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Mortgage Rates Drop Below 4 Percent

by Tim Hart

The interest rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage loan dropped below 4% for the first time since June of 2013. The rate hit 3.97% this last week and now has become a more opportune time to consider purchasing real estate. The drop has been a much larger drop than other adjustments taken this year.

According to CNN real estate, the drop in rates have come because investors have been buying US treasury bonds in droves over the last week. In general, mortgage rates usually move in sync with the 10 year bond note, so when the yield fell to 1.86%, it seemed natural that fixed-mortgage rates would drop as well. Investors have moved to purchasing bonds because of the economic unrest in Europe. Rates have actually lowered because of investors actions, where most experts expected mortgage rates to rise after the Fed pulled back on its economic stimulus.

If you are considering purchasing real estate in Bozeman, Belgrade, Big Sky or the greater Gallatin Valley, lower rates may have made you far more eligible to buy than you may have been even a week ago. Over 30 years, even the smallest adjustments in mortgage rates can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/16/real_estate/mortgages-rates-drop/index.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

 

Bozeman Awarded 3.3 Million for Mental Health Programs

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman School District received 3.3 million dollars to run a new program designed to help students dealing with mental stress and health issues, greatly increasing the scope of Bozeman’s programs and services in this area. The grant came from the National Institute of Justice’s program called the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The NIJ chose 24 projects out of 200 proposals.

The Bozeman School District will now work with University of Montana researchers  to better learn what a comprehensive mental health system can do to improve a struggling student’s outlook and future. The University of Montana will be watching the program unfold in  Bozeman to see if it will improve discipline, attendance and academics  in its students.  U of M will watch how the grant affects or improves Bozeman’s system, and then create a system that can be implemented elsewhere.

The 3.3 million dollars will be used to hire specialists who already work with struggling students. Bozeman will also hire a parent liaison to act as a better bridge between families and teachers. The school district will also have their teachers be trained to become “trauma informed.” They want to help teachers empathize with their students and help them recognize that divorce, the loss of a family member, abuse, even health conditions can drastically affect the behavior and success of any student.

Bozeman’s continued discipline towards fixing problems before they start has been showcased again in this case. Although Bozeman has never had any school tragedy, its nice to know that they are taking steps to prevent one in the future. It is wonderful knowing that the school truly cares for its students and their families and want to see them thrive in and outside of school. When I sell real estate, I always notice how diligent some buyers are in making sure their home is within Bozeman’s districts. This grant is a great example why people continue to move to Bozeman—because they see their faith rewarded with hard work and great schools.

 

Sources: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/article_901b2eca-49f9-11e4-8b9c-9ba3f52dac29.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/article_8af9d82c-4a87-11e4-8122-c7a9d4c09587.html

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

 

Story Mill Park Begins Development

by Tim Hart

Work has just started on a new park being built in the story mill area. Story Mill Community Park will be a 54 acre park near Bridger and Griffin Drive. The park is still in its conceptual stages but organizers hope the park will one day provide picnic areas, shelters, climbing boulders, playground equipment, fields, a splash pad, outdoor ampitheatre and a fenced dog park.

So far, workers have focused on removing buildings from the area and opening up more space. They have already removed a few mobile homes from the no longer functioning Bridger View Trailer Court as well as a few old farm buildings. They will also clean the East Gallatin River where they are adding vegetation and landscaping the river to look more natural.

Creators of the park hope to connect the park with walking trails in the area, better connecting the North and South side of town. Ideally, the park will also provide a 2.1 mile walking/biking path for those wanting to walk or bike to the “M” and drinking horse trails. The park would be open to the public starting summer of 2017 at the earliest.

Residents in the area will see a marked improvement to the look and utility of the area where the park will go. Proximity to parks can add a lot of value to a real estate listing.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/article_c962ed6e-4830-11e4-b663-3760aa97ec37.html

 

MSU Achieving Goals and Attracting Students

by Tim Hart

Montana State University has already met several goals it had set for itself to eclipse in 2019. MSU has exceeded its targeted numbers for online courses, enrolling more students into the 2-year Gallatin College and raising international student numbers. In addition to that, MSU has closed the gap for its enrollment goals. This year the school will host 15,421 students, a new record in enrollment, and they hope to reach 16,000 students by 2019. The graduate school has also grown to 2,050 students, with a goal of reaching 2,350 students in 5 years. The growth can be seen as a positive trend for the school, as it continues to set new academic and enrollment standards and meeting them.

Some faculty had expressed concern that the growth of the school would lower its quality, but new numbers released by MSU suggest otherwise. MSU will have its brightest class in 25 years, possibly more, but the figures do not really exist before that time. On average, the freshman class scored a 25.3 on the ACT, 1720 on the SAT, and had a GPA of 3.43 in high school. The Honors College excelled, attracting students with an average score of 29.5 on the ACT and maintaining a 3.84 GPA in high school. With the size and quality of MSU increasing, the school seems to have a bright future ahead.

Sources: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/montana_state_university/article_6e1e66e2-49be-11e4-a5bf-5b84694502e8.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_937344&utm_campaign=blox

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/montana_state_university/msu-brags-about-its-brightest-freshmen-in-years/article_364859dc-4db3-11e4-b431-3b962ce31ad5.html

 

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

MSU may have played a crucial role in the development of an experimental drug that possibly saved the two American medical workers in Africa. Techlink, a department within the University, made the crucial connection between a US Army lab and the small San Diego company, Mapp Biopharmaceutical that ultimately created the medicine.

Laurel Halfpap, Senior Tech Manager at MSU’s techlink, helped Mapp Biopharmaceutical with the necessary applications and licensing to get access to an mouse antibody that treated ebola. The company became aware of the ebola treatment the army possessed, but with only 10 employees, they needed all the help they could get. As the Army lab was also understaffed, connecting the two together fell to Halfpap. After more than year of work, she attained the licensing for the San Diego company.

From there, the company took the antibody, adjusted it so humans would not react to it and combined it with other antibodies to create the drug ZMapp. The two Americans working in the Ebola ridden zone were in the most critical of conditions when they decided to try the medicine, despite knowing it hadn’t been fully tested on humans. The two recovered and were moved back to the states for further testing.

Without Halfpap and Techlink, it seems unlikely the Army and Mapp Biopharmaceuticals could have made their important connection. MSU can add that feather to their cap, adding to their building prestige and pedigree.

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/health/article_6c6a18ca-4836-11e4-b7e1-bb231cd0ac62.html

 

 

The Montana Department of Transportation will donate $2.1 million dollars throughout the state in order to purchase additional vehicles and equipment. Both Bozeman and Big Sky were chosen to receive additional funding. Funding was awarded through a competitive grant application, ranking applicants by need and fund availability.

The Human Resource Development Council of Bozeman is receiving money a new 40 passenger bus as well as a new 17 passenger bus from the MDT. The agency currently runs the streamline bus service in Bozeman, a free public bus system that  has routes throughout the city. The agency also runs Galavan, a service providing transportation specifically for the elderly and disabled.

Reach Inc., a non-profit organization in Bozeman that provides a myriad of services to aduts with developmental disabilities, will receive a 5 person van.

The town of Big Sky will receive funds for a 45 passenger motor coach.

Sixteen communities in Montana will receive funding in total, including Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Whitehall. Additional facilities and carports will be built across the state with the remaining money. Earlier this year, the MDT had given $7.8 million across the state to deal with the operating costs of these transportation agencies.

For local Bozeman residents, the addition of two new busses will help alleviate logistical concerns for both Streamline and Galavan. Additional busses only add to a solid infastructure, creating a more reliable, punctual transportation service. Citizens reliant on public transportation in Bozeman can only see the additions as great news, helping to better (sorry for this one) streamline the bus system and improve its reliability.

Source: Chronicle Staff. “Agencies Receive Money for Transportation Improvements.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 28 September 2014.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 52

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