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Tim's Know Your Homes 101 - Victorian

by Tim Hart

Victorian architecture is unique in its presence and design. Victorian homes are almost always asymetrical, multi story buildings. Victorian homes are the essence of beauty over function. The roofs are always very steep and the home is decorated with all the bells and whistles including gables, bay windows and overhangs. Victorian homes are stately, with complex designs and ornate trim. On the interior of a Victorian home, expect to find intricate ceilings, chandeliers and mirrors, all harkening to the renaissance and (obviously) Victorian eras. If you are trying to uncover whether a house may be Victorian or not, dead giveaways include the castle-like tower or its long, wrap around porch. Purchasing a Victorian home can be expensive, but local and national progams exist to help subsidize attempts to purchase and restore such homes.

Wealthy Buyers Paying Lower Mortgage Rates

by Tim Hart

Wealthy homebuyers in the US are receiving cheaper loans in higher numbers than other homebuyers also applying for mortgages. These deep pocketed buyers are paying lower average rates on high dollar value loans known as jumbo mortgages. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the average rate of jumbo loans for houses above $417,000 or $625,000 in high priced areas averages around 4.24% interest. However, a normal buyer, paying an standard 30 year fixed mortgage can expect to pay interest rates of 4.36 percent.

Now, lenders are accepting smaller down payments and even waiving mortgage insurance. Down payments on the big loans can be as small as 10% of the value, compared to the standard 20 percent. Banks have even begun lowering the credit standards that they use to underwrite such loans. Before, a jumbo borrower would be expected to maintain at least a 700 credit score to even be eligible. Now, lenders have given out loans to people with scores as low as 650.

Why though? Well in general, banks are willing to give these friendly loans, not for the profit they make themselves, but oftentimes on the capital the can use with other clients. Banks take that capital to use in brokerage accounts or retirement funds, where such capital can exponentially increase profit margins. Then, they can turn to prospective clients and show them the investment potential of that bank. Keeping those big loans on the books allows them to invest and lend more, adding to their clientele and prestige.

Now may be the perfect time for big buyers to do just that—buy big. Mortgage rates are low, the market is stabilizing, and as banks continue to make jumbo loans more appealing, wealthy buyers can take full advantage.

 

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/21/real_estate/jumbo-mortgages-getting-cheaper/index.html

New Subdivision Coming for Bozeman Real Estate Market

by Tim Hart

Construction workers are updating and extending both Ferguson Avenue and Cattail Street to make room for a new subdivision, the Four Points. Crews started work on both roads on Wednesday. Once finished, Ferguson will be the only road between 19th Avenue and Love Lane that will directly connect Baxter and Huffine Lane. The west side of Bozeman has become very popular due to the decent prices of homes in that area, coupled with its solid infrastructure and transportation. The Four points subdivision will be adding several muli-family units. The already existing Sundance apartments will be adding 195 new residences. Bozemanites should see improved access and better traffic distribution with the improvement to the two roads. In terms of real estate, Bozemanites should expect to see a lot of new homes and apartments, with many looking for new occupants.

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/news/new-development-will-bring-road-changes-to-west-side-of-bozeman/

Mortgage Rates Hit Lowest for 2014

by Tim Hart

After mortgage rates dropped in the U.S. for the second week in a row, borrowing costs hit their lowest rate yet for 2014. This week, the average rate shifted from 4.12% to 4.1% for a 30 year fixed mortgage. Although the percentage shift may be small, when added up over 30 years, even the smallest changes can greatly impact the cost of home ownership. A 30 year rate has not been this low since the end of October last year. 15 year mortgages also saw price reductions, slipping from 3.24% to 3.23% this month. The 30 year rate has been consistently declining since it had hit a two year high of 4.58% last August. Experts foresee the lower rates supporting and fostering home demand. July trends support these expert’s claims, as previously owned homes sold at an annualized rate of 5.15 million this July, up 2.4% from June. The longer the rates stay low, the more activity can be expected in the future of the US housing market.

Source: http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post--mortgage-rates-hit-new-2014-low

East Wilson School May Become Residential Area

by Tim Hart

It looks like Wilson School may see some new life as a residential area. Bridger Builders presented a case to the city to turn the area into 18 single household units. Looks like there will be a parking garage as well for new residents. I will be interested to see whether the city decides to move forward with these plans. The meeting is at 6pm on Monday the 25th.

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/news/future-plans-for-east-willson-school-to-be-presented-to-city/

Updates Coming for North 7th Avenue

by Tim Hart

City officials met this past week with professionals from California in the hopes of updating and renovating North 7th Avenue.  The California company, the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, helps prepare mayors to become the chief designers of urban areas, and they will be begin by focusing on the 7th Avenue area that stretches from Main to I-90.  The area could see zoning changes as well as aesthetic updates. For property owners in the area, the new focus on 7th and its neighboring streets could really improve home values in the future. Now may also be the time to grab up any open real estate in the area, as improvements could lead to higher prices later on.

 

http://www.kbzk.com/news/a-new-vision-in-the-works-for-bozeman-s-north-7th-avenue-corridor/

New FICO Credit System Changing

by Tim Hart

The credit scoring system may be changing for the better, at least for consumers with a shakier credit history. FICO has introduced their new credit system that is aiming to be more loan friendly towards clients with past, but paid-off debts as well as those with medical debt. The new FICO scoring system will take settled bills into consideration when adjusting someone’s credit score. If someone had owed money in their past, with the old system, their credit could be retroactively affected for seven years. Now, old, but paid off bills should not affect their credit score as much as before.

            The new FICO system will also remove the negative effects of having unpaid medical bills. Currently, 64.3 milion Americans’ credit scores are affected by these unpaid medical bills. By removing the negative impact of medical debt, some Americans may see their credit scores raise by 25 points. Considering that FICO scores are used to determin loan decisions around 90 percent of the time, many more people may find themselves eligible loan. Even more people will see their own rates lower, especially if they had been receiving less than friendly rates from banks. These new rates could greatly increase the number of Americans receiving loans and buying cars and houses.

August Gallatin Valley Home Statistics

by Tim Hart

Last month, we focused on activity in the Gallatin County for condo/townhomes. This month, we will highlight rising prices for all homes in the Gallatin County.

Here are a few stats

  • The average price of a single-family residence raised from $364,736 in 2013 to $402,370 currently, a $37,634 increase.
  • The median price also rose from $279,500 in 2013 to $295,000, a $15,500 increase.
  • The average price of a condo/townhome raised from $236,544 in 2013 to $282,109 currently, an increase of $45,565.
  • The median price of these homes also raised from $175,000 in 2013 to $200,000 currently, an increase of $25,000.

Summary – based on these consistent price increases for single-family residences, condominiums and townhomes, the 2014 market continues to improve the value of homes in the Gallatin Valley.

Land Trusts and How They Can Serve You

by Tim Hart

With the Montana Land Reliance opening up a new office in Bozeman, any Bozeman property owner would do well to understand what a land trust is and how it can be used. Well, a land trust is quite simple actually. A land trust is any non-profit organization that actively works to conserve land. Usually, a land trust assists private owners who want to keep their land undeveloped. They do this by attempting to conserve what the land has to offer the local area, whether it be farmland, a unique form of wildlife, or just beautiful, open space. Land trusts help private land owners navigate the confusing beauracratic world of land regulations and requirements.

As home construction has gone up, as the Bozeman economy has grown by 5% in the last year, and as Gallatin County has taken the lead in the state for economic growth, conserving the beautiful and agriculturally significant parts of Bozeman becomes more and more important.

A land trust can be used by private property owners to protect themselves, and their land, from irresponsible development. The Montana Land Reliance, for example, is a statewide organization that has conserved 275,000 acres in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. It has also conserved 35,000 acres just in the Gallatin Valley alone. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust, another local land trust, has helped conserve 67 square miles in the valley, again, by teaming with private land owners. Both land trusts hope the growth in Bozeman will not force local, long time farmers to move away from the area.

How are land trusts able to save this land? Land trusts use a legal agreement called a conservation easement. What is a conservation easement? Well lets find out in the following article!

 

Please read the next article on Conservation Easements as they are the method that Land Trusts use to help conserve your land. Find it here http://www.athomeinbozeman.com/blog/What-is-a-conservation-easement-and-how-do-Land-Trusts-use-them-to-conserve-private-property Plus, they are tax deductable! If you would like any more information on either of these Land Trusts, feel free to visit their websites at:

www.mtlandreliance.org

www.gvlt.org

Residential building permits and rising utility connections continue to suggest rapid growth in Bozeman. From 2008 until 2013, Bozeman dealt with around 200 residential building permits per year. In 2014, the City of Bozeman Department of Community Development expects more than 1,000 permits to be given. Other than last year, the last time residential building permits reached more than 1,000 permitted buildings in a year was 2005.

Bozeman is also beating other Montana cities for new electric and gas connections. As of early June, Bozeman had 375 new electronic connections and 175 new gas connections. Billings paled in comparison, despite having the second highest number of new electronic connections with 100. To put the growth in perspective, compared to a high growth year in 2013, Bozeman has still doubled its average new electric connections per year in 2014.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 29

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