affordable housingFirst time home buyer real estateLiving in MontanaMixed useReal Estate in Montana December 22, 2020

What Should Affordable Housing in Bozeman Look Like?

Affordable housing in Bozeman is one of the biggest issues right now.  Affordability feels especially critical because of how tight the market has become since the pandemic. A huge influx of out-of-town buyers helped drive inventory down to record lows and prices up to record highs. The median price of a home in Bozeman is now up to $615,000 according to the latest Gallatin Association of Realtors Market Watch. 

The city commission recently approved a future growth plan that will increase the city’s footprint from 20.4 square miles to 70.8 over the next 20 years. As Bozeman grows, there will be opportunities to provide more affordable options. But it’s not just about the housing itself. I believe it’s also important to consider the bigger picture of creating healthy and thriving communities. Let’s take a look at what affordable housing should look like in Bozeman.

More Missing Middle Housing

Pictured is an apartment complex on the corner of Koch St. and Third Avenue. This multi-unit courtyard building sits right in the heart of the historic district in downtown Bozeman and blends in well with the single-family homes around it. It’s a great example of missing middle housing, which is defined as a type of housing that sits in the middle between detached single-family homes and mid-rise to high-rise apartment buildings. Missing middle housing often makes neighborhoods that would otherwise be out of reach more affordable. Many of the really nice, well-planned subdivisions in Bozeman like West Meadows, Flanders Mill and Valley West also feature smaller townhomes and missing middle options in their communities.

More Mixed-Use Neighborhoods

A mixed-use neighborhood is one where residential and commercial buildings intermingle in a way that encourages walking, biking, social connections and a real feeling of community. There is an organic vibrancy and diversity to mixed-use neighborhoods if they’re done right. The historic districts in downtown Bozeman are a great example. Take a walking tour and you will see lots of examples of missing middle housing options like duplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts and courtyard buildings mixed in with modest, single-family homes and multi-million dollar mansions. And best of all, the retail, restaurants and coffee shops on Main Street are just a quick 10- to 15-minute walk or bike ride from your door. The result is an engaged and lively neighborhood where college kids and young families mingle with empty-nesters and elderly neighbors.

Some great information on missing middle housing and mixed-use neighborhoods can be found at:

www.bluezones.com 

www.missingmiddlehousing.com 

In a future post I will highlight the new Bridger View project that was recently approved by the city commission. It will feature 31 market-rate homes set aside for working families in Bozeman who have been priced out of the market. If you’re a first-time homebuyer or just have questions about the Bozeman market, feel free to contact me at liz@windermere.com.