures in 2010.

The report continues a similar trend reported early in the year, when foreclosures fell by 27% in February and completed foreclosures fell by 15% year over year. 

Mortgages also have seen big drops in delinquent payments. Mortgages in serious delinquency—or mortgages that are 90 days or more overdue—dropped by 23% in May based on year-over-year totals. Currently, 1.3 million mortgages are delinquent. Sounds big—but that 3.5% rate is the lowest seen since January of 2008.

Having both lower foreclosure totals and less delinquent payments reflect positively on the current housing market and overall United States economic outlook. As more people have found consistent jobs and as housing prices have recovered and provided equity to many homeowners, foreclosures and delinquent mortgages have gone down. Having less people defaulting on their loans will create a more balanced, deeper, less volatile housing market—something buyers and sellers alike can benefit from.




Bozeman Airport Reflects Town's Growth

by Tim Hart

Bozeman’s Airport, much like the town itself, has seen fast growth over the past few years. After continuing its population growth and seeing high tourism numbers, its no wonder Bozeman has seen increased activity at its airport.

Last year, commercial passenger traffic increased 15 percent. Each month in 2015 has seen higher numbers than the previous month. Both of these facts contribute to the narrative that Bozeman is growing quickly and has become one of the most sought after locations in Montana.

Bozeman has been attracting airline travelers for vacation and for permanent stay, or perhaps a little of both.

Bozeman has had some of the highest wages in Montana along with a reasonable cost of living, while staying safe. Coupled with its livability and amazing access to public lands, it’s a very attractive place for people looking to call Bozeman home. Both Bozeman Public Schools and Montana State University have seen rising enrollments, reflecting the desire of many to call Bozeman home.

Tourism in Bozeman has also seen large growth. Yellowstone National Park and nearby State Parks saw increased numbers in 2014 while Bozeman was honored as one the top ski destinations in the world.

After the airport reached 1 million passengers last year, it announced it would need to expand again to deal with increased numbers. Now, it continues to see even higher numbers. Bozeman’s access to an international airport has been partly attributed to its recent economic success. Both help eachother, attracting great people and allowing Bozeman to sell itself. Once the airport expands, local residents can expect more tourists and more people looking to stay for an extended time.





Pet Friendly Bozeman Adds New 20+ Acre Dog Park

by Tim Hart

The Gallatin County and Run Dog Run, a local non-profit, will be creating a new off-leash dog park that organizers are calling the best dog park in Montana. The new park will be in Gallatin Regional Park and will be 23 acres in total. The first phase, which is on track to be completed by September 2015, will be 13 acres in size.

According to those working on the project, the new park will be a thick slice of doggy heaven. The park will include ponds, docks for diving and playing fetch, berms, shaded areas and hills. The whole park will be fully fenced, allowing dog owners to take their dogs off leash without worry about nearby traffic etc.

With dog-related improvements throughout Bozeman over the past year, the city and county have really made a true effort to turn Bozeman into doggy paradise. Run Dog Run has helped start 4 off leash dog parks in Bozeman, including the recent 2-acre off-leash park at Rocky Creek Farm. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust also worked on improving and expanding Snowfill, the off-leash dog park north of town.

With the west side of Bozeman still experiencing rapid growth, all Bozeman dog owners as well as dog owners looking to move to Bozeman will be relieved and pleased to hear that the city has provided multiple places across town for dog owners to exercise their pets. Having a pet, for many, is a staple within any household. Having a town and neighborhood that are dog friendly can do a lot for a homebuyer choosing one city or neighborhood over another. For buyers and sellers alike, having solid park infrastructure with pet friendly areas can be a major asset when it comes time to list a property for sale.




Renters across the United States have been struggling to deal with rising rental prices and now 1 in 4 uses at least half their income towards their rent and utility bills. Sometimes, this kind of statistic may be warped due to the high percentage of Americans living in sought after cities like New York and San Francisco. But it’s not just a few states that are pulling down the nation. Minus Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming, every state had at least 20% of its residents using more than half their income to rent.

In census data taken by Enterprise Community Partners, the number of renters who felt some form of strain from growing home expenses has grown 26 percent since 2007. That’s 11.25 million additional home renters.

Income rates have not grown at the same pace as rental rates, making it one of the key factors driving rental affordability. Income for renters only grew at 11% in the last 5 years whereas rent has risen by 15% on average over the same time period.

Another factor has been that vacancy rates have been falling for rentals since 2013. At the start of 2015, rental vacancy was at 6.93%--far lower than the 10.9% vacancy rate seen in the third quarter of 2013. In Bozeman specifically, rental rates were effectively zero at the start of Fall semester for Montana State University in 2014.

Renting continues to be an issue for the United States, Montana and the Gallatin Valley alike. Hopefully, more than a few of these renters will be able to transition to homeownership, helping free up rentals for others while lowering the demand.




After two years of construction, the new College of Business will open on Thursday for MSU students and the public alike. The building will help open up study space for a rising student population while improving the college’s and overall University’s reputation in business and entrepreneurship.

Jabs Hall, the name of the new building, cost 18.5 million to complete. It will be home for (on average) around 1,250 business majors for Fall 2015.

MSU has been hard at work to expand and improve campus. Bozeman and MSU have been attracting more young students than they ever have before. In order to keep up, MSU has been hard at work on expanding and improving the campus. MSU is currently working on the new Engineering building, which it plans to be the new campus hub. Due to the new building wiping out a major parking area, MSU has also had to line up a new parking garage in the coming future.

Jabs Hall stands out from most of the other buildings on campus for its environmental efficiency—a winner with students, environmentalists and tax payers alike! It is the 2nd building to win the LEED “gold” certification due to its green and earth friendly features. The building will maintain its heat from 52 geothermal wells  while cooling itself with night air. All of the lights are energy efficient and all the countertops in the building are made from recycled materials.

MSU continues to make efforts improving their reputation as a center for education in Montana. They have been hard at work improving their business, medical and engineering programs while expanding for the new students attracted by these changes. Things continue to look up for MSU and therefore Bozeman!




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, 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.



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18