Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


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Study Recommends Bozeman Montana Update Historic District Regulations

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

A study commissioned by the City of Bozeman in April has concluded that the city should reconsider the intensity of its regulations in its Conservation Overlay District. Downtown residents within the district, currently have to apply for a certificate of appropriateness before being allowed to make exterior modifications to any properties. The study concluded that although district regulations had helped preserve historic buildings in the area, it was also a major contributor to the lack of infill development in the city, keeping home inventory low and affecting home affordability in Bozeman.

According to the study, there are not any detached, single-family homes in the conservation district  that are affordable to residents making 80% or less of the city’s median income. The study believes that by allowing and welcoming infill development, Bozeman can keep its historic charm while helping lower home prices downtown.

The study noted that vacant lots are scarce in town and suggested Bozeman start offering incentives like smaller lots, ground accessory dwelling units (normally ADUs are above garages etc, but do provide rental income to the homeowner and another bedroom for a Bozemanite.

The study believed that by replacing the overarching district with a collection of districts would help provide more specific regulations to neighborhoods. With code relaxations, 35 properties within the district would be eligible for renovation, expansion and densification.

As the overlay district, in a sense, operates as the city’s Home Owner’s Association, the study’s findings are not surprising. Although the study still suggests keeping control in the hands of the city, essentially, each historic district would operate as regulator for the quality and consistency of specific neighborhoods, like an HOA would. That would allow the city to lower standards in one area, while maintaining them in another, helping them preserve historic homes while also increasing downtown density.




Total Home Values Up in the US

by Tim Hart

The total value of all homes in the United States grew for a third straight year according to The total value of all homes in 2014 reached 27.5 trillion dollars, up 1.8 trillion from 2013.

In 2013, home values had grown up to 25.7 trillion, up 1.9 trillion from 2012. From 2012 to 2013, home values rose by 7.9 percent. From 2013 to 2014, home values rose by 6.7 percent.

Between 2007 and 2011, home values had lost nearly 6.3 trillion. The attached graph indicates the new growth in comparison with the recession (updated through 2013). With 2014’s continued growth, the graph reveals a positive trend.

The value of homes is increasing, whether it’s through a rising inventory of new homes or prices themselves are going up (though probably both). So long as growth can remain consistent overall, the housing market should continue stabilizing and improving.



Big Sky to Lead State in Student Access to Technology

by Tim Hart

The Big Sky school district laid out a plan late November to put technology in the hands of every student in the area. Big Sky would become to first district in Montana to have their technology to student ratio be 1:1 -- great news for any family looking to buy a home in Big Sky.

The district has crafted a three-part vision for how they will approach technology with their students. They want to improve education on information and media literacy, then improve the application of media and communicating with technology, and one day, they hope to have a fully digital classroom.

Once the new program is up and running Kindergarten through 3rd grade classes will have 36 iPads for daily use. Grades 4 through 8 will get Chrome Books and high school students will receive Surface Pro 3’s. Teachers hope to teach children about technology while also teaching them about safety in an ever-growing digital world.

Schools in the local area continue to put an emphasis on technology education. In an changing world, staying at the forefronts of technology will be important to any child’s later success. The continued improvement in technology in Big Sky schools should continue attracting those looking to purchase real estate in Big Sky.

(Bozeman also purchased Chrome Books for its students this semester in an effort to provide the most opportunities available for its students.)



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.



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 43