BelgradeFirst time home buyer real estategrowth plan for Gallatin CountyLiving in MontanaReal Estate in Montana February 23, 2021

Belgrade Looks to the Future With Revitalization Plan

Main Street in downtown Belgrade with the historic Mint Cafe/Bar in the background. A new improvement plan will bring history into the future.

A revitalization plan for Belgrade looks to the future.

Belgrade, Montana no longer wants to be known as the bedroom community for Bozeman. An Urban Renewal District was designated in 2017 and the city has an ambitious revitalization plan up for review that will set it apart from Bozeman as its own unique destination area. The Belgrade Downtown Design Plan is currently open for public comment and will go in front of the Belgrade City Council for approval early March.

Here are some exciting takeaways from the Belgrade Downtown Design Plan 2020:

Create a sense of place/arrival

  • Belgrade is just 1.2 miles from Bozeman International Airport, which counted 1.57 million visitors in 2019. Better signage that signals a sense of arrival will help attract more of those visitors to Belgrade.
  • Downtown will feature an interesting architectural mix that harmoniously melds the city’s industrial railroad history with historic homes/buildings and modern new-builds that combine residential and commercial.

Pedestrian and bike-friendly streets:

  • The city would like to encourage walking and biking around the main commerce center. Sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, curbs and gutters will be upgraded and added to keep the streets inviting, clean and safe.

More gathering/green spaces:

  • Connecting parks and green spaces will encourage visitors to move around the town. Benches, bike racks, trash cans and pretty planters will encourage them to stay awhile.

Residents want to be able to stay in Belgrade for all their shopping and entertainment. Some major changes from the design plan that will help spur economic development:

  • A parking lot downtown
  • A bypass of semis off Main Street
  • Updating zoning to make room for higher density, mixed-use projects, while maintaining clear site lines of Belgrade’s historic structures to maximize the sense of place
  • Create a railroad quiet zone
  • Street configurations that support better traffic flow

Belgrade’s current market

  • Belgrade is just 11 miles from Bozeman. Its population is 8,254 and has a median age of 31.9.
  • According to the 2015 American Community Survey, there are 3,308 total housing units in Belgrade, of which nearly half (1,511) were built prior to 1990.
  • According to the 2012 Economic Census of the U.S., there are 340 business establishments within the Belgrade city limits.
  • Market activity in Belgrade has been robust (Source: January 2021 Market Watch from Gallatin Association of Realtors and Big Sky County MLS)
    • New listings for single-family homes have increased by 28.6% from January 2020; 18 active listings
    • Average sales price for single-family homes increased by 24% from January 2020  to $451,488
    • Condos have received 101.8% of the list price; average price was $271,870
    • No condo listings at the time of the report

Belgrade is going to be a town to watch in the upcoming years. If the Downtown Design Plan is successful it will ultimately distinguish Belgrade as its own unique city apart from its more famous neighbor, Bozeman.  If you have any questions about what’s happening in Belgrade and the areas surrounding Bozeman, feel free to contact me at liz@windermere.com.

Entertainmenttraveling in winterwhat to do in montana February 17, 2021

Bozeman a Desirable Destination Despite the Pandemic

Outdoor recreation in Montana. Snowmobile passing bison south of Obsidian Cliff at Yellowstone National Park (Jim Peaco, March 1997)

Bozeman continued to be a desirable destination despite the pandemic. While some major cities were shutting down, Bozeman presented a much different picture.

  • Yellowstone National Park saw record numbers of visitors in September and October 2020. Total visitation in 2020 was only down by 5%, and that included the park being completely shutdown for the month of April.
  • Traffic at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) dipped 43.5% in 2020. Nationally, it went down 60.7%.
  • Our airport is the busiest in Montana and it’s getting even busier. In the last year, BZN added new direct flights to Boston, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Nashville, Charlotte, San Diego, Austin and Oakland. And an eighth airline, Sun Country, was recently added with service to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Industry experts are expecting a pent-up demand for travel this summer. Some new travel trends that have emerged as a result of Covid will continue to highlight Bozeman as a desirable destination.

People Want Rural Areas

  • Bozeman is close to idyllic, rural towns like Ennis, Virginia City, Dillon and West Yellowstone. “In 2020, search data already showed that nearly 90% of overall searches were for trips to rural areas. Cabin rentals are expected to be especially popular, accounting for 33% of total accommodation searches in 2020, a drastic +143% increase from 2019.” (Source: HometoGo)

People Want Outdoor Recreation

  • Hiking, fishing, biking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling are now the vacation must-dos. Bozeman sits right in the center of two entrances to Yellowstone National Park. The north entrance via Gardiner is just 77 miles away and the west entrance through West Yellowstone is 90 miles away.
  • Locally, we have beautiful Hyalite Canyon, Sypes Canyon, Bear Canyon and plenty of in-town trails courtesy of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

People Want Quiet Winter Getaways

  • According to the HometoGo survey, 43% have winter trips already planned for 2021; ski vacations made up 24% of those.
  • Big Sky ski resort is about 45 miles from Bozeman.
  • The local ski hill, Bridger Bowl, is just 16 miles from town.

People Want More Last-Minute Trips

  • Ease of travel and flexibility are key for travelers right now.
  • Bozeman is easy to get to via plane or car. Many direct flights from major cities like San Diego, Phoenix and Seattle takes less than three hours.
  • Montana’s population is small compared to its size, which means plenty of open spaces. Our current Covid regulations are relatively relaxed compared to most major cities.

If you’re scoping out Bozeman, check out some of my previous posts about what to expect in Bozeman real estate in 2021; the revitalization of midtown Bozeman; and the mid- and short-term rental market here. Feel free to contact me at liz@windermere.com if you have any questions about Bozeman and its surrounding areas.

 

 

EntertainmentLiving in Montanatraveling in winterwhat to do in montanawinter activitiesWinter in Bozeman February 9, 2021

Fun Things to Do in Bozeman in the Winter

Ice climbing in Montana. (Photo: Montana Office of Tourism)

Looking for fun things to do in Bozeman in the winter besides skiing? Discover these other great activities to try during our sunny winter days. (Be sure to look up Covid-19 restrictions before planning your trip.)

Ice Climbing

  • Ice climbing is just as popular among enthusiasts in the winter and Bozeman has some of the best in the country. A great place to start is with the folks at the Ice Climbing Alliance (ICA). They offer clinics for beginner, intermediate and advanced climbers.
  • Bozeman Ice Festival: The ICA presents this super fun, week-long festival each year. It’s a chance for ice climbing enthusiasts to get together and share stories over food, drinks and films. Unfortunately, this year’s festival was cancelled due to Covid, but check back regularly for updates on the 2022 calendar.

Snowshoeing

  • If you’re a beginner, a great place to start is Crosscut Mountain Sports Center. They have equipment rentals, lessons and 9-10K of narrow-gauge trails that are specially groomed for snowshoeing and fat biking. The terrain varies and the views are breathtaking as they go from lodgepole pines and aspen groves to open meadows.
  • If you know what you’re doing, the Bozeman Convention and Visitors Bureau has a great blog post on the best places to go snowshoeing in Bozeman.

Ice Skating

  • The City of Bozeman maintains three ice rinks for residents and visitors to use for free. If you need rentals, check out Chalet Sports on Main Street. The warming huts are currently closed due to Covid. But there are outdoor benches and port-a-johns located at each rink.
    • Beall Park: 415 N. Bozeman
    • Anderson Pavilion (at Bogert): 325 S. Church
    • South Side Park: College and 5th Avenues

Tips for Safe Winter Traveling

  • Winter traveling through the mountains is serious business, so be sure to take these important precautions:
    • Do a full maintenance check-up on your car
    • Have snow chains ready for your tires
    • Check road conditions
    • Drive SLOW
    • Avoid driving at night. Black ice and wildlife are more prevalent after dark.
    • Pack warm blankets/coats, extra food, flashlight, batteries, first-aid kit and a tow rope

 

Check out my previous posts on snowmobiles/snow coaches, best ski resorts and cross country trails in and around Bozeman. If you have any questions about planning your next trip to Bozeman, feel free to contact me at liz@windermere.com.

 

 

affordable housingFirst time home buyer real estateLiving in MontanaReal Estate in Montana February 2, 2021

What to Expect in Bozeman Real Estate in 2021

Affordable housing can be found 29 miles from Bozeman in Three Forks, Montana

What to Expect in Bozeman Real Estate in 2021

Bozeman real estate in 2021 is currently in a seller’s market. From 2019 to 2020, the median sales price increased from *$399,900 to $420,000 and inventory dipped to 0.4 months supply. My prediction is that it’s not going to get any better or less competitive in Bozeman real estate in 2021.

If you’re a seller:

  • Buyers are still picky and they are not buying just to buy. Consider updates and professional staging if your home is dated and looking like the 1990s.
  • Buyers are looking for homes that fit their lives in the new normal. Think: plenty of outdoor space; dedicated rooms for remote work/home schooling/exercise; and a well-appointed kitchen with plenty of storage space.

If you’re a buyer:

  • Bidding wars are a real thing right now, so think carefully about the price you want to pay.
  • Be prepared to make concessions on items like inspections, earnest money and closing dates, as well as letting the seller rent back for a while if they need to look for a new home.

If you’re looking for affordability: Consider surrounding towns like Belgrade, Three Forks and Livingston.

  • Belgrade: Located 11 miles from Bozeman; The median sales price increased from *$319,900 in 2019 to $341,400 in 2020.
  • Three Forks: Located 29 miles from Bozeman; The median sales price increased from *$282,500 in 2019 to $311,250 in 2020.
  • Livingston: Located 26 miles from Bozeman; The median sales price increased from *$284,000 in 2019 to $300,000 in 2020.

(*Source: Big Sky Country MLS 2020 Annual Report)

This previous post talks about what happened to Bozeman real estate in 2020. Keep in mind that whatever you might be hearing or reading on social media, real estate agents did not create the current housing situation in Bozeman. The low interest rates mixed with the resulting demand for homes in places like Bozeman during the pandemic and the hesitancy of homeowners to put homes on the market with all the uncertainty were factors that were completely out of any agent’s purview.

If you’re interested in learning more about real estate in Bozeman and surrounding areas in Montana, feel free to contact me at liz@windermere.com.