Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 27

This month, we will highlight single-family residence Quarter 3 sales in the Gallatin County. We will compare quarter 3 numbers from 2012, 2013 and 2014.

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

  • Unit sales increased in Quarter 3 from 2012 to 2013 by 16.83% (346 sold in 2012, 416 sold in 2013)
  • Unit sales increased in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014 by 7.56% (416 sold in 2013, 450 sold in 2014)
  • Unit sales increased in Quarter 3 over the 2012 to 2014 span by 23.1%
  • Dollar volume increased in Quarter 3 from 2012 to 2013 by 23.09% ($115,083,995 in 2012, $141,655,926 in 2013)
  • Dollar volume increased in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014 by 30.1% ($141,644,926 in 2013, $185,465,117 in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased in Quarter 3 over the 2012 to 2014 span by 38.0%
  • For all of 2014 through 9/30/2014
    • Sold volume at $429,274, 429 and 1056 units

Summary – Gallatin County and the Bozeman area continues to trend up in a key housing indicator – single-family homes for the last two years.   The Gallatin Valley is growing at a healthy pace.

Bozeman Purchases More Chrome Books for Students

by Tim Hart

Bozeman’s school computers just got a little more reflective as educators have made the switch to Chrome (yes, I know they aren’t actually chrome but I couldn’t help myself). Bozeman elementary schools will receive 330 new Chrome books for their students following its approval from the Bozeman School Board on Tuesday. Board members voted 7-0 to spend $111,061 on the new computers with funds from the technology property tax levy.

The Bozeman School District has set a goal to have at least 1 set of Chrome Books for every 4th and 5th grade class in every elementary school. Although, they haven’t reached that goal, the Board got 330 computers closer.

Ideally, teachers will no longer have to schedule computer time anymore, making it much easier to teach technology in the classroom. Students have been learning to write on computers, but most teachers believe kids need all the practice they can get to improve their keyboarding skills. Teachers also hope that students with disabilities such as ADD might find a potential outlet to better learn.

Schools need to continue to stay up to date on technology in order to properly educate children in technology. Its great to see Bozeman’s continued focus in providing its schools with all the tools they need to provide quality education to its students.



Snowfill Dog Park Expanding Trail System

by Tim Hart

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust has spearheaded a recent effort to expand the Snowfill Dog Park north of Bozeman. The GVLT will turn the 1.25 mile one-trail loop into a 2 trail, figure eight design. Visitors to the park in the last week have been turned away, disappointed, while trucks delivered over a mile of gravel to build the new trail. But hopefully by this weekend, the park will be up and running with the new additions in place.

The park received two grants, one from the Bozeman City Parkland Improvement grant, and the other from the Montana Recreational Trails Program grant, allowing them to fund the expansion. The park will now be able to use a much larger portion of its 37-acre park. The new trail will follow utilize the outer edges of the park much better than the current trail.

The GVLT has focused their efforts on growing the park to handle its growing popularity. As one of only six off-leash dog parks in Bozeman, the Snowfill Dog Park provides dog owners a chance to let their dogs off leash without any worry of losing them. Because of other recent improvements made on the park, the GVLT does not foresee any more improvements to the park, unless its much farther down the road. Other dog parks have and will continue to see updates in the nearer future.

Bozeman real estate home buyers who are looking to purchase property in the north of town will be happy to know that they will have a place to walk their dog, no matter its size. Having a town that cares about the health and safety of the community’s pets is an under appreciated aspect of any city and one that Bozeman excels in. The park’s off-leash rules provide freedom and less worry to dog owners, while allowing the dogs to let loose all their extra energy.


New 15 year Mortgage with No Down Payment Unveiled

by Tim Hart

A non-profit company is testing a new mortgage idea that could impact mortgages from here on out. The company is offering low to moderate income home buyers a 15 year mortgage with little to no money down. The loan, called the Wealth Building Home Loan, differs from a traditional 30 year fixed rate loan because income is weighed much more heavily than in a traditional loan. The WHBL gives a generous credit requirement and allows buyers to build their equity much faster than a standard mortgage.

But the loan truly differs from a standard loan because it focuses on paying off the principal first, not the interest. According to its creators, in the first three years 77% of each monthly mortgage payment pays off the principal, creating huge amounts of equity for home owners looking to sell in a short period of time. For a standard 30 year loan, in those years 68% of the payment goes towards paying the interest, leaving buyers with little equity comparatively.

Now obviously, there has to be some take to the give in this loan. Due to its short term and focus on principal, a WBHL will always have higher monthly payments than a standard mortgage. But the return on equity and 15 years less of monthly payments may be a worthy trade off for higher payments initially. The WBHL will have its first test run in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was chosen as the initial test market.

More recent articles on mortgages:

Mortgage Rates Below 4%

Wealthy Paying Lower Mortgage Rates

Americans Overpaying for Mortgages?



Subdivisions Will Now Need Water Rights to Drill Home Wells

by Tim Hart

A county judge has put a stop to subdivisions unrestricted use of exempt wells in the state. Jeff Sherlock nullified a 1993 Department of Natural Resources and Conservation law that allowed developers of subdivisions to drill an unlimited number of small, home wells without needing to get a water rights permit. According to the 1993 law, so long as the wells were not connected, a subdivision could pump 1,000 acre-feet of water without a permit. Farmers and ranchers using the same amount of water had to apply for a water right or permit to use state water.

The fight over subdivision water rights began in 2009 when a few Billings ranches asked for a rule change, due to a lack of available water from nearby subdivision use. Under Montana law, anyone using state water needs a water right and people with the oldest water rights get priority. However, a loophole in the books allowed wells pumping less than 10 acre-feet a year to not need permits. When the law was drafted in the 70’s, there just weren’t that many of them. But recently, subdividers had used the law as a way to avoid either paying a city for their water, or attaining a water permit.

Senior water rights holders can ask other junior water rights holders to use less water when it is short, but they have no way to make exempt wells curtail their water use. But now, the judge has ruled against the law, making subdivisions hook up to city water or get their hands on a permit.

This law will have an impact on real estate development in Bozeman and Montana. How it impacts new subdivisions is yet to be seen, but homeowners moving into these subdivisions should be aware of the updated law.




City to Place More Focus on Small City Parks

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman city commission heard recommendations from the Park and Recreation department concerning the lack of small city parks in easily accessible areas. The city already had a plan in place to increase the amount of parkland in Bozeman, but most of their efforts focused on real estate developments on the edges of town.

However, the Parks and Recreation Department reminded the city that Bozeman has become much more dense, with the small infill developments being approved by the city. An infill project is a small real estate development of 30 or less units that basically fills the “open holes” within the city itself. Unfortunately, when developers fill these spaces with new homes, the land that had been considered public domain before, now ceases to provide any park services to the community. In addition to this, when the city becomes more dense, added strain is put on the already existing parks in the area.

When developers fill these holes and do not leave at least an acre for public park space, the city can take cash instead of the land. Mayor Krauss made his position clear that he would much rather take the land than the money, even for appreciation values, if nothing else.

The commissioners verbally agreed that all subdivisions need to contribute land, first and foremost, but that they would accept cash when no better alternative was available. But, no official decision has been made regarding the issue, and the Parks and Recreation Department will return with more specifics before an official decision is made.


Story Mill Park Begins Development

by Tim Hart

Work has just started on a new park being built in the story mill area. Story Mill Community Park will be a 54 acre park near Bridger and Griffin Drive. The park is still in its conceptual stages but organizers hope the park will one day provide picnic areas, shelters, climbing boulders, playground equipment, fields, a splash pad, outdoor ampitheatre and a fenced dog park.

So far, workers have focused on removing buildings from the area and opening up more space. They have already removed a few mobile homes from the no longer functioning Bridger View Trailer Court as well as a few old farm buildings. They will also clean the East Gallatin River where they are adding vegetation and landscaping the river to look more natural.

Creators of the park hope to connect the park with walking trails in the area, better connecting the North and South side of town. Ideally, the park will also provide a 2.1 mile walking/biking path for those wanting to walk or bike to the “M” and drinking horse trails. The park would be open to the public starting summer of 2017 at the earliest.

Residents in the area will see a marked improvement to the look and utility of the area where the park will go. Proximity to parks can add a lot of value to a real estate listing.



MSU Achieving Goals and Attracting Students

by Tim Hart

Montana State University has already met several goals it had set for itself to eclipse in 2019. MSU has exceeded its targeted numbers for online courses, enrolling more students into the 2-year Gallatin College and raising international student numbers. In addition to that, MSU has closed the gap for its enrollment goals. This year the school will host 15,421 students, a new record in enrollment, and they hope to reach 16,000 students by 2019. The graduate school has also grown to 2,050 students, with a goal of reaching 2,350 students in 5 years. The growth can be seen as a positive trend for the school, as it continues to set new academic and enrollment standards and meeting them.

Some faculty had expressed concern that the growth of the school would lower its quality, but new numbers released by MSU suggest otherwise. MSU will have its brightest class in 25 years, possibly more, but the figures do not really exist before that time. On average, the freshman class scored a 25.3 on the ACT, 1720 on the SAT, and had a GPA of 3.43 in high school. The Honors College excelled, attracting students with an average score of 29.5 on the ACT and maintaining a 3.84 GPA in high school. With the size and quality of MSU increasing, the school seems to have a bright future ahead.



Great Weekend of Charity and Service in Bozeman

by Tim Hart

I was so happy to pick up my newspaper this weekend and read about all the great work going on in Bozeman this last weekend. This weekend, the American Cancer Society put on their 3rd Annual (locally) Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. About 100 people gathered for the non-competitive 3 mile walk to raise money for breast cancer research. The event is designed to help kick-off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event raised $5,000 dollars to be donated to breast cancer research. I love finding out about how active our community can be with the right motivation!

This weekend, the Annual Fix Up Festival also took place. The Fix Up Festival is an event designed to aid elderly, disabled, or low income residents in town who, for whatever reason, cannot tackle needed construction projects themselves. The event was sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club, who also found the foremen and volunteers to take on the construction tasks. In general, volunteers went out to make roof repairs, add weather proofing to houses and increasing handicap accessibility within homes. All the projects took a day or less of work and cost $2,300 or less. The festival received 30 applicants and 12 were chosen based on the level of their need.

It was really nice to be reminded of how community centered Bozeman is and how friendly a Bozeman neighbor always seems to be. I love knowing that if I ever needed help, my community would be there to help me get through those obstacles, rather than let me slip through the cracks.





Montana’s Fish Wildlife and Parks department has updated several programs in order to improve relationships between public lands, private property owners and hunters. The FWP’s goals were to maximize hunting access for hopeful hunters while improving communication between the three mentioned groups. They hope to address both landowner needs and hunter compliance.

In addition to these goals, the FWP focused on fixing their Home to Hunt license, which helped provide better hunting access to non resident hunters with Montana based family members. The program initially allowed hunters to get a non-resident tag without having to enter a drawing. They would pay full price, but that money would go towards securing more access to Montana lands. But in 2013, the Montana legislature created the Native Montana License, which, essentially did the same thing, but for a cheaper price and the money did not go to securing additional hunting land. Now, the FWP has merged the two programs, lowering the price of the Home to Hunters program, but still using that money for programs, not for profit.

Private landowners should see an improvement in the laws that protect their lands. The FWP has focused on communication between hunters and landowners, establishing a more regimented system to improve their on going relationship


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 27