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Americans Paying too Much for their Mortgages?

by Tim Hart

American home owners are missing out on lower mortgage payments according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Survey. Mel Watt, head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has gone on tour throughout the country, in order to spread awareness on the benefits and risks of refinancing their home. Mortgage rates hit their lowest level in years, at 4.1%, supporting the fact that now may be the time to refinance.

Home owners have had a chance during the recession to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), but now many Americans assume that HARP no longer applies to them. However, Mel Watt disagrees. Any homeowner who owes more money than their house is worth will struggle to find any lender who is willing to refinance. The HARP program makes this possibility much more likely. Mel Watt believes that almost 800,000 Americans are missing their opportunity to save serious money on their mortgage. In some cases, specific borrowers have used HARP to save $200 a month.

Please make sure to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of refinancing a home. Also make sure to re-check your credit to see if it has improved since you took out the loan as you may receive better rates.

Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/800000-homeowners-missing-lower-mortgage-payments/

Some Housing Market Info.

by Tim Hart

I read an article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle today by Jason Bacaj about the current housing market in Bozeman.

Here is what I found to be very interesting:

Houses on the high and low ends of the market are moving extremely quickly, while mid-priced homes have stayed on the market longer.

Any current listing at or below $350,000 will be expected to be sold within three and a half months.

Out of state migrants, investors and young professionals are driving the current market in Bozeman.

According to Erlenbush, high end homes are selling by more than 50 percent compared to 2013.

Definitely an interesting read and I’m interested to see if the market follows the trends they are predicting.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/economy/article_82d77262-360f-11e4-9428-0019bb2963f4.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_484710&utm_campaign=blox

Market Update: Gallatin County Single Family Residences

by Tim Hart

This month, we will highlight single family homes in the Gallatin County from the first two quarters of 2013 compared to the first two quarters of 2014.

Here are a few stats for all of Gallatin County for single family residences:

  • Units increased in the first two quarters by 8.5% (554 sold in 2013, 606 sold in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased in the first two quarters by 18.8% from $198,018,500+ in 2013 to $243,809,300+ in 2014
  • Average sale price also increased from $364,732 to $400,861.50
  • For 2014 through 7/31/2014
    • Sold volume already at $304,905,187 and 771 units

Summary – based on increases across the board in the first two quarters from 2013 to 2014, the 2014 market continues to shine, looking to surpass 2013 annual totals easily.

New Affordable Housing Option Coming to Bozeman

by Tim Hart

I just read a really great article on this new affordable housing area off Cottonwood Road. Homes have been selling even before they are finished building. There are some great options regarding mortgages as seen in the article below. Some listings are still available. Feel free to contact me at 406-570-5730 if you have any questions about them.

Here is the article: http://www.kbzk.com/news/new-affordable-housing-option-available-to-own-in-bozeman/

 

Longfellow Upgrades Nearly Complete for New School Year

by Tim Hart

Students at Longfellow Elementary in Bozeman will notice some changes to their school when they return to classes next week. This summer, Longfellow received 3.2 million dollars to renovate and update their school. The school focused on improving its energy efficiency, updating the building to modern codes and bringing healthier, fresher air to students. Changes include removing the old windows that had been there since the school’s founding in 1939. Now, the school has new, energy efficient classroom windows that will moderate temperatures in the school much better. The school has also added new air heating and ventilation in the hopes of creating a healthier environment, with fresher air for the students. A new elevator was also added to the school and will be ready at the beginning of September. Parents in the area can look forward to a healthier and more efficient school for their children this year. Anybody who would like to see the school and its new updates can visit Longfellow Thursday the 27th, at 3:30 pm.

Bozeman High School Get Highest ACT Scores in State

by Tim Hart

Bozeman High School received the highest average score for Montana’s high schools, scoring a 23.0 Composite score. Based against Montana’s 14 other AA ranked high schools, BHS also improved its own score from 2013 to 2014. Last year, Bozeman High School scored an average of a 22.5 on the ACT. Funny enough, Bozeman’s score last year still would have been high enough to take top honors again this year. The next highest school was Missoula Hellgate, who scored a 22.1 this year.

Bozeman High School may be able to hang its hat on its new test prep system. Before, the ACT had to be paid for and taken outside of school. However, starting last year, Bozeman began administering the exam to Juniors in high school and are given a full school day to take the test. Students who may have chosen not to take the test due cost, time, or interest, now do not have to worry and can at least make the attempt at going on to higher education. Any parent moving to Montana would want to consider the fact that BHS has made higher education accessible to all Bozeman students.

Not to mention… other Gallatin County Schools scored great too!

Three Forks 22.2

Manhattan 22.0

Belgrade 21.4

Willow Creek 20.4

 

Congrats to our next generation of college students!

Mortgage Rates Hit Lowest for 2014

by Tim Hart

After mortgage rates dropped in the U.S. for the second week in a row, borrowing costs hit their lowest rate yet for 2014. This week, the average rate shifted from 4.12% to 4.1% for a 30 year fixed mortgage. Although the percentage shift may be small, when added up over 30 years, even the smallest changes can greatly impact the cost of home ownership. A 30 year rate has not been this low since the end of October last year. 15 year mortgages also saw price reductions, slipping from 3.24% to 3.23% this month. The 30 year rate has been consistently declining since it had hit a two year high of 4.58% last August. Experts foresee the lower rates supporting and fostering home demand. July trends support these expert’s claims, as previously owned homes sold at an annualized rate of 5.15 million this July, up 2.4% from June. The longer the rates stay low, the more activity can be expected in the future of the US housing market.

Source: http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post--mortgage-rates-hit-new-2014-low

New Montesorri School Coming to Big Sky

by Tim Hart

A new school may be coming to Big Sky. The Big Sky Discovery School, a private Montesorri school, has been started by Big Sky locals Scott and Karen Maybee in an attempt to diversify the education options for Big Sky locals. The school will serve up to 12 students in first through third grade but will look to expand up to sixth grade in the next year. Both owners believe the new private school will only help enhance the quality of education available in Big Sky. As there is no Montessori school in Big Sky, Big Sky Discovery School will bring a less traditional education method to the area. The school’s calendar will mimic the local public elementary school, Ophir, but the prospect of a new school has received mixed reactions from locals. In general though, having multiple options for schooling can only help potential home-buyers feel more comfortable moving to a smaller town. The school aims to be environmentally sustainable while feeding their students only healthy, natural, organic food. The eco-friendly perspective may also align more with recently moved parents, who are looking to raise their children with these tenants in mind. Any home-buyer looking to move into Big Sky can only be heartened by having more educational options available for their children.

The Bozeman City Commission will vote on Monday night on whether to approve new changes for city street and tree maintenance fees. If passed, Bozeman homeowners will either have to pay more  or less per year, depending on where they live. The City Commission proposed a 6.39% increase to the overall maintenance budget, but not everyone will see the increases reflected in their taxes. When the city initially proposed the change, they called for a 10% increase to these taxes in order to bring in the necessary revenue. However, after implementing a new system and formula for gathering these fees, the city was able to lower the proposed increase to 6.39% while still bringing in the same revenue as before. The new formula will provide a more than $315,000 increase for street maintenance while adding $9,700 dollars to the tree maintenance budget. Some Bozeman property owners will see their bills be less than before. Fifteen percent of property owners in the City of Bozeman will see their fees increase.

Gallatin County Economy Continues to Thrive

by Tim Hart

Despite the fact that Montana’s economic growth rate has slowed in recent years, Gallatin County continues to maintain high economic growth. The county’s growth was driven by wages earned in the construction, manufacturing and service industries. From 2012 to 2013, the county added 2,500 jobs. That number was more than double any other county in Montana. Unfortunately, the amount of wages brought in was proportionally low at 28 million. Experts believe the low numbers simply reflect the generally lower wages that are given to these three sectors. But, the growth in the county still dwarfed the growth in any other Montana county.

For real estate, Gallatin County continued to look strong, coming in second for the most new housing startups. Gallatin County has plenty of potential for continued growth in this sector, as this data still only reaches to 76% of the pre-recession peak.

Source: Bacaj, Jason. “Gallatin economy growing, state slowing.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 6 August 2014.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 12

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