Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 43

This month, we will highlight Condominium and Townhome sales comparisons of 2012, 2013 and 2014 in the Gallatin County. Here are a few stats for Gallatin County condos and townhomes homes that stood out:

  • Unit sales increased from 2012 to 2013 by 14.85% (532 sold in 2012, 611 sold in 2013)
  • Unit sales increased from 2013 to 2014 by 13.75% (611 sold in 2013, 695 sold in 2014)
  • Unit sales increased from 2012 to 2014 by 30.64%
  • Dollar volume increased from 2012 to 2013 by 42.80% ($101,214,358 sold in 2012, $144,528,512 sold in 2013)
  • Dollar volume increased from 2013 to 2014 by 26.82% ($144,528,512 sold in 2013, $183,297,187 sold in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased from 2012 to 2014 by 81.10%
  • Average sales price rose from 2012 to 2013 by 24.33% ($190,252 in 2012, $236,544 in 2013)
  • Average sales price rose from 2013 to 2014 by 11.50% ($236,544 in 2013, $263,736 in 2014)
  • Average sales price rose from 2012 to 2014 by 38.62%

Summary –The Gallatin County has seen growth in unit sales, dollar volume and average sale price for condos and townhomes. With more unit sales going at higher prices, the county’s market is growing quickly. Increasing sale prices should peak any seller’s interest.


Tim’s Know Your Homes 101 – French Eclectic

by Tim Hart

The French Eclectic home became popular in the United States in the early 20th century. It remained popular for around 30 years. These homes can resemble anything from a farmhouse to a manor, depending on their shape and size.

Americans borrowed the shapes and details of homes found in France to create the Americanized French Eclectic. Inspired by French country houses, these homes were usually built in times of prosperity. Due to the customization of these homes, French Eclectics often do not really resemble each other, hence the eclectic nature of the architectural style. To better define the French Eclectic, I’ve split the style into 3 categories.



Symmetrical – The symmetrical style is generally inspired by big manor houses. The home is based on order and balance, with prominent chimney’s, flared eaves and evenly spaced windows.





Assymetrical – the assymetrical version gives a formal aire to the property while providing an appetizing visual. Combinations of brick and stone are common. Assymetrical French Eclectics are often sprawling and impressive.




Towered – A towered French Eclectic, of course, has a large tower that anchors the home. Towered French Eclectics can appear castle like and can appear similar to the English Tudor style. Most towered homes have the tower as their main entrance, though its not always the case. Other than the tower, these homes usually are most similar to the assymetrical French Eclectic.



Take another course! If you would like to read about other home styles, click these links to find out more.





Eminent Domain in Bozeman Montana

by Tim Hart

On Tuesday, the City of Bozeman grappled with employing one of the more interesting real estate practices – eminent domain. Eminent domain is when a government body forcibly purchases private land from an individual for the overall benefit of the public. Eminent domain can be a very hot topic because it draws people’s basic political philosophies on the government’s role towards its people into a real estate conversation—two things I think most of us would like to keep at a comfortable distance from each other.

In this specific case, a property owner nearby the land in question wanted to develop his own land. The Bridger Creek HOA did not grant him an easement that would have allowed him to connect the development to city water and sewer lines and building emergency roads. The HOA said its members were not interested in having more developments nearby. When they couldn’t settle the dispute between each other, they turned to the city to solve the matter. If Bozeman were to take eminent domain over the land, then the owner would be allowed to connect his utilities to city lines.

Bozeman, however, decided not to get involved and not annex the land. The city felt that such a drastic measure did not match up with the number of citizens who may benefit down the line. However, several commissioners saw the HOA’s attempt to block the eminent domain request as a thinly veiled way to fight any future development in the area.

Eminent domain is one of the more interesting real estate topics. In general, it’s a tool best used only when necessary because more often than not someone has to come out the loser.




Bozeman Improves Safety with Recent Projects

by Tim Hart

Two recent projects taking place in Bozeman have highlighted the city’s recent efforts to better address the health and safety of its residents.

The Bozeman Police Foundation has spent nearly $6,000 to improve safety around Bozeman. One of the projects added flashing beacons to several crosswalks around Sacajawea Middle School and Whittier Elementary School. The new beacons should help drivers see and react to children crossing the street better than ever before.

Crossing guards have always helped children cross the road during times of high traffic, like in the mornings and after school. However, during off hours and  the times in between classes, those crosswalks do not have guards on patrol. Now, with flashing lights, the kids can cross the street safer and cars will be well aware when someone tries to cross the street.

Bozeman has been updating signage in town for the last year or so to better address the needs of its people.

In other news, the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital has seen its 15 million dollar expansion move faster than expected, due to favorable weather. The hospital will be putting in a new 5 story, 80,000 sq. ft building to help the hospital keep up with a growing Gallatin Valley population. The new building will be for offices, but it will help the hospital run smoother while better addressing the health and safety of Bozeman people.

Livingston has also taken on the construction of a new hospital, really showcasing the population growth of Southwest Montana.





Downtown Hotels Continue Bozeman’s Tourism Growth

by Tim Hart

Two new downtown hotels are still right on track to open this summer in Bozeman. The Element Hotel by Westin will be moving into 25 East Mendenhall and the Lark Motel will be moving into 122 West Main. The Element Hotel is scheduled to open by the end of June. The Lark Motel plans on accepting reservations starting in April.

Between the two hotels, they will add 142 additional rooms to the downtown area. These added rooms may find themselves needed quickly as Bozeman’s tourist reputation continues to expand onto the national horizon. Bozeman has built new hotels, new apartment complexes and new subdivisions for the increasing population of out of town visitors, whether permanent or not.

In addition, the Etha Hotel will be renovating and moving into the armory, but they will not open until 2016. The Etha will be a higher end hotel aiming at luxury vacationers.

Bozeman’s appetite for hotels continues to grow, showing the increasing tourism for the area overall. Yellowstone saw some of its highest attendance rates in summer 2014 and state parks saw attendance boosts as well. Coupled with Bozeman’s location to Big Sky and Bridger Bowl, along with its recent honor as a top 25 ski town in the world, its easy to see why more and more people are attracted to the greater Bozeman area.




As Bozeman City Commisioners have discussed their priorities for the 2015 year, infrastructural improvements to the city has been high on the list in light of the city’s and surrounding area's growth. Bozeman has looked into upgrading their storm water utility system and enacted a few small changes already. In addition, the city has turned its focus on city street maintenance due to higher traffic and delayed projects. Both improvements will come with a significant cost, but the cost will prove necessary so long as new residents continue to buy and add new homes to the greater Bozeman area.

Late January, the city placed new separation technology at the City Shops Complex to remove trash and debris from storm water before its runoff flows into the Bozeman Creek. The City will also look to fund around 1.2 million dollars annually to repair failed infrastructure, add treatment systems and maintain and operate the storm water utility system. Such improvements should help Bozeman keep up with its current growth, as more and more people have started looking for homes and real estate in the Bozeman area.

The city also wants to stay up to speed on its road maintenance. Bozeman wants to upgrade older streets that have been deferred in the past and they also want to complete additional major road projects to improve traffic flow in town. Bozeman's public bus system recently topped its 2 millionth rider, showing the increased need for solid transportation infrastructure. Based only on roads that have already been planned, nearly 60 million would be needed to finish these tasks. An additional 20 million would be needed to reconstruct old or out of date streets.

Although such costs hurt upfront, it’s important for any city to maintain solid infrastructure, especially as it grows. Bozeman has even added the internet to its list of infrastructural improvements, in an effort to stay up to date with the changing times. Keeping a town in high quality will continue attracting the people, jobs and money needed to keep Bozeman’s economy thriving.

As new neighborhoods, homes and condos are being built around Bozeman, the city will need streets to serve these people. Although a storm water utility system may not feel like a top priority for a town, if Bozeman underprepared for the elements, it may end up costing them more than if the correct infrastructure had been put in in the first place.



More Buyers Returning to Home Search

by Tim Hart

Reports from builders and real estate agents have suggested that buyer demand should see a sizeable increase for this year. According to Redfin, home tour demand reached an all time high last week, up 62% from 2014.  Redfin real estate agents also reported that accepted contracts rose 58% compared to last year.

Low mortgage rates and low down payments may be what is getting home buyers to start their home search. Many millenials who had not been as financially “ready” to buy a home or were waiting to be able to afford the type of home they wanted, have seen their loan eligibility increase significantly. In addition, as wages have grown and the labor market has strengthened, many of these buyers have seen themselves rise to higher levels of wealth. Some buyers have moved into home buying due to the lack of rentals or high priced rentals in their area.

Redfin reported 57% of home tours taken were by first time home buyers in the week of January 12. That ratio was much higher in comparison to the 48% share these buyers held in the same week last year.

Builders have also found increased traffic, helping them cautiously increase the home inventory in the states. Having additional houses will help keep prices down, hopefully continuing to attract more home buyers on the fence.



Earlier this year, the Federal Housing Administration announced they would lower mortgage insurance rates and now many housing experts believe that change will bring thousands of new real estate buyers to the US housing market. The FHA lowered their insurance premium from 1.35% to 0.85 percent.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the fee reduction could bring as many as 90,000 to 140,000 additional home purchases to the market annually. The fee reduction could also make 1.6 to 2.1 million renters eligible—renters who have been struggling with high prices and low availability. The NAR provided a pretty enlightening example that shows how much money these borrowers can save. A borrower with a 200,000 mortgage could save $1,000 over the first year of the loan. After 30 years, the lower insurance rate can end up saving a borrower $18,000.00. That amount of money can be a big difference on whether a homebuyer decides they are ready to take out a loan.

By 2016, Moody Analytics projected home sales to increase by 100,000.

The low FHA rates were expected to help homebuyers and borrowers alike—but the positive outlook from top experts in real estate make the outlook even more positive. Hopefully, this will better address the lack of room and high prices in the rental market. If this change can bring even more buyers to the market, builders and sellers can more confidently build and sell, knowing someone will be out there to make it worth the cost and effort.



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.



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.


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 43