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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 30

The Montana Department of Transportation will donate $2.1 million dollars throughout the state in order to purchase additional vehicles and equipment. Both Bozeman and Big Sky were chosen to receive additional funding. Funding was awarded through a competitive grant application, ranking applicants by need and fund availability.

The Human Resource Development Council of Bozeman is receiving money a new 40 passenger bus as well as a new 17 passenger bus from the MDT. The agency currently runs the streamline bus service in Bozeman, a free public bus system that  has routes throughout the city. The agency also runs Galavan, a service providing transportation specifically for the elderly and disabled.

Reach Inc., a non-profit organization in Bozeman that provides a myriad of services to aduts with developmental disabilities, will receive a 5 person van.

The town of Big Sky will receive funds for a 45 passenger motor coach.

Sixteen communities in Montana will receive funding in total, including Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Whitehall. Additional facilities and carports will be built across the state with the remaining money. Earlier this year, the MDT had given $7.8 million across the state to deal with the operating costs of these transportation agencies.

For local Bozeman residents, the addition of two new busses will help alleviate logistical concerns for both Streamline and Galavan. Additional busses only add to a solid infastructure, creating a more reliable, punctual transportation service. Citizens reliant on public transportation in Bozeman can only see the additions as great news, helping to better (sorry for this one) streamline the bus system and improve its reliability.

Source: Chronicle Staff. “Agencies Receive Money for Transportation Improvements.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 28 September 2014.

I read a great article in the business journal of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle today. In it, Steve Hample of Hample and Peck ( a trust/banking organization) outlined what may have set Bozeman apart from the rest of Montana on its road to recovery from the fiscal collapse in 2008.

Hample began with the standard reasons for why Bozeman may have been more likely to recover from economic decline. Such reasons included the scenic area, our clean air, the low crime, the good schools, the presence of MSU and a continually growing tourism industry. I’d agree with these reasons, but I appreciated how Hample took the story farther than the obvious.

Over the last two years, Montana has ranked first on the “Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.” The index correlates the ratio of new businesses formed compared to the size of the population. Now granted, Montana always does very well or very poorly in most surveys based on per capita, so I thought maybe this one was similar.

However, Hample noted that the other two states that have always ranked close to us in this index were Colorado and California. Both have respectable populations, as well as the great mystery to any Montanan, cities. Hample suggests, then, that our number-one ranking is not due to the rural aspect of living in Montana, but instead the quality of the individuals coming to Bozeman.

Now, of course, what came first? The chicken or the egg? Does a scenic area, clean air, low crime and good schools attract better, smarter people, that then leads to a better, smarter town? Or do these factors actually create better, smarter people, that then lead to improvements in the latter. It probably is both and probably doesn’t really matter either way, so long as the improvement continues!

But what I loved about the article was how Hample suggested that we may have actually already passed a specific tipping point for continued economic success and less hardships in the future. Hample pointed to the presence of Right Now Technologies in Bozeman, which attracted many high-tech individuals and support-staff who would not have been in Bozeman before the business started. Some of their staff went on to start their own tech based companies and so on.

Our airport has now become the biggest in the state. With such good skiing and proximity to Yellowstone, it’s surprising it’s taken this long! But having such an airport at our disposal attracts more people, and who knows who may stick around after their visit? Now, the obvious factors, good schools, low crime etc., almost see their influence increase with the increased exposure to higher numbers of people

Essentially, Hample states that we have ascended into a different league, “like a football team moving to a higher division.” It took a lot of work to get over the barrier, but since Bozeman has, it now has access to a myriad of benefits that other towns simply cannot access. I hope we can continue such a trend and potentially hop another one of these economic barriers as Bozeman continues to grow into the future.

Hample, Steve. “Enjoying Success.” Business Journal for Southwest Montana. 23 September 2014.

Trees can add a lot to any property. Most times, homeowners are not thinking about the addition of dollar bills to their wallet when they are looking to landscape a home. However, planting trees in a well thought out manner can save a homeowner a lot of money in the future, while adding value to his/her property.

Trees can provide economic benefits, helping surround your home and keep warmth in during the winters. According to the US Department of Energy, homeowner’s who landscape for energy efficiency can expect a return on investment in under 8 years. A well landscaped outside can add thousands to the value of a home. Sometimes it’s more about the initial impression of a home that drives a sale, rather than its form and function. Trees can also reduce soil erosion around the home, keeping it that much safer if any natural disaster or similar event took place.

Northwest Energy provides some great tips and tricks to plant trees effectively for your property. I’ve added the ones that stuck out to me below:

1. Choose a tree that’s appropriate for your climate and space.

2.Plan where you plant. Homeowners should make sure to consider the entire life-span of a tree when they plant. Northwest energy states that on average you should plant trees 15 to 20 feet from your home and powerlines. Trees that grow taller than 40 feet should be planted at least 35 feet away. A misplanted tree could damage your siding, roof, or windows in the future when it grows too big and rubs against the home.

3. Trimming is a homeowner’s responsibility, but any homeowner can still call Northwest Energy and they will stop by to make sure it is safe.

4. Call 811 for underground utility lines at least 2 days before you dig and plant at least 25 feet from such lines.

Trees add initial home value but they can also take away from future expenses. They’re always a pretty addition to a home’s exterior and, of course, they keep our oxygen fresh and our water pure. What’s not to love about them? With a little planning, any homeowner can be adding value to their property with a few tall, green additions outside.

 

Sources: http://www.northwesternenergy.com/safety-reliability/safety/trees-together

http://www.kbzk.com/news/northwestern-energy-volunteers-plant-trees-in-bozeman/

Marketing Update: Gallatin Valley Townhomes and Condominiums

by Tim Hart

This month, we will highlight condominiums and townhomes 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 condos and townhomes:

  • Units increased in the first two quarters by 27.5% (244 sold in 2013, 311 sold in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased in the first two quarters by 55.8% from $56,339,593 in 2013 to $87,800,977 in 2014
  • Average sale price also increased from $234,833 to $280,586
  • For 2014 through 8/31/2014
    • Sold volume already at $117,936,021 and 438 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.

 

Montana State University had 15,421 students enroll at MSU for the 2014-15 school year, its highest in its history. That was the 8th time in 9 years that MSU has set a new personal record for enrollment. 127 more students enrolled this year as oppose to last, a 1% increase.  The university has increased enrollment by 2,657 students, or 21% in the last 5 years. Currently, MSU is still the largest campus in the state, and the additional students could add more than 1 million dollars in additional tuition money. MSU officials pointed to new, coming buildings to deal with the influx of students. A new college of business building will open next year, adding additional classrooms and the school has invested $2.3 million into instruction and adding more classes to help students graduate on time.

For anyone considering purchasing a home in Bozeman, the prospect of more students means more tenants. A cheap college rental can really help with monthly bills, and if you read my previous article, there currently is next to no rental spaces available in the city. Feel free to give me a call if you’d like to discuss the potential of such a rental. 406-570-5730

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/montana_state_university/article_65ff592a-4299-11e4-9227-5b0634570ab1.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_649307&utm_campaign=blox

New Subdivision Coming for Bozeman Real Estate Market

by Tim Hart

Construction workers are updating and extending both Ferguson Avenue and Cattail Street to make room for a new subdivision, the Four Points. Crews started work on both roads on Wednesday. Once finished, Ferguson will be the only road between 19th Avenue and Love Lane that will directly connect Baxter and Huffine Lane. The west side of Bozeman has become very popular due to the decent prices of homes in that area, coupled with its solid infrastructure and transportation. The Four points subdivision will be adding several muli-family units. The already existing Sundance apartments will be adding 195 new residences. Bozemanites should see improved access and better traffic distribution with the improvement to the two roads. In terms of real estate, Bozemanites should expect to see a lot of new homes and apartments, with many looking for new occupants.

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/news/new-development-will-bring-road-changes-to-west-side-of-bozeman/

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/

No Space for Rent in Bozeman

by Tim Hart

The results of a 2014 Bozeman rental housing survey were presented to the city on Wednesday. The findings? That the vacancy rate in Bozeman is non-existent and the only way someone may be able to stay the night in town, may be a hotel. The survey collected data from 2,554 total rental units within city limits. Half of the properties were market rate properties and the rest were either subsidized housing or non-residence hall student housing i.e. campus owned homes. Not a single home reported a vacancy when surveyed. The summary also found that of the two subsidized properties that recorded waiting lists, 155 applicants were still left in line. From those numbers, the survey safely concluded that the number of applicants far surpassed the number of vacant rentals in Bozeman.

Currently, the average price of an efficiency unit, like a studio, rents for $549 a month. One bedroom homes rent for $597; two bedroom homes rent for $817; and three bedroom homes rent fro $1,035 a month.

The summary did guard its readers about the small sample size of the data because most of the data was drawn from a very slim segment of the market. The survey was commissioned as part of Bozeman’s affordable housing plan that was adopted in 2012.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/article_f76c7172-3939-11e4-b994-abee9f1df5d3.html#disqus_thread

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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 30

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