Look To Our Forests To Boost Our Economy

Two years into a slow economic recovery, many Montana rural communities are still struggling to create jobs. The unemployment rate in rural counties is just under eight percent compared to six percent for Montana’s metropolitan counties. In hard economic times, Montana has relied on its forests for jobs and income. Today, logging cannot lift the state alone, but logging combined with forest and watershed restoration work can be the basis for job growth in Montana’s rural counties. Restoration work utilizes the same skills, knowledge, and equipment already present in Montana’s timber industry and often includes commercial and small-diameter timber for
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Kiplinger’s Housing Forecast: Positive Signs Offset the Negative

The median home price in the U.S. has plunged nearly 40% in a little over five years, but the worst is definitely over, according to a recent report by Kiplinger: The market has finally wrung out the last excess valuations born of the housing bubble. Before you break out the party hats, note that this doesn’t mean prices across the nation are poised to rebound anytime soon. Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital, a provider of real estate data and analytics, said the housing market is in a “suspended state,” with positive and negative factors offsetting
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Kelly Appraisal Reports Strong Numbers For 2013 Sales

The number of non-distressed sales are up 53% and the number of REO sales are down 49% from this time last year. Short sales are down 38%. The median price of REO sales was $146,199 at this time in 2012 compared with $149,900 this year, and the median price of non-distressed sales was $216,450 in 2012 compared with $226,500 this year. Based on year-over-year comparison of the non-distressed sales, a 4.6% increase in prices is suggested. This data, as well as the overall sales, does indicate that as the demand increases, prices are also starting to increase.
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How To Make Your Home Look Larger Without Remodeling

When Mark Goldey and his wife Lisa decided to lease out their three-bedroom apartment, they rearranged it to entice renters. They de-kidified it, warehousing their two toddlers’ toys in a side TV room, and pushed the TV room couches out to the living room—it may seem counterintuitive, but furniture can actually make a room feel larger, so check out these great furniture options from the Maker&Son catalog. Their agent, Jason Saft of Citi Habitats, encouraged the Goldeys to display their glass artwork in prominent places that would reflect light around the room and draw attention to the high ceilings. He
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Home Price Index Sees Record Growth

WASHINGTON — Prices for U.S. homes leapt in April, posting record monthly growth and the fastest year-over-year growth in seven years, according to Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller data released Tuesday. With gains in 19 of 20 cities, the 20-city composite index rose 2.5 percent in April, the largest monthly growth on record. The data go back to 2000. After seasonal adjustments, prices rose 1.7 percent in April. Compared with the same period in the previous year, prices in April rose 12.1 percent, the fastest annual pace since 2006, according to the report. Still, the 20-city composite index indicated prices remain about
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Glacier Creates $172 Million in Economic Benefit

Sure signs of spring can be seen in the photo above of Park headquarters. A new National Park Service report shows that approximately 2.2 million visitors to Glacier National Park in 2012 spent $172 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,754 jobs in the local area. “We are honored and proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world to Glacier National Park,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “Glacier is a special place and many times visitors travel to Montana specifically to visit Glacier, and are introduced to the many other wonderful amenities that
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FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Announce HARP Changes to Reach More Borrowers

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, today announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in an effort to attract more eligible borrowers who can benefit from refinancing their home mortgage. HARP is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers who owe more than their home is worth to take advantage of low interest rates and other refinancing benefits. Borrowers must have mortgages currently owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The new program eliminates certain fees for borrowers; removes the current 125 percent
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Five Tips For Selling Your Home in the Winter

Just your luck — you have to sell your home in winter, the slowest and dreariest sales season of all. But cheer up. You can use staging, the reduced competition and some seasonal opportunities to your advantage. But before you decide to put your home up for sale, you have to consider that with the winter months approaching, the need for Sugar Land Texas wildlife control is increasing with rats getting in homes and inspection will be required. How you are going to move all of your belonging to your new home once you’ve sold. If you still don’t know
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Flathead Market Continues to Recover and is Gaining Momentum

In general, 2013 continued to improve from when the market bottomed at the end of 2011. The following is a list of some key points: 1. The employment picture continues to improve. Throughout most of 2013 the unemployment rate continued to decrease with a low in September of 5.9%. A key number that I look at is the actual number of people that are employed. In 2013 the average number of people employed was 40,182, which is up from 39,763 in 2012 and 38,750 in 2011. Even with that increase, it is still 3,911 short of the 44,093 that were
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Existing-Home Sales Rise Again in January

The uptrend in existing-home sales continues, with January sales rising for the third consecutive month with a pace that is now above year-ago levels, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Existing-home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 2.7% last month and are 5.3% above January 2010. This is the first time in seven months that sales activity was higher than a year earlier. The improvement is good but could be better, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “The uptrend in home sales is consistent with improvements in the economy and jobs, which are helping boost consumer confidence,”
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