Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 33

Three new conservation easements have been approved by the Gallatin County Commission to better preserve the rivers in the valley. (What are conservation easements? Click here to read more) The three properties that were granted easements will all end up protecting different sections of either the Gallatin or Madison river.

As more people move to the Gallatin Valley and as more open spaces are filled, oftentimes agricultural land will be lost. Conservation easements help protect the open spaces from sub-development in the future.

One easement for a 185 acre farm along the Gallatin River will now help protect the river for its wild and human visitors. Conservation easements represent a very modern dilemma between economic prosperity and environmental and agricultural conservation. On this particular 185 acre farm, if, in the future, the owner decides to sell the property, it will be worth around $665,000 dollars less than without the easement. But the easement protects the land from subdivision for all subsequent owners, hence the dilemma.

Another easement was granted on the Madison River for a 188 acre property. More than half of the property is floodplain so its very useful to a high number of bird species.

Finally, an 86 acre property along the East Gallatin River will receive a conservation easement. The commission did not have to approve a grant for the easement, because the owner was able to  absorb the lost monetary value of the easement, and take a one time tax credit on the loss.

It is nice to see the Gallatin County, and the landowners living in it, have a concern for future development and growth of the area. So long as city and county leaders think ahead and continue to provide easements for important areas in the valley, they should be able to maintain a balance between the area’s growth and maintaining what makes Montana truly special.



December Gallatin County Market Update

by Tim Hart

This month, we will highlight townhome and condo Quarter 3 sales in the Gallatin County. Here are a few stats for all of Gallatin County condos and townhomes:

  • Unit sales remained true in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014. (208 sold in 2013, 208 sold in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014 by 18.2% ($44,963,205 in 2013, $53,127,269 in 2014)
  • Average sales price also rose in Quarter 3 from 2013 to 2014 by 18.2% ($216,169 in 2013, $255,420 in 2014)
  • Sales for all townhomes and condos in 2014 through 10/31/2014
    • Sold volume at $158,723,701 and 592 units

Summary – Gallatin County and the Bozeman area saw a definitive rise in townhome and condo prices over the last calendar year.  The Gallatin Valley appears to be growing at a healthy pace.


Tim's Know Your Homes 101 - Colonial

by Tim Hart


Colonial Architecture became very popular in the Americas in the early 1700’s. Very old historic buildings often carry the colonial style. Harvard and Brown both have many of these buildings on their campus.

For residential homes, the most distinct and most famous colonial is the Georgian style. Georgian colonials stand out for their square symmetrical shape with matching windows. Georgian colonials’ windows tend to be equally spaced with 9 or 12 panes within each window. Most Georgian homes have 5 windows across the top row and 2 windows and the door on the bottom row. The door, in general, tends to be paneled with a decorative trim above it, and also has paned glass. Many colonials have double chimneys but most colonials in the United States will be much less stately than those found in Britain.

Bozeman Armory to Become New Downtown Hotel

by Tim Hart


A new hotel will be coming to Bozeman—and no—it won’t be on North 19th. No, this hotel, called the Etha, will be right in downtown Bozeman and will be moving into (and on top of) the old Armory Building on Mendenhall.

Investors hope the hotel can become more of a buzzing downtown hub, rather than a simple hotel. The hotel will have 8 stories, 102 rooms and include a 10,000 square foot ballroom for special events. The hotel will cater to the luxury market, aiming to provide travelers with all the expected perks and amenities. Building plans also called for a gastro-style pub/restaurant, which would help make the hotel a destination location for locals, as well as travelers.

Plans had initially stalled on the building, due to the bid knocking out a large chunk of the investors’ budget. The project in total will cost more than 22 million dollars.

Over the last five months, investors have worked through issues regarding the cost and permitting of the building and are ready to move forward. This winter, the hotel will fund the interior demolition of the building and they will then start building upwards in the spring. The Etha should be open by mid 2016, assuming all goes to plan.

A large real estate investment such as the Etha Hotel highlights the growing consumer and investor confidence in Bozeman. As Bozeman continues to recover from the 2008 recession, other investments similar to the Etha will not be unexpected.



New-Home Buyers Walk and Bike More Than the Rest

by Tim Hart

Today I stumbled upon an article with a really out there fact that I felt like I had to share. Apparently, residents of newly built homes are more likely to bike or walk as a form of transportation than homeowners of previously owned homes. According to the article 44% of residents in newly constructed homes either bike or walk compared to 40% for houses in general.

In general, new-home buyers are more likely to walk than bike, if they were to  choose one exclusively. A quarter of those surveyed walk but don’t bike while fewer than 4% said they bike and don’t walk.

Is there any correlation that can be attributed to this strange phenomenon? As I read, I came to nearly the same conclusions as the article. Its not really about the people moving into new homes, rather than the amenities generally provided in newer neighborhoods. Sixty one percent of new homes reported that their neighborhood has sidewalks, whereas only 55.7% of all houses say they have one. New homes are more likely to be built in new neighborhoods, where builders are planning ahead by building walkways and bikelanes. New homes are also more likely to have well-lit streets to make walkers and bikers safer from both traffic and crime.

I really enjoy little facts like these ones because although new homes and walking don’t seem to relate at first, a little deeper digging suggests they might. Just remember, when out purchasing real estate, to consider some of the small details that may make a big difference in your lifestyle down the line.


New Home Sales and Prices Rise in September/October

by Tim Hart

New home sales, their price and the inventory of brand new homes in the United States have all increased. New home sales rose by 0.7% in the month of September. October home sales reached a seasonal rate of 458,000 units and year over year sales were 1.8% higher.

More and more newly constructed homes are selling, but the remaining inventory of new homes suggests that the market is headed in the right direction, too. Inventory of new homes went up 1% in October and reached its highest level since June 2010. But even better, the sales pace went from 5.5 months to 5.6 months. The sales pace represents the approximate time needed to sell all the current homes on the market. Most economists believe that a 6 month sales pace is an ideal balance between supply and demand.

As sales of brand new homes has increased, so too have their prices. Median home prices rose by 15.4% compared to last year.

The housing market has seen growth in both new home sales as well as previously owned homes for the months of September and October. Hopefully the growth will continue into 2015 and lead towards a more stable market.


New Subsidized Housing to Help Ease Rental Numbers

by Tim Hart

A new, 47-unit development will be coming to the west end of Bozeman to help alleviate the lack of rentable homes in Bozeman. The new apartment complex will be subsidized in order to keep rental rates affordable for low-income residents. The complex will cost 10 million dollars to build, but almost 6.6 million will be funded in part by federal tax credits awarded to the city from the Montana Board of Housing. The project will be a shared effort between the Human Resources Development Council, they city of Bozeman and Summit Housing group, a Missoula based developer.

The subsidies should help reduce the amount of borrowed capital, making it possible for the apartment complex to lower rent rates. $659,000 will be awarded to the project every year for 10 years. The maximum rental price for a two bedroom unit will be $700 a month. The apartments should be finalized by September, just in time for the inevitable student rush that follows the beginning of the semester.

More affordable housing for rent should help alleviate the current rental ‘fill-up’ in Bozeman. As the rental market becomes less volatile, the buying and selling of homes often follows suit. As homeowners essentially “set the tone” for rental prices in the area, the highs and lows of a rental market can often reveal how the pendulum of the housing market is swinging. Per usual, sustained, consistent growth is ideal, and the addition of more rentals in the area may help make the current growth in Bozeman even more consistent.



Previously Owned Home Sales Rise in October

by Tim Hart

Recent numbers compiled by the National Association of Realtors have shown a rise in previously owned home sales for the month of October. Sales of these homes rose 1.5% to an annual rate of 5.26 million dollars. October was the second straight month where the annual rate trended up and its upward pace has not been this fast since September 2013.

The combination of improving inventory, stable price growth and low interest rates continue to make buying pre-owned homes easier. The average interest rate for the full month of October fell to 4.03%, the lowest it has been since June 2013. The average had also fallen from September, where the average rate had been 4.16%.

As the market has recovered, the frenetic pace in some real estate markets has slowed in rate. With more relaxed and longer term buyers coming to the market, properties have been staying on the market longer. October averaged 63 days compared to 56 in September. Yet, one third of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month, showing that the market is still moving quickly in a lot of cases.


BHS Honored for High AP Exam Scores

by Tim Hart

Bozeman High School has been honored as one of 547 school districts in both the US and Canada for student performance in Advanced Placement Exams. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are college level courses, given to high achieving high school students. The courses use college-level textbooks and have national exams that if students pass, can sometimes offer college credit. The students at Bozeman High School performed so well in these national exams, they were honored this week for their performance.

The Bozeman High School District was the only school district to win in the state of Montana. Bozeman’s pass rate was 86.3% in 2013. To be honored, schools had to have 70% of their class pass. In order to pass, students need to earn a score of 3 or higher (out of 5).

Since 2012, BHS has increased the number of students taking AP classes. From 2013 to 2014, the number has jumped from 872 tests taken, to over 1,000. Currently BHS offers 17 AP classes and the school holds a lot of pride around the availability of these classes to all its students. Many schools limit AP classes to only their best and brightest. In most cases, they don’t allow other students into these classes, in order to win awards like the one mentioned today. Bozeman, however, allows all students, no matter their grades in normal classes, to enroll in AP classes. And yet the school continues to perform alongside schools that only allow their smartest students to attempt Advanced Placement courses.

The Bozeman School District should be applauded for its continued efforts to improve the education and lives of its students. Per usual, the school leans towards the inclusion of all in any of their educational programs. High student performance, great new programs, and continued work to improve the school system should continue to attract new families to Bozeman.



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 33