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Indianapolis home sales up 30.6% from last year

home sales up 400

Sales of existing homes in the Indianapolis area rose a brisk 30.6% in May from a year ago, the largest monthly jump since November of last year.

Sale prices also showed strong appreciation last month, rising 4.2% from a year ago to a median of $138,000.  Seller received, on average, 92.5% of their original list price.

One reason for the strong sales: there are fewer homes to bid on.  The supply of homes for sale last month in the 13-county metro area was down 16% from a year ago, to 13,135, said Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors.  May sales totaled 3.328.

"May was the type of month Realtors have been waiting for in this slow and steady housing recovery," said Kevin Kirkpatrick, president of the Indiana Association of Realtors.  "Buyer interest and confidence remain high, so we expect to be just as busy during the next few months as the housing recovery gains momentum."

Sales rose fastest in Johnson (46.9%), Hendricks (37.5%), Boone (37%), and Hamilton (35.7%) counties.  Sales also were strong in Hancock (35.6%), Morgan (31.5%), Marion (25.6%), and Shelby (22.7%) counties. 

Monthly home sales in the metro area haven't shown a drop from the year-earlier month since June of 2011. 

Though for-sale listings were down a year ago, they've increased for two straight months, which has helped to boost sales as buyers find more homes on the market.

"Buyers have been ready and this noticeable increase in new inventroy will help move-up and first-time buyers alike," said Rick Lux, MIBOR president. 

Developer to bring hint of Wrigleyville to Chatham Arch neighborhood

A local developer plans to build three single-family homes on a surface lot south of Mass Ave. in the Chatham Arch neighborhood.  While that may not sound unusual, the designs are.  It's something you may see in a Wrigleyville-type neighborhood in Chicago, or maybe a Georgetown out in D.C.  The vertical-style homes will be wider than a typical row house and will range in height from three to four stories with a loft level and rooftop patio.  Each residence will be equipped with an elevator and state-of-the-art techology regarding the functionality of the home.  Ross Reller, director of land services for Collier's International says, "The city wanted us to sell this for new development and not for new parking.  That's not what the city wants on the corner."  The design of the first home is conceptual, and the project still needs to be approved by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.  The design will be more contemporary rather than a historic brick-and-limestone look.

The 10 Best DIY Bathroom Projects


1.)  Re-light it!

New lighting can give an old room a fresh look. Install new LED strips as back lighting around a mirror or inside glass cabinet doors. New pendants in front of the mirror will reflect light around the room and make the space brighter. A hanging fixture or chandelier above the tub or in the center of the room can add a spark of personality.

2.) Gain square footage with a pedestal

In a small bathroom or a half bath, a pedestal sink makes sense because it will open up floor space, making the room seem bigger. Plus, pedestals come in many different styles and price ranges, so you can pair them with most any decor and budget.

3.)  Replace tub with walk-in shower

If you have a large bathtub that doesn't get used much, replace it with a walk-in shower. Not only will it look more luxurious, it's more practical. And with a set of clear glass doors, a walk-in shower will make the room feel bigger.

4.)  Buy or convert to dual flush

You don't need to replace the entire toilet to save money on your water bill. Dual flush converter kits cost about $25, take less than an hour to install and are available at most hardware stores. If you are in the market for a new toilet, dual-flush models are in the medium-to-high price range, but what you'll save on your water bill should make up for the extra cost.

5.)  Get creative with storage

Think outside the box when it comes to storage. Try slicing a wooden barrel into four pieces, add inserts, then mount on the wall.  This is a cool way to store extra toilet paper, towels, etc.

6.)  Add a towel warmer

Even if your bathroom isn't as luxurious as this, a towel warmer can make you feel like it is. Wall-mounted models are easy to install and plug into a standard outlet.

7.)  Toe-kick nightlight

Rope lighting tucked up on the underside of the cabinet illuminates the floor, making it easy for those middle-of-the-night visits.

8.)  Re-tile the shower

Re-tiling a shower doesn't have to cost a lot if you mix and match materials. Here, the more expensive smaller mosaics are paired with less expensive 12" x 12" tile and the results are stunning. If you mix tile, you only need a small amount of each, so you may be able find some bargains at closeouts, Craigslist or salvage yards.

9.)  Bowl sinks

No matter the style, a vessel sink will add a touch of elegance. Vessel sinks — in stone, glass and metal — have come down in price since they first became popular. Smaller bowls are perfect for half bathrooms and powder rooms.

10.)  Integrate furniture

An inexpensive butcher-block kitchen island can be morphed into a vanity by retro-fitting it with a generous-sized sink and a laminate countertop.

U.S. home prices up 10.5% in past year

A survey shows U.S. home prices rose 10.5 percent in March compared with a year ago, the biggest gain since March 2006.

Core Logic, a real estate data provider, said that annual home prices have now increased for 13 straight months. Prices are rising in part because more buyers are bidding on a limited supply of homes for sale.

Prices increased in 46 states over the past year — 11 of them posting double-digit gains. And when excluding distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, prices rose in every state.

Nevada led all states with a 22.2 percent annual gain. It was followed by California (17.2 percent), Arizona (16.8 percent), Idaho (14.5 percent) and Oregon (14.3 percent).

Home prices also rose 1.9 percent in March from February, signaling a solid start to the spring buying season. And 88 of the 100 largest cities reported price gains compared with a year earlier, down slightly from 92 in February.

Steady job creation and record-low mortgage rates have boosted home sales and construction in the past year. More demand, along with a limited supply of homes for sale, has pushed prices higher.

The number of homes for sale fell nearly 17 percent in March compared with a year ago. That supply would be exhausted in about 4.7 months at the current sales pace. That’s below the 6 months of supply that is typical in a healthy market.

Rising home prices can help sustain the housing rebound and lift the economy. More potential homebuyers may seek to purchase a house before prices rise further. And homeowners are more likely to put their houses on the market once they expect a good price.

Higher home values also boost Americans’ overall net worth. That can encourage consumers to spend more, driving more economic growth. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity.

15 Moving Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier

So you've finally found a new home that you love!  Now the real fun begins... packing!  Here are some moving tips that will make your life much easier. 

1.)  Pack an overnight bag with all of your essentials.  Chances are, you’ll be too tired to unpack your things at your new home immediately. You’ll want your essentials within easy access, including a change of clothes if you’re going back to work the next day as well as all your toiletries. It’s also a great way to transport a laptop, which could run the risk of getting stolen during a move.

2.)  Pack items you'll need first in a clear plastic bin instead of cardboard.

3.)  Wrap your breakables in clothing to save on bubble wrap.

4.)  For extra padding, pack your glasses and stemware in clean socks.

5.)  Be sure to label your boxes on the side, not the top.  Don't forget to include which room they'll go to, as well as what's inside.

6.)  If possible, show up at your new home before the move to clean the kitchen and bathrooms.  Put up a new shower curtain liner and stock some new bath towels and toilet paper, as well. You’ll want to take a hot shower after a long day of moving.

7.)  Cover the openings of your toiletries with saran wrap, then put the caps back on.  This will prevent all your bottles from leaking during the move.

8.)  Pack plates vertically, like records.  They'll be less likely to break.

9.)  Keep drawers in tact by covering them with Press 'n Seal.  Dresser drawers are like their own moving boxes — this will keep you from having to unpack and re-fold their contents.

10.)  Keep sandwich bags handy for holding any small parts of things you have to take apart, like curtain rods or mounted flat-screen TVs.  Tape the sandwich bag to the back of the item they correspond to. 

11.)  Take a photo of how your electronics are connected so you can remember how and where all the wires go.

12.)  Cut down on boxes by making all of your baskets, laundry bins, hampers, and suitcases work for you.  Use the wheeled suitcases for heavy things like books. 

13.)  Vacuum seal your out of season clothing. 

14.)  Change your address two weeks prior to moving.  This might seem like a no-brainer for important things like utilities and cable but don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve also got Amazon, PayPal, credit cards, your bank, magazine subscriptions, and your mail to worry about.

15.)  Defrost your refrigerator at least a day before moving, and wipe up any liquid. 

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