Tuesday, December 22, 2009

November home sales in Central Ohio the highest in four years

Renewable market optimistic as prices continue to stabilize

The month of November saw home sales soar 59.5 percent from this time last year with 1,839 listings purchased. Not since 2005 have November numbers been so high.

“Historically low interest rates and the tax credits for homebuyers put first time buyers in an ideal position to take advantage of the market,” said Gary Parsons, President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. “And with the expansion of the tax credit, we expect to see more renewable buyers enter the market in 2010.”

When the $8000 tax credit was renewed in October, it was expanded to include a $6500 tax credit for homeowners who wish to purchase a new residence. Those renewable buyers, or current homeowners who wish to purchase a new house, have been slow to return to the market but Parsons notes that as prices continue to stabilize, more renewable buyers will find new homes.

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The stabilization of home prices was reflected in the average home price of $145,589, an increase of 1.5 percent compared to November 2008.

To date, 2009 home sales are at 18,771, up 10.9 percent year-over-year. Homes spent an average of 92 days on the market, down 3.2 percent from this time last year and 1.1 percent lower than October’s average.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Columbus rolls back parking meter increases...at least for now

You can sign the petition here.

clipped from www.dispatch.com
Officials say they want four to six months to study options
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 2:37 PM

Mayor Michael B. Coleman is rescinding the city's 50 percent parking meter rate hike for as long
as six months to determine better ways to raise rates to back a new hotel and replace aging meters
without angering small business owners.
"He is essentially calling for a time out," Coleman's spokesman, Dan Williamson, said today,
adding that the mayor remains committed to a rate increase.
"What the mayor is signaling here is we're open to how we raise rates."
City officials were stung by the reaction of Downtown and Short North business owners in
particular who complained loudly that the rate hikes would hurt their businesses.
John Angelo of the Short North Business Association has suggested extending meters hours to
raise money for the hotel and new meters.
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City officials will meet with an advisory panel made up of business owners and others to determine a solution.

"What the mayor would like to do is harness that energy in a positive way," Williamson said.

As of yesterday morning, an online petition circulated by the Citizens for a Collaborative Columbus Government had gathered 1,069 signatures to halt or reverse the rate increase.

That effort, spearheaded by Angelo and local restaurateur Elizabeth Lessner, is shooting for 2,000 signatures.

"Let's send a clear message to Meter Hike Mike," Angelo wrote in an e-mail today.

It appears Coleman heard the message loud and clear.

The city began raising rates at parking meters on Nov. 30. Crews will begin resetting the meters today or Wednesday, Williamson said.

Officials acknowledged last week they should have sought more input, but denied accusations that they misled people about the hike. They also said they would not rescind it.

Williamson said the city would ultimately raise rates next year.

He also said the city remains committed to providing $1.4 million though parking revenue to financially back, if needed, a Hilton hotel planned for a site across from the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The city also plans to use money generated from the hike to replace 4,300 aging parking meters.

The Short North's "Jackson on High" condos get tax abatement

The Short North’s Jackson on High project has been cleared for a full real-estate tax abatement over 10 years for residents of the high-end project.

Developer JBH Holdings said Columbus City Council approved the incentive Monday. The abatement, which comes out to roughly 2 percent of the purchase price annually, will save the owner of a $300,000 condominium about $57,000 over the life of the credit.

A JBH spokesman said about half of the 44 units have been sold in the eight-story development, set for completion early next year. Developer Brad Howe has said sale prices range from $200,000 to $900,000 with units ranging from about 900 to 2,500 square feet in size.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

December Market Data For Central Ohio

Market Data

If you like to see the numbers, here they are. (If the graph is too big for the screen, move the bar at the bottom to see the most current data)

This data is for the entire Central Ohio area. If you would like a report for your area of town and price range, just e-mail me. The graphs in the email will be easier to read.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, this is critical market information. I always provide this kind of data to my clients.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New boutique hotel Downtown on Broad Street will be named "Indigo Hotel"

clipped from www.dispatch.com
The newest boutique hotel Downtown will be built by rehabilitating and combining two historic
buildings and using a $4.6 million state historic tax credit.
The Hotel Indigo will utilize buildings at 16 and 20 E. Broad Street, immediately next to the
Rhodes State Office Tower.
The 117-room Indigo Hotel will cost an estimated $26.6 million, according to the state tax
credit records. It will be developed by Schottenstein Property Group.
The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit will pay for rehabilitation of the Hayden Building. The building will be converted into an upscale boutique hotel.
The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit will pay for rehabilitation of the Hayden Building. The building will be converted into an upscale boutique hotel.
The old Hayden Building at 20 E. Broad St., a four-story Italianate-style office structure named
after industrial entrepreneur Peter Hayden, is the oldest commercial building Downtown, dating to
1869. It was designed by Nathan B. Kelley of Columbus, a Statehouse architect.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Columbus Chamber sees signs of hope in economy

It may be getting better.

According to a ColumbusChamber report released Tuesday, a comparatively mild impact from the recession and predicted employment growth are causes for optimism in Central Ohio.

“The expectation among economists is that the labor market will turn sometime during 2010, although even an increase in earnings among current workers will be positive for retail sales,” Chamber Chief Economist Bill LaFayette said in a release.

Employment estimates for the eight-county Columbus metropolitan statistical area, which includes Morrow County, show a 1.9 percent decline in overall employment for the region from December 2007 to September 2009, compared with a 5.2 percent decline for the U.S. Retail employment for the region fell 4.5 percent in that time period, versus a 5.6 percent decline nationally.

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Central Ohio has fared better of late because its retail sector, overbuilt in the 1980s and 1990s, went through its major culling during and after the 2001 recession, the report said. Retail employment dropped 18.1 percent from December 2000 to December 2007, according to the report.

“The return of regional retail to a more reasonable level of development suggests that retail growth in the Columbus MSA is possible once the economic recovery becomes solid,” LaFayette said.

The report was presented Tuesday as part of a retail summit hosted by Franklin County Commissioners and the chamber. The message was cautious optimism. Ohio State University economics professor Lucia Dunn said the university’s Consumer Debt Stress Index, which measures consumer concern about personal debt, has been improving. The monthly nationwide survey peaked in July, with consumers 55 percent more worried about their debt than in the baseline month of January 2006, but has fallen in every month since then and sits at 18 percent more worried after November.

“The drop in debt stress is good news,” she said. “It’s still 18 percent above 2006, but the decline is good news for all of us.”

Less concern about debt means more consumption, she said.

Steve Mansfield, senior policy and management analyst for the Franklin County Office of Management and Budget, stressed the importance of a strong retail presence to the county’s coffers, with sales tax collections accounting for more than 40 percent of the county budget. He said his office is forecasting $124.4 million in sales tax revenue for the county this year and more than $124 million in 2010.

In Columbus, Credit Card Parking Meters to Roll Out in May 2010

After a massive wave of public outcry regarding the ongoing 50% rate hike to parking meters throughout the urban neighborhoods of Columbus, the city is trying to make amends. 720 new smart meter heads will start to be rolled out in May 2010, which will accept credit cards in addition to coins.
A civic working group considing of community, business, and civic leaders will oversee the implementation locations of these new credit card meters, and will be tasked with monitoring the impact of the meter rate increases.
The meter rate increases, which took effect on November 30th, have been an administrative decision by the Public Service Department, so no vote was required by City Council. Tonight, City Council is expected to vote on the creation of a holding account that will allocate $1.4 million in parking meter revenue for reserve bonds to help finance the new Convention Center Hotel.
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Basil Thai blooms in Short North

clipped from www.dispatch.com
The opening of Basil Thai restaurant in the Short North this past weekend was a moment the
Ruanphae family had thought about for years.
<p>The Ruanphae family, whose Chicago-area Thai restaurant has won praise, has opened a new location at 1124 N. High Street.</p>

The Ruanphae family, whose Chicago-area Thai restaurant has won praise, has opened a new location at 1124 N. High Street.

But patience is a family virtue, said Rhome Ruanphae. His mother, Judy Ruanphae, opened the Thai
Village restaurant on Division Street in Chicago's Wicker Park district 23 years ago, after coming
to the U.S. and working as a nurse for 15 years at a nearby hospital.
"She knew what the dangers were," her son said, both financially and, in that area at that time,
physically. But she perfected her recipes and built a following as the area improved, and in due
time was "discovered" by local media.
Mrs. Ruanphae had long considered opening another restaurant, and she and her husband, Sam,
began considering Columbus when Rhome moved here 10 years ago.
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This year, the family decided it was time. They've taken half of a former antiques shop at 1124 N. High St. and renovated the space, aiming for a sense of permanence.

"We liked the sense of a neighborhood connection in the Short North," Rhome Ruanphae said.

Although much of the space had to be gutted, the dining-room floor is the refinished original, and the sign painted on bricks at the back is from a bygone era. Local businesses did most of the changes, especially Amlin Development and Columbus Architectural Salvage.

Mrs. Ruanphae has come in from Chicago for the opening and will be running the kitchen "until we feel comfortable with what's going on," her son said.

"We are focusing on ingredients that are hard to find here in Columbus -- noodles and spices," Ruanphae said, adding that many will be brought in regularly from Chicago.

The menu is solidly Thai, although Ruanphae suggested that "there's something for everyone in Thai food." He highlighted the crispy roll appetizer ($6.95) and the noodle kee mow ($9.50). Salads start at $5, and dinner entrees rise to $15, for the pla radprick, a whole tilapia in garlic sauce.

One departure might come before long: The Ruanphaes are considering creating a Thai tapas menu.

Basil Thai's dining room can seat 52, while a room at the back holds 38 more and can be used as a party room. The long bar accommodates about a dozen.

The restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. every day for dine-in and carryout. A dine-in lunch special of soup, appetizer and noodle or rice dish is $7.50. The kitchen closes at 9 p.m. Sunday, 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Home Tip: Preparing Walls To Be Painted

clipped from lowes.rismedia.com
Happy December!

The end of another year has come already. Now is a great time to reflect on what we are thankful for. However, it can also be a stressful season of hosting, decorating, organizing and, of course, wrapping!>

To assist you with some of these needs, stop by your local Lowe’s or visit www.lowes.com to find essential tools to help you weather this holiday season.

- Terry Penrod. REALTOR®. | contact me

Prepping Walls for Paint

Properly preparing your walls will help you avoid a lot of paint problems in the future. Save yourself from bubbling, flaking and chipping. Take the necessary steps below to get a smooth surface ready for your new decor.

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Remove Electrical Plates, Switches and Other Fixtures

Head to your electrical panel and shut off the circuit breakers to the rooms you’ll be painting. Once the power is off, remove the outlet plates and switch covers. Also remove any wall-mounted light fixtures. If you’re painting your ceiling, take down any ceiling fans, pendant lights or medallions. Once all light fixture wires are wrapped for safety, you can turn the breakers back on.

Scrape Old Wallpaper or Paint

Wallpaper. It’s best not to paint over wallpaper. New wallpaper is easy to peel off a wall. Pick a corner of wallpaper and start pulling. Use a putty knife to help loosen the paper as you peel. It’s also a good idea to use a wetting agent to help detach wallpaper and its glue. A wetting agent can be water, a water and vinegar solution or a steamer. Apply the agent with a sponge, roller or spray. Be sure you remove the wallpaper before the agent dries.

Some wallpaper, such as vinyl, doesn’t respond well to wetting agents. Sand the wallpaper with fine grit sandpaper to remove the water-resistant coating. You can also use a perforator or utility knife to cut small, shallow slits in the paper, which will help wetting agents get to the glue faster.

After the paper and glue is removed with a wide blade putty knife (or something similar), wash the walls with a cleanser and let it dry for at least a day before continuing your preparation.

Old Paint. If your walls have old paint that is chipped or peeling, you’ll want to scrape it off before you add a new coat. A broad putty knife will work best. Be careful when scraping that you don’t dig into the wall’s surface. For areas that are lightly cracked, a wire brush can be used. Ask a Lowe’s associate for the best tool for your paint problem.

If you’re also removing paint from trim, you might need to use a paint-stripping agent. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for this project.

Repair Dinged and Dented Walls

After your walls are clear of old paint or wallpaper, you might find blemishes that need repair. Small nail holes or cracks can be easily fixed with joint compound. Larger holes require you to patch the wall. Read up on wall repair in Lowe’s How-To section.


You’ll want the smoothest surface possible before you paint. Sand trouble spots with fine grit sandpaper. Sand stubborn patches of wallpaper adhesive or areas where cracked paint was scraped. If repairs were made, you’ll need to sand the joint compound after it is completely dried.

Sanding also helps remove gloss from areas. By removing high-gloss and semi-gloss, you prep a surface to better take new coats of paint.


Clean walls with tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) and water solution. Apply this solution with a sponge or roller. Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves during this process. Rinse the walls with water after scrubbing with TSP. Allow the surfaces to dry thoroughly before applying paint.

Note: If you can take the odor, you can use ammonia instead of TSP.

Apply Primer

It’s recommended to apply primer to the entire surface before painting. Primer helps retain your color choice. It can also solve a lot of unforeseeable problems left behind by the house’s former owners, like painting over enameled surfaces without sanding first. A primer can help the new paint adhere to the surface better.

To apply primer, use the same steps as if you were painting. Remember to tape off trim, woodwork and any other area you don’t want to paint.

If you decided to skip an entire surface primer, you’ll still need to spot prime. Apply primer to any joint compound you may have added or areas where you scraped old paint.

Now you’re ready to start painting.