Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
A tenant of a woman who was shot and killed at her Victorian Village home last night is being sought for her slaying.
Columbus police issued a murder warrant today for Jason L. Stubbs, 35. According to court records, he lived at 1177 Highland St. with Carolyn Cummins, who owned the house.
Cummins, 73, was found shot in her basement about 9 p.m. and died a short time later. A man made the 911 call to police, and witnesses said they saw a man run from the house about that time.
Cummins often allowed people to stay at her house, near 4th Avenue, and she paid people to do errands and tasks. She was apparently seeking a tenant for the detached apartment in her back yard, according to a handmade sign posted out front.
Neighbors said police were frequently called to the house for disturbances. According to police records, officers were called by Cummins at least 49 times since 2004, for trespassing, burglary, theft, assault and damaging charges.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Stubbs is asked to call the homicide squad at 614-645-4730.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Ohio 10th cheapest for auto insurance, 6th cheapest for homeowners
By Mark Williams
The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday August 28, 2012 4:25 PM
Ohio continues to be one of the more affordable states when it comes to insurance costs.
Figures out this afternoon show the Ohio had the 10th lowest auto insurance rates and the sixth lowest homeowner rates in the U.S. in 2011, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.
Auto rates among the state’s top 10 insurers rose 1.2 percent, the lowest since 2008, according to the state. Homeowner rates among the top 10 insurers increased by 6.2 percent.
The top 10 represent about 70 percent of the market.
By Martin Crutsinger
Associated Press Tuesday August 28, 2012 11:02 AM
U.S. home prices rose in June from the same month last year, the first year-over-year increase since the summer of 2010. The increase is the latest evidence of a nascent recovery in the housing market.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index released today showed a gain of 0.5 percent from June 2011.
The last time the year-over-year index increased was in September 2010. For much of that 12-month period, the government was offering a home-buying tax credit.
The report also showed that all 20 cities tracked by the index rose in June from May, the second consecutive time in which every city posted month-over-month gains. And all but two cities posted stronger gains in June than May.
Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta recorded the biggest one-month gains.
"The combined positive news coming from both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices bode well for the housing market," said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P's index committee.
Jonathan Basile, an economist with Credit Suisse, said improving home prices should boost home sales further in the coming months.
"Persistent news of rising house prices should start convincing prospective home sellers that it's not just a buyers' market," Basile said. "And when Americans become more comfortable with selling their home, they also become more comfortable with buying another one."
The S&P/Case-Shiller monthly index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The June figures are the latest available.
The increases partly reflect the impact of seasonal buying. The month-to-month prices aren't adjusted for seasonal factors.
Still, a measure of national prices rose for the third straight month. Home prices jumped nearly 7 percent in the April-June quarter compared to the previous quarter.
The housing market is making a modest but steady recovery in part because homes are more affordable: Mortgage rates have fallen to near-record lows. Housing prices are about one-third lower than at the peak of the housing bubble in 2006. Those trends have helped lift sales of both new and previously occupied homes.
Sales of previously occupied homes increased in July from June, the National Association of Realtors said last week. Sales have jumped 10 percent in the past year.
Builders are growing more confident after seeing more traffic from potential buyers. Last month they applied for the largest number of building permits in nearly four years last month.
The housing market has a long way to go to reach a full recovery. Some economists forecast that sales of previously occupied homes will rise 8 percent this year to about 4.6 million. That's still well below the 5.5 million annual sales pace that is considered healthy.
Sales have been held back by a low supply of homes on the market and tight credit standards, economists said. Many would-be buyers are having trouble qualifying for loans or can't afford larger down payments being required by banks. A Federal Reserve report last month showed that many banks tightened their mortgage credit standards this summer.
Still, the housing market is steadily improving and is poised to contribute to economic growth this year. Modest economic growth and job gains are encouraging more Americans to buy homes.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Central Ohio Housing Report - July 2012
Columbus Board of REALTORS®
Central Ohio home prices hit a 5-year high
Home prices in central Ohio hit its highest point in five years last month as many of the area’s pricier communities saw double digit sales increases, according to the Columbus Board of REALTORS®.
Homes closed during July 2012 sold for an average of $186,781 which is 10.3 percent higher than the average sale price of a home sold in July of 2011.The last time homes during any given month sold were selling this high was June of 2007 when the average sale price was $187,180.
This holds true for the year as the average sale price of homes sold January through July 2012 ($167,754) is also at its highest point since January of 2007 ($172,531).
Sales in communities such as New Albany, Bexley, German Village, Powell, Dublin, downtown Columbus, Granville and Upper Arlington saw sales increases of anywhere from 12 to 67 percent. The increased sales combined with prices ranging from $267,000 to $557,000 help boost the overall market home price average.
There were 2,096 central Ohio homes sold during July 2012 which marks an 8.0 percent increase over July of 2011. Year to date home sales are 10.7 percent ahead of last year.
“Some areas can attribute higher sales and prices to their school districts as families with school-age children are more likely to move during the summer,” said Jim Coridan, President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. “But in some areas, prices are showing healthy increases because demand is greater than the supply of homes for sale.”
There were 3,123 residential homes put on the market last month – a 4.0 percent increase over new listings added during July of last year. However, year to date, listings are down 3.5 percent when compared to the first seven months of last year.
“Home owners who’ve been watching the housing market should take another look right now,” adds Coridan. “Prices are the best they’ve been in years, interest rates remain low and there are a fair number of frustrated buyers anxious to make their move before the nights start to cool.”
According to the latest Housing Market Confidence Index (by the Ohio Association of REALTORS®), 90 percent of central Ohio REALTORS® describe the current housing market as moderate to strong and 92 percent expect home prices to remain the same or rise in the next year. They also report that the typical client today is looking for a mid-range home purchase.
View the current Central Ohio Local Market Update
View the current Housing market report by area
View all central Ohio housing statistics
View Ohio housing statistics
View National housing statistics
The monthly housing reports can be found at ColumbusRealtors.com/stats. The reports include breakouts for 18 central Ohio counties and 52 local municipalities and school districts. New areas included in the 2012 reports include: Grove City and local school districts for Big Walnut, Miami Trace, Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
By JAMIE DUFFY
Published: August 7, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The transformation of the Short North — a 14-block artsy strip here — from scruffy to chic began in the 1980s. And the scrappy neighborhood, which connects downtown Columbus to the sprawling campus of Ohio State University, has defied the recent economic downturn by continuing that evolution with a string of new developments.
Developers just broke ground on the city’s first full-service boutique hotel, the Joseph, at the south end of the Short North. The hotel is part of a $59 million multi-building project. Several residential developments are also under way and city officials have committed public funds to consider ways to improve the infrastructure in the area.
Supporters of the Short North describe it as a place where bohemians, lower-income city dwellers and better-off suburban residents come to mix and to find an eclectic groove that can be found nowhere else in Ohio. “It is now, frankly, the premier arts district in the nation,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman of Columbus.
But it wasn’t always so. In the 1980s, the Short North, so named by the Columbus police for dispatch calls that fell short of being in the northern part of the city, was the “kind of place where you locked your door and hit the gas pedal,” said John Angelo, executive director of the Short North Alliance, a group of business and property owners.
Filled with great red brick commercial stock and side streets lined with grand old houses, the area eventually started to draw artists and gay people. Historic preservation commissions were formed to protect Victorian Village to the west of High Street, the principal road, and Italian Village to the east side.
The Joseph, the boutique hotel, will bring a different aesthetic to the Short North. Designed by the Miami-based architectural firm Arquitectonica, the 11-story modernist high-rise will feature 135 rooms, an in-house restaurant and spa services. The Joseph, a Le Meridien hotel, will also serve as a place to show pieces from the world-class modern art collection of the Columbus-based developer Ron Pizzuti, 72.
The Pizzuti Companies is developing the hotel as part of its million project on the two sides of High Street.
Across the street, the company plans the Offices at the Joseph, a 55,000-square-foot, six-story cubist-inspired office building, along with a 313-space five-story parking lot and an adjacent art gallery in a vacant century-old limestone building that will house more of the Pizzuti collection.
Named after Mr. Pizzuti’s father, Joseph, an immigrant from Calabria, Italy, the entire project will be managed by his son, Joel Pizzuti, 40, and it is one of a half-dozen real estate developments in the works in the Short North, City officials last year approved a $500,000 engineering study to review future improvements, including buried utility lines, better pedestrian-level street lighting and sidewalk bump-outs for alfresco dining.
The seeds for the Short North’s transformation were planted in the late 1970s, when pioneers like Sanborn Wood, a banker turned developer, started rehabbing homes and businesses, dodging the seedier side of life. Today, Mr. Wood, 74, has turned over the Wood Companies to his son, Mark, who is overseeing a four-story apartment building projecting over the strip’s popular Northstar Café.
The Short North’s renaissance began in earnest in 1986 with the opening of the now renowned Rigsby’s Kitchen in one of Mr. Wood’s first acquisitions on High Street. The restaurant drew followers of the chef Kent Rigsby from throughout Central Ohio. Around the same time, art galleries started to appear. The Gallery Hop on the first Saturday of every month began 27 years ago and now attracts 10,000 to 20,000 people each month. The perennial and defiantly countercultural DooDah Parade on July 4 also was born in the late 1980s.
“The Short North,” said Mr. Angelo of the Short North Alliance, “gives Columbus swagger.”
Losing that quirky, artistic edge would be bad for business, so design is closely monitored by historic preservation commissions and the alliance. Even with a proposal for a premier art gallery, the Pizzutis spent four years getting approval for their contemporary project.
Following the cues of the more traditional red brick design is the Hubbard on High, a $27 million, mixed-use project jointly developed by two local development companies, Elford and Wagenbrenner. The Hubbard will have 72 apartments above 17,000 square feet of retail space, a 322-space parking garage and a designated outdoor event space with a bar and fountain.
WesBanco, a regional bank out of Wheeling, W.Va., is financing most of the project while the garage will be built with tax incremental funds, said Jeff Meacham, a partner with Elford Development.
Farther north on High Street, Elford has also teamed up with a building owner, Michael James, on the Fireproof Project, another mixed-use project with 58 apartments, 14,500 square feet of ground floor retail space and 87 parking spaces. The 100-year-old existing red brick building had been the Fireproof Company’s headquarters for storing documents, Mr. Meacham said.
The only condominium development among the recent projects, the Jackson on High, offers a fitness center and a year-round rooftop pool for the owners of the 44 units, designed with cool, modern interiors, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and upscale kitchens.
Mr. Coleman said the creation of a special improvement district 12 years ago, a joint venture of the City Council and the neighborhood, bolstered development and has provided the city with a template for four other similar districts. Assessments for 80 commercial property owners and nearly 600 condo owners bring in $380,000 annually to the Short North.
These funds helped pay for the purchase and installation of 17 lighted arches across High Street, modern recreations of arches erected in 1888 to commemorate the centennial of the Northwest Territory as well as a gathering of Civil War veterans. The city has invested about $16 million in the Short North since 1982 when it was declared the first Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization District, more than half of that since the special improvement district’s creation, said William Webster, the city’s deputy director for jobs and economic development.
“The arches that are down there,” said Mr. Meacham, “really help unify that whole stretch of High Street.”
Developers point to a new Kroger grocery store that opened a year ago at the north end of High Street as a sign of the area’s growth. The 60,000-square-foot marketplace-style store, which hosts wine tastings, was built right up to the sidewalk, replacing a 30-year-old model that had been set back behind a sea of parking.
“That was an amenity that was really missing,” said Ricky Day, a neighborhood developer who appeared on the scene in the early 1990s and helped canvass the area to promote the special improvement district.
These days, he talks about the vibrant entrepreneurial creativity that seems to characterize the new businesses moving in. Next to Kroger’s, he has a project with seven loft-style apartments with retail space downstairs.
“I’ve got people who are moving in with an on-premises brewing place, a boutique vodka distiller distributing on the Internet, a great little restaurant going in, and someone making mead and they’re making it into a real business,” said Mr. Day.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Columbus Board of REALTORS®
According to the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio (BIA), the latest BINNS report for the first half of 2012 showed sales of new single family homes were up 17 percent with 854 sales vs. 733 in 2011.
Single family lot sales were up 22 percent to 506 sales from 414 in 2011. And single-family building permits were up 24 percent with 1,293 permits issued vs. 1,039 in 2011.
Condo activity was also elevated during the first six months of the year. Condominium sales were up 9 percent (401 sales in 2012 vs. 369 in 2011) and permits were up 50 percent (387 in 2012 vs. 258 in 2011).
The 1,111 multi-family condo permits issued January through June of 2012 represented a 104 percent over the previous year.
The Columbus Board of REALTORS® reported closed sales for first and second quarter were up 18 percent from 2011 and in contracts were up 58 percent. The median sales price of a home sold in 2012 was $135,000, a 6.3 percent increase over last year. The current central Ohio supply of inventory is at 6.6 months, down 43 percent from last summer.
Last week, the Columbus Dispatch reported sales-tax collections for the first part of the year in Franklin County were the best they’ve been since 2007 - up 7 percent.
The Dispatch report also indicated it was the best second-quarter collection in five years, beating out other surrounding counties in Ohio, which together averaged an increase of 6.3 percent.