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EPISODE FIVE: OPEN ROAD
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Real Estate Market Summary for 2016
SUMMARIZED FROM JIM KELLEY’S ANNUAL REPORT BY GREG CARTER
Mr. Kelley’s annual real estate market report for Flathead County is available at the following link: http://kelleyappraisal.net/FlatheadMarket16.pdf
The Flathead real estate market continues to improve with near record number of sales in 2016! This number of sales coupled with subdivision activity near all-time lows has motivated a renewed interest in development. Although all the county’s towns show an increase in the number of sales, the largest increase was in Whitefish.
There was an 11% increase in the number of residential units built from 2015 to 2016. This number has shown a healthy increase every year since the bottom of the recession in 2011. Over those 5 years, the total increase in annual residential construction in the Flathead Valley was over 200%.
From the standpoint of residential sales, 2015 was the best year for home sales since 2006, and 2016 maintained that same level. Since 2011, the median home price has experienced a healthy annual increase totaling over 26%! In that same time period, the number of homes on the market has steadily decreased. Comparing total sales from 2016 with homes currently on the market, there is only a six month inventory throughout the Valley! (In Columbia Falls, there is only a 1 month inventory!)
So, here is an important message for all our clients who may be considering putting your home on the market…there’s rarely been a better time!! If priced right, these statistics say you won’t have much competition so; your home should sell readily. Call your RE/MAX Rocky Mountain real estate professional for a review and market analysis of your property.
From a potential buyer’s standpoint, here are some helpful statistics: Nationally, we just completed 34 years of consistent interest rate declines. That is obviously not going to continue.
In 2016, the overall average 30-year mortgage interest was 3.7%. Currently the 30-year rate is 4.1%. Still, that remains very near record lows. As you are aware, the Federal Reserve recently increased the Fed Funds rate a quarter of a percent. There may be two or three similar rate increases in the coming twelve months. Even at that, the mortgage rates will still be near historically record lows. Given these statistics, if you are considering a real estate purchase, there is ample reason to lock in your mortgage rate as soon as possible.
In summary, we have an extremely healthy market for anyone thinking about selling their home and plenty of motivation to not wait if you are considering a purchase. We at RE/MAX Rocky Mountain Real Estate would consider it a privilege to assist you with any of your real estate needs. We have offices in both Whitefish and Columbia Falls and have been serving our real estate clients in all the Flathead Valley sub-markets for over 20 years.
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City moves ahead with highway 93 south corridor plan
BY HEIDI DESCH, WHITEFISH PILOT JAN 25, 2017
The city of Whitefish is finally moving forward on a long discussed corridor plan for Highway 93 South.
In December City Council requested city planning staff create a scope of work and a timeline for initiating a corridor plan for the area. Last week Council gave its OK to a proposal that sets the kick-off this spring for work on the corridor plan.
The city’s 2007 growth policy identified the area as in need of a corridor plan, but plans for Highway 93 West and Wisconsin Avenue were considered greater priorities by the City Council, mostly due to issues with the doughnut dispute.
A Montana Supreme Court ruling in 2014 ceded planning control of the doughnut from the city to the Flathead County following a long-running legal battle over its control.
Mayor John Muhlfeld addressed appearances that the city is rushing into the corridor plan.
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Forest project set to begin this summer in Haskill Basin
By HEIDI DESCH, WHITEFISH PILOT JAN 24, 2017
PHOTO BY STEVEN GNAM
Widespread prescribed burns and some timber harvesting are planned for the mountains above Haskill Basin.
The project known as the Whitefish Municipal Watershed Fuel Reduction project is an effort to prevent a devastating wildfire that could be destructive to the city’s water supply from Second and Third creeks. The project is also aimed at addressing disease concerns in the forest, including root disease, bark beetles, and mortality in white bark pine.
Flathead Forest Supervisor Chip Weber last week issued a decision notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the project following an environmental assessment. The project, which includes 1,114 acres of forestland, is expected to be implemented in the summer of 2017.
Project leader Deb Bond said the goal is to implement a variety of fuel reduction treatments on the area.
“The purpose is that by treating the forest we hope we can reduce the chance of wildfire in the future,” Bond said.
Several types of silvicultural treatments are planned on 254 acres. Commercial thinning is planned on 58 acres and seed tree harvests is proposed on 196 acres. About 859 acres within the project area are set to have fuel treatments by either prescribed burning of 756 acres or understory removal on 103 acres.
The prescribed burns are set along the south face of the Whitefish Range above Haskill Basin. Most of the terrain is high-elevation and steep with limited access.
Timber harvest is planned mostly on the lower flanks of the range that are accessible by established roads and temporary road extensions.