Real Estate Information Archive


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Land off Stucky Road Considered for Annexation

by Tim Hart

Bozeman City Commissioners will vote next Monday on whether to annex a piece of land off Stucky Road in order to zone it for apartment style residences. The commission has seen several bids to annex additional land into the city in the last year. Bozeman continues to find ways to add additional home inventory to keep home values reasonable.

The land off Stucky is currently set for agricultural use and nearby farms are concerned about adding more residential lots on high quality, useable soil. Both farmers and developers made their pleas to the City Zoning Commission and though the zoning commission voted 2-1 against rezoning the parcel, the decision ultimately rests with City Commisioners.

Bozeman continues to search for land and strategies to help keep the real estate in the Gallatin Valley affordable. The city has looked at narrowing lots and has given a high number of building permits to increase inventory. Bozeman will need to strike a healthy balance between keeping prices reasonable and growing in a healthy, planned out manner.




Both mortgage rates and loan applications have seen big up and down swings over the first few weeks of July.

Earlier in the month, mortgage interest rates fell and continued to be on a downward trend. On July 10th, the rates fell to 4.04 percent. However, the past weeks since then have given a sense that mortgage rates may once again be trending up. This week, mortgage rates hit their highest level since October of 2014—hitting 4.09% this week. For now, its clear that at the very least, mortgage rates have been volatile and should be watched closely over the follow weeks to get a better sense of where they may be heading.

According to the sources listed below, events and turmoil in both China and Greece directly affected yields on US Treasury Securities. Rates rose during this time, but the Fed may still hold back from raising interest rates in light of turmoil abroad.

Mortgage applications have also been volatile as buyers have mirrored interest rates closesly. In a July 8th article, mortgage applications had risen 4.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis but by July 10th, those numbers had already fallen by 1.9% again. On the bright side, although the numbers may be volatile in 2015, total mortgage volume still remains 22% higher than a year ago and total home purchase volume is up by 17 percent.

Any buyer looking at homes right now will want to keep a good watch over mortgage rates so s/he can take advantage of the lowest available rates. They seem to be moving up and down quickly—so buyers will want to make sure they don’t settle for a loan with higher rates than average.






Bozeman Airport Reflects Town's Growth

by Tim Hart

Bozeman’s Airport, much like the town itself, has seen fast growth over the past few years. After continuing its population growth and seeing high tourism numbers, its no wonder Bozeman has seen increased activity at its airport.

Last year, commercial passenger traffic increased 15 percent. Each month in 2015 has seen higher numbers than the previous month. Both of these facts contribute to the narrative that Bozeman is growing quickly and has become one of the most sought after locations in Montana.

Bozeman has been attracting airline travelers for vacation and for permanent stay, or perhaps a little of both.

Bozeman has had some of the highest wages in Montana along with a reasonable cost of living, while staying safe. Coupled with its livability and amazing access to public lands, it’s a very attractive place for people looking to call Bozeman home. Both Bozeman Public Schools and Montana State University have seen rising enrollments, reflecting the desire of many to call Bozeman home.

Tourism in Bozeman has also seen large growth. Yellowstone National Park and nearby State Parks saw increased numbers in 2014 while Bozeman was honored as one the top ski destinations in the world.

After the airport reached 1 million passengers last year, it announced it would need to expand again to deal with increased numbers. Now, it continues to see even higher numbers. Bozeman’s access to an international airport has been partly attributed to its recent economic success. Both help eachother, attracting great people and allowing Bozeman to sell itself. Once the airport expands, local residents can expect more tourists and more people looking to stay for an extended time.





Greater Bozeman Area Market Update - July 2015

by Tim Hart

This month, we will compare condo and townhome sales through June 30th 2015 and compare them to similar sales from 2014 in the greater Bozeman area. Here are a few stats for all Bozeman area condo and townhome residences:

  • Unit Sales increased by 6.76%  (221 sold through June 2015, 207 sold in through June 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased by 14.27% ($51,301,043 through June 2015, $44,892,026 sold through June 2014)
  • Condos and Townhomes have been staying on the market 17.26% shorter in 2015 (50.1 days on market in 2015, 60.55 days on market in 2014)

Summary – Through the end of June, the housing market continues its growth. Homes are moving quicker, in higher numbers and at higher prices than in 2014. The overall Gallatin County market is still very healthy and growing.

Tim's Know Your Homes 101 - Second Empire Architecture

by Tim Hart

Second Empire Architecture can be traced back to the reign of Napoleon III in France. Napoleon III, apparently unhappy with the look of Paris, replaced the medieval structures remaining in the city with this new architectural style. Public buildings are ornate and stately and exude a sense of power and wealth.

For residential versions, the goals are similar as most Second Empire homes are very large and were built for the rich in the United States. The style peaked in popularity in the US between 1855 and 1885 and was most popular in the Northeast and Midwest.

With several tiers, second Empire homes oftentimes look like a wedding cake. They are usually built in a simple box form and are usually very symmetrical minus the tower (also a common feature). The entrance to the home is usually elevated above grade level by several steps. On the exterior, anything that leads to a more monumental or ornate look are more than welcome on a Second Empire Home.

If you would like to take another lesson, please feel free to take another class below!






French Eclectic

Spanish Mission Revival

Cape Cod






Energy Investments Protect Earth, Not Wallets

by Tim Hart

According to a new study done by the University of Chicago, energy efficiency upgrades still keep the planet green, but probably won’t put too much green back into your pocket.

The University set up a controlled trial of 30,000 households in Michigan, telling ¼ of them to make residential energy efficiency upgrades (with assistance) and compared their energy savings to those who did not upgrade. Households were provided $5,000 in weatherization upgrades (furnace replacement, attic and wall insulation, and weather stripping). Unfortunately, the cost of putting these upgrades into place was nearly double the difference in their energy costs. Although energy consumption fell by a noticeable 10 to 20%, the upgrades only translated into $2,400 in savings over the life of the upgrades—less than half of the costs to input them.

Of course, from an environmental standpoint, such upgrades are still a big win. But its portrayal as a “double-win” as the University of Chicago calls it, is unfounded.

From a real estate perspective, particularly real estate sales, having a green home can still do a lot to attract a buyer to your home over someone else’s non-efficient home. But the direct ‘bottom-line’ approach shows that the investment is not giving as much return as advertised.




Bozeman High School Ranked Best in Montana

by Tim Hart

Bozeman High School was rated the best high school in Montana according to US News and World Report Magazine. In their 2015 ranking of the best American High Schools, Bozeman came out on top for the state and performed well nationwide.

US News and World Report Magazine ranked the high schools based on student performance on state tests, minority student and low-income student performance, as well as how well the school prepares its students for college.

Bozeman performed admirably at the national level, earning a silver distinction for high schools. The magazine looked at 29,000 high schools across the United States and gave 500 gold medals, 2,207 silver medals and 3,990 bronze medals. Even if Bozeman were at the bottom rung of the silver medal winners, it would still rank in the top 8.7% of high schools surveyed. Red Lodge High, Hellgate High, Frenchtown High, Hamilton High and Park High were also given silver distinctions.

At Bozeman High, 43% of the 1,890 students passed their AP tests. At the start of last year, BHS was honored for having the highest AP test scores in the state. On state tests, 68% of students were proficient in math and 92% were proficient in reading. Bozeman currently has 10% minority students and 20% low-income students.

Bozeman High has worked hard at continuing to improve on an already excellent school. This past year, Bozeman established a program with Montana State and George Mason to study current models for teaching mathematics and looking at how they can be improved to increase performance. In addition, the high school was awarded a grant to implement and improve programs to help students deal with mental stress and health issues.

Its no wonder people continue to be attracted to Bozeman Public Schools. Even as enrollment has increased, the high school has done a great job in keeping its quality and performance up to its already high standards.



Greater Bozeman Area Market Update - June 2015

by Tim Hart

This month, we will compare single-family residence sales through June 5th 2015 and compare them to similar sales from 2014 in the greater Bozeman area. Here are a few stats for all Bozeman area single-family residences:

  • Unit Sales increased by 8.96%  (365 sold through 6/5/15, 335 sold in 2014 through 6/5/14)
  • Dollar volume increased by 21.25% ($159,073,705 through 6/5/15, $131,196,367 sold in 2014 through 6/5/14)
  • Homes have been staying on the market 10.87% longer in 2015 (102 days on market in 2015, 92 days on market in 2014)

Summary – Through early June, the housing market continues its growth. Homes have been staying on the market a little longer than in 2014, but total sales and volume both increased. The overall Gallatin County market is still very healthy.

Retirees Keeping Their Mortgages in Higher Numbers

by Tim Hart

Some retirees are opting to keep their mortgages instead of using their retirement funds to cash out and have full ownership over their home. Why? Well for now, stock market returns and low interest mortgage rates might make it more financially advantageous for a retiree to keep their money in these investments. More often than not in the past, retirees with an active loan would use a piece of their retirement plan to pay off their premium no longer owe anything on their home.

However, with high capital returns from the stocks and bond market, coupled with the fact that mortgage rates are some of the lowest seen in history, investment returns from other markets have actually been greater for many even with their mortgage payments subtracted out.

Improved health care and life expectancy has also affected this trend. Where many retirees preferred a low risk investment in the past, a lot of people now potentially see decades of life ahead of them and are still willing to take some financial risks.

Interestingly, 64% of retirees said they would also probably move at least once after retirement. Assuming it’s not an all cash deal, many of these retirees would be applying for another mortgage post retirement. Not only that, 30% of them actually said they would be looking for a larger home, rather than downsizing.

As mortgage rates rise, this financial path’s viability will need to be re-evaluated. The stock market does hold more volatility and risk—so even in a positive market like this, there is no guarantee of reward. However, more retirees have gone through this process, evaluated their financial situation and chosen to incorporate more risk—showing a marked shift in how many people have been approaching their retirement of late.




Bozeman Tourism High and Growing

by Tim Hart

Tourists and visitors looking to visit the greater Bozeman area continue to come in larger numbers. Hotels, vacation rentals and traditional bed and breakfasts have all seen marked growth in their bookings for the 2015 summer.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, most rooms in Bozeman will be full every weekend through June, July and August assuming they haven’t been filled already. Some hotels are even booking into next year. Even with the new hotels moving in downtown, hotels are still seeing low vacancies.

Visitation statewide is expected to be up 2 percent this year. Last year, Bozeman had 40% of the 11 million visitors who visited Montana in 2014, so local Bozemanites should notice the tourism growth.

Bozeman has always attracted a large portion of out of state residents due to its proximity to public lands, Yellowstone and great local skiing. Last year, Yellowstone saw a large uptick in visitors during its high season and Big Sky saw above average tourism last year. Bozeman proper, meanwhile, was highlighted as a top 25 ski destination in the world. According to the University of Montana’s Institute on Tourism and Recreation Research, nearly 665 million non-resident dollars were taken in between 2012 and 2013 and Bozeman certainly has seen a good portion of these funds.

Many visitors to Bozeman have been looking for alternatives when taking vacation. Annual occupancy rates have gone up yearly since 2009 (42.5%) to now (51%). As less homes have less tenants and less vacation based tenants, with more owners taking up available real estate to visitors, many tourists have turned to AirBnB and other accommodation services to find a room. Air BnB for example, is an online community where owner occupied homes rent out space to tenants for short durations, much like how a bed and breakfast would function. Now, there are over 800 listings from Air BnB in Montana.

Investment opportunities may be available to homeowners looking for additional income streams. As more tourists need space in Bozeman, more opportunities will open up for locals. Bozeman’s high tourism provides a great base of people visiting the area while bringing in money to its residents. Bozeman’s location sells more than vacations though, and the town’s growth shows how sought after the Gallatin Valley has become.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 60