Last November, an affordable housing program was adopted by the Bozeman Commissioners that included requirements for a percentage of housing units in new developments to be priced at levels considered affordable. The current median price of a home listed for sale in Bozeman, Mont., is $300,000. In Bend, it's $360,000, according to realtor.com, with a median closing price of $311,000.
Bozeman and Bend have some similarities and a few differences. Both cities are small, but Bozeman's population, at 41,660, is about half of Bend's, and the median household income in 2014 was $46,422. That's about 10 percent below the national average, which in 2014 was $51,939, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Bend's median household income for the same year was $52,006. Another difference is that the median age for Bozeman residents is 27.5 years and Bend's is 37.7 years.
There was opposition from the building community in Bozeman regarding the affordable housing program. Some builders cited concern that this would raise housing prices on other properties as builders pass on their costs for subsidized units to non-subsidized units. However, the policy as approved is basically a set of voluntary incentives for the building industry to create affordable housing by lowering construction costs.
The incentives include expedited building permit processes and relaxed lot size requirements for affordable housing starts. The ordinance requires that 54 affordable homes be constructed and sold by December 2017, with 12 affordable to families making 70 percent of the median income and the rest for families at 90 percent of the median income level.
One builder is taking advantage of the relaxed requirements to develop smaller, cheaper lots, building 840 square ft. units priced at about $205,000. Whereas a typical single family home lot in Bozeman runs about $80,000, the smaller allowed lots of 4,500 square ft. cost $25-30,000. Furthermore, affordable housing has a three-day expedited permit review compared to the typical four to five weeks required for most permits. Being able to save a month between investing in the land and handing off the house spells leverage.
This concept of smaller and more affordable homes fits in nicely with the popularity of the tiny home movement, while also increasing density and creating a benefit to builders.
Home Price Round-up
21275 Thornhill, Bend, OR 97702
3 beds, 2 baths, 1190 square feet, .10 acre lot
Built in 2016 | $239,990
Listed by Kine & Kine Properties
2457 SE Jennie Jo Ct, Bend, OR 97701
3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1656 square feet,
.15 acre lot | Built in 1997
Listed by The Broker Network of Central Oregon
3492 NW McCready Dr., Bend, OR 97703
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2239 square feet,
.50 acre lot | Built in 1998
Listed by Coldwell Banker Morris Real Estate
Photos and listing info from Central Oregon Multiple Listing Service