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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 20

Fifteen-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Hits Lowest Since 2013

by Tim Hart

 

For homebuyers looking to refinance their mortgage, great news came surrounding 15 year mortgage interest rates. The average rate for a 15 year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.08%, the lowest level since June of 2013. The rate fell by 0.1 percent compared to last week and has dropped significantly compared to the 3.36% that it started at earlier in the month. Rates on 30 year loans also dipped 0.05% and has dipped below 4 % for the first time since June 2013.

With a struggling economy, investors have avoided investing overseas and instead have turned to government bonds and mortgage-backed securities, lowering interest rates.

Homeowners with recent mortgages can refinance their thirty-year loan for the 15 year loan, at its current rate. Homeowners should be aware that their payments will not go down in a refinance and in general they will almost always go up. According to CNN money, for anyone with a mortgage balance of $200,000, they can expect to pay about $340 a month more than in a 30-year mortgage. However, instead of making a $1075 payment for 25 more years, they could instead pay $1,423 over 15 years. A homeowner could potentially save $137,000 in interest over the lifetime of the loan.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/23/real_estate/rates-drop-again/index.html

New Construction Hits Six Year High

by Tim Hart

The annual sale rate for new, single-family residences rose to a six year high, thanks to solid real estate sales in September. Sales increased 0.2% and adjusted the annual rate to 467,000 new units sold in 2014. The annual rate has not been that high since July of 2008. The rate had a chance to be even higher, but August real estate sales were also revised from 504,000 units down to 466,000, lowering the average.

Compared to September of 2013, sales of new single-family homes went up seventeen percent. Now, coupled with the 30 year fixed rate mortgage falling to its lowest level since June 2013, many experts expect to see the rate get even higher by the end of the year. Slow wage growth continues to hold back the housing market a little bit, but even previously owned single-family homes found their highest sales for 2014 in September as well. At the current sales pace, it would take 5.3 months to clear the supply of new real estate built in September. In general, a six month supply is considered an ideal balance between supply and demand, implying volatility still exists in the current market.

But, as builders’ and developers' confidence continue to grow, they will continue buying more land and building more houses. A lot of times that can lead to lower prices for new home buyers. Compared to September 2013, the median new home price in September 2014 fell 4 percent, down to 259,000 dollars. Now may be the time for buyers looking for a new home to take advantage of real estate competition to find a great deal on a brand new home.

 

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102118682

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.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/dog-friendly-recreation-area-gets-new-trail/article_d7b81d90-5b08-11e4-95b9-abef471ea2bb.html

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?

Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/new-15-year-mortgage-with-zero-down-payment-debuts/

 

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.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/exempt-well-ruling-goes-against-unrestrained-development/article_47b8c4fa-58b1-11e4-88be-b34d014024f4.html

 

 

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.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-city-commission-emphasizes-subdivision-parkland-over-payment/article_eaea21b6-58dc-11e4-87ef-ab2091686222.html

Bozeman Considering Building a New Convention Center

by Tim Hart

The city of Bozeman is considering building a new convention center for the area’s residents. Those living in Bozeman, or looking to purchase real estate in Bozeman, will see changes take place on North 7th Avenue, assuming the plan is approved.  The plan would be put into the already established urban renewal project in the area. Currently, the city is accessing the feasibility of the plan before giving it the true go-ahead. The city will assess nearby properties and decide whether to include them into the new district, or draw new lines. The city is looking at two parcels of land, one north of the Holiday Inn and another just south of Baxter Lane.

The addition of a city center continues a growing trend to truly make Bozeman the center of all events, services and activities in the Gallatin Valley. Please see these other articles on the other building projects currently going on like the future aquatics center, sports complex, the cannery district improvements, and airport expansion. For anyone looking into real estate, this is great news, because in general, these major hubs will continue to see more foot traffic and with more traffic comes real estate buyers and sellers.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-looking-to-pave-way-for-convention-center-near-north/article_e1a04886-535c-11e4-8799-2753b7164e2a.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_953010&utm_campaign=blox

Bozeman Int. Airport Breaks Records, Will Expand

by Tim Hart

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport saw record breaking numbers this summer and fall and will be looking to expand in the next 5 to 10 years to take care of increasing numbers. The airport saw 83,011 passengers in September, an all time high for the airport. The airport also dealt with record numbers between May and September, an 8% increase from prior years. The airport believes numbers have increased along with Bozeman and Yellowstone tourism, all contributing to eachother's success. The airport’s proximity to Big Sky keeps those numbers strong in the winter as well.

In order to better host their rising totals, the airport has drafted plans to expand the airport in the next 5 to 10 years. The airport would like to add a second paved runway and expand the terminal. Their plan also included great news for Christmas travelers, with the addition of a new parking garage, helping to keep cars warm and out of blizzard conditions. The airport would also like to add a de-icing area and contract a new non-stop flight to Dallas. Some of their plans will be implemented immediately, while some plans may be 5 to 10 years down the line. The plan will come up for approval in December.

To see how an expanding airport can affect Bozeman and Bozeman real estate, please read my article regarding housing market conditions in Bozeman.

Source: http://m.nbcmontana.com/news/airport-director-bozeman-breaks-passenger-records/29043366

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/bozeman-airport-plans-to-expand-to-keep-up-with-record-numbers/29060270

 

City May Annex Cannery District for Commercial Hub

by Tim Hart

The city of Bozeman may annex the Canner District into the city in order to expedite plan for a new business district on the North side of town. The district is 12.24 acres in size but it also sits directly in the middle of city and county land. Currently, the existing buildings in the district are on county land, but the planned new construction will take place in the city. The city has heard plans on whether to annex the whole district in order to make their commercial district but have yet to make their final decision.

In order to create a commercial real estate hub, the city has first started renovating the existing buildings. They will start with the four story Cannery Building, which is currently vacant, but had most recently housed an electronic/powder coating company. The city plans on renovating all the buildings on County land and then annexing the district afterwards. With the annexation, owners would then pay taxes to the city, in exchange for city fire protection and other city services.

Once the city has the land, they will build seven new buildings, all for commercial purposes. When finished, the city hopes to have 15 buildings totaling 180,000 square feet, all for new potential businesses in town. Anyone currently living near the district could see a rise in their real estate value. As more businesses move within walking distance, the district could foster both commercial and residential real estate growth.

To read more about the Cannery District Renovations, click here.

Sources: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-to-consider-cannery-district-annexation/article_34114700-4f43-11e4-997d-37e807966faa.html

 

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/bozemandailychronicle.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/05/0051be32-0924-11e4-b52b-001a4bcf887a/53c40f799f243.image.jpg

 

Longfellow Wins US Department of Education Honor

by Tim Hart

Longfellow students have something to be proud about coming into this 2014-15 school year. The school was honored with the 2014 National Blue Ribbon School Award, presented by the U.S. Department of Education. Longfellow has 325 kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade.

Longfellow was one of 337 schools nationally and one of two in Montana to receive the honor. The school won in the exemplary high-performing school category. Over the last 5 years, the school has adequately and consistently met the standards set as an overall school. Longfellow also excelled with their special education students as well as low-income students.

On state standardized tests, Longfellow students displayed their excellence. 97% of students scored a passing level or higher in reading, 93% in math, and 94% in science.

Bozeman schools continue to excel, with Longfellow helping to lead the way. Bozeman’s Morning Star school won the same award in 2009, reflecting the overall health of the Bozeman education system. Families with children can come to Bozeman with faith that they can find a quality education for their kids.  

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/article_177eb5f2-48de-11e4-a53a-57657fa45220.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_953010&utm_campaign=blox

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 20

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