Sunday, May 31 2009
Governor Daniels Opposes National Energy Tax
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is one of many Republican Lawmakers speaking out against the proposed national energy tax, claiming the costs will far outweigh the benefits.
Daniels says Indiana is an example of how the country can protect the environment, cut costs and create jobs, without raising taxes.
Daniels says: "The national energy tax imposed by speaker Pelosi’s climate change bill would double electric bills here in Indiana working a severe hardship on low income families. But that’s only where the damage starts. In a state where we like to make things like steel, and autos and RV’s it would cost us countless jobs, many of them heading off shore to china and Indiana. Our farmers and livestock producers would see their costs sky rocket and our coal miners would be looking for more work while we leave affordable, home grown energy in the ground."
Republicans call the national tax another example of Washington’s out of control spending policies.
Democrats argue the bill will help the environment, create jobs and make America energy independent.
Sunday, May 31 2009
FHA-approved lenders received the go-ahead to develop bridge-loan products that enable first-time buyers to use the benefits of the federal tax credit upfront, according to eagerly awaited guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on so-called home buyer tax credit loans that was released today.
Under the guidance, FHA-approved lenders can develop bridge loans that home buyers can use to help cover their closing costs, buy down their interest rate, or put down more than the minimum 3.5 percent.
The loans can't be used to cover the minimum 3.5 percent, senior HUD officials told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.
Thus, buyers applying for FHA-backed financing with an FHA-approved lender that offers a bridge-loan program can get a bridge loan to bring down the upfront costs of buying a home significantly but would still have to come up with the minimum 3.5 percent downpayment.
There remain many sources of assistance for buyers needing help with the 3.5 percent downpayment, including many state and local government instrumentalities and nonprofit lenders.
In addition, some state housing finance agencies have developed their own tax credit bridge loan programs, so buyers in states whose HFAs offer such programs can monetize the tax credit upfront to cover all or part of their downpayment. These programs are separate from what HUD announced today.
The first-time homebuyer tax credit was enacted last year--and improved upon earlier this year--to help encourage households to enter the housing market while interest rates are low and affordability is high. The credit is worth up to $8,000 and is available to households that haven't owned a home in at least three years. The credit does not have to be repaid, and is fully reimbursable, so households can get their credit returned to them in the form of a payment.
Learn more about the credit, including how to apply for it this year even if you've already filed your taxes, at REALTOR.org.
Source: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine Online
Saturday, May 30 2009
UE's Ridgway Center receives design award
The Ridgway University Center at the University of Evansville has earned national attention this month as the recipient of a Facility Design Award.
The award, given each year by the Association of College Unions International, recognizes excellence in design of college unions as well as other student-centered campus buildings. Entries were judged not only on the basis of the facilities' appearance, but also on the process used to arrive at the design and how the new or renovated facility affected the campus.
In giving the award to Mackey Mitchell Associates, which worked with Ed Hafer Associates to design the building, the group cited that the 92,000-square-foot Ridgway University Center, built to LEED-Silver specifications, provided a "living room" for a campus very much in need. The building offers dining facilities, bookstore, conference rooms, counseling center, lounge, radio station, student publications and a flexible ballroom.
Four other facilities also were honored:
n John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center, The Ohio State UniversityNewark/Central Ohio Technical College (The Collaborative Inc.)
n Hunton Student Center, Virginia Commonwealth University (EYP Architecture & Engineering)
n University Center, University of WisconsinRiver Falls (Workshop Architects)
n Dudley H. Davis Center, The University of Vermont (WTW Architects)
Friday, May 29 2009
EVANSVILLE - NEWS 25 is once again teaming up with Gerling Law and Deaconess Hospital to keep your kids safe this summer by giving away free bicycle helmets to needy Tri-State children.
Parents can bring their kids to the Gerling Law offices at 519 Main Street on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to pick up a free helmet. Volunteers will be on hand to make sure that your child's helmet fits properly.
Statistics from the National SAFE KDIS Campaign show children who don't wear a helmet are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal wreck. Statistics also show bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85% and brain injury by 88%.
Friday, May 29 2009
Here we have the latest sales statistics for the State of Indiana. Included in these figures is the month of April. If we take a closer look at Vanderburgh County we see that there was a slight increase in the value of homes, where as many of other counties posted declines.
Friday, May 22 2009
Mortgage applications increased last week, driven by refinances, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage application survey.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the index rose 2.3 percent last week to 915.9 from 895.6 the previous week. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was up 42 percent from the same week a year ago.
The refinance index increased 4.5 percent, while the seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased 4.4 percent. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 73.6 percent of total applications from 71.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 2.4 percent from 2.3 percent of total applications from the previous week.
Different categories of mortgage rates continued to decline:
Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (05/20/2009)
Thursday, May 21 2009
One of the reasons home sales have risen this year is the spike in investor groups in troubled markets that are buying up clusters of foreclosed houses from banks.
In many cases, investors are prevailing over first-time home buyers and other owner-occupants because they bring cash to the table.
For instance, in Phoenix where 38 percent of April sales of single-family homes were all-cash deals, Mark Allen, a former division president at D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest home builder, is working with Gorilla Capital, which specializes in foreclosures, to buy dozens of properties at courthouse auctions.
Barclays Capital estimates that banks and loan investors owned 765,500 foreclosed homes as of April 1, up from 629,100 last year. By 2010, Barclays expects them to have acquired about 1.3 million homes. When the market improves, these owners will try to sell.
"All this investor buying isn't depleting supply, it's only shifting it around," Allen says.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Michael Corkery (05/20/2009)
Monday, May 18 2009
Chamber to Host Governor Daniels
Governor Mitch Daniels will be in Evansville Monday to address the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana. More than 300 people are expected to attend the event at the Aztar Conference Center in downtown Evansville. Members will learn about issues impacting their businesses and hear the governor's thoughts on the upcoming special session.
The Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana will host a special luncheon with Governor Mitch Daniels on Monday, May 18th.
These types of events are held several times a year in an effort to educate our members on issues impacting their businesses. It is a great opportunity for our Chamber members to interact with the Governor and learn first-hand his thoughts on the upcoming special session.
The event will be held at the Aztar Conference Center in downtown Evansville. Registration will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at 11:45 and Governor Daniels speaking around 12:20 p.m. We have received overwhelming response from the business community and expect over 300 Chamber members and community leaders to attend.
Daniels will address the Chamber membership on key issues facing the State of Indiana and then take questions from the audience.
To register for this event, please call Carly Griffin at 812.425.8147 or email@example.com.
A special thanks to Old National Bank for sponsoring this event!
Source: The Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana & Inside INdiana Business
Saturday, May 16 2009
Homes May Be Undervalued Today
After dropping for two years, home prices appear to be bottoming out, and any further declines would be an overcorrection, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told thousands of practitioners at the REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
The median national home price today is about $169,000, down almost 14 percent from a year ago and an estimated 30 percent from its peak. Today’s prices are justified by the fundamentals of the economy and may even represent an undervaluation, Yun said.
Lender Policies Hinder Recovery
Distressed sales, which today comprise about 50 percent of transactions nationwide, are creating market distortions in otherwise stable neighborhoods. “We’re only capturing transaction prices,” he said, and those prices might be 20 percent to 25 percent below actual values. For that reason, it’s possible that widely cited projections that a third or more of homeowners are underwater might be off the mark, he said.
The consequences of these missed projections could be huge. Lenders, shying away from refinancing mortgages of troubled owners, exacerbate the downward spiral of homeowners’ financial position and that, by extension, hurts the broader economy.
Contributing to the problem is the lack of reasonably priced financing for higher-cost homes at a time when declining prices, low rates, and the home buyer tax credit are helping the entry-level market.
Indeed, while housing overall is at a 9.5 month supply, down from double digits not that long ago, homes above $729,750—the threshold for jumbo loans—face a 40-month supply.
By summer, all of the incentives that have been put into place by the government will have had several months to work, Yun said. If sales start picking up significantly, then prices should stabilize and trigger a broader economic recovery.
If sales don’t show a significant response, then the federal government might have to look at another big injection of funds into the economy, something no one has an appetite for.
Yun’s forecast reflects the brighter scenario: “My projection is home sales will be 10 to 20 percent higher the second half of this year than last year and we will come out of this recession in 2010,” he said.
Source: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine
Thursday, May 14 2009
Evansville is using money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help revitalize an area of the city. Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel says six homes have already been completed in the Front Door Pride Focus Area, with plans to have up to 20 built by the end of the year. City officials selected the area for federal stimulus investment because of the number of historic homes with rehabilitation potential and blighted homes in need of demolition.
(EVANSVILLE, IN) – Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel marked the completion of two new Front Door Pride homes today by highlighting the noticeable changes the program is making in that area.
Currently, there are 10 lots ready for construction in the Front Door Pride Focus Area; 3 more are waiting for historical clearance. The City plans to have up to 20 new homes constructed in the Focus Area by year’s end, which will be funded with INTR grants and money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Six homes have already been completed including the two unveiled today at 1211 Judson and 39 Jefferson; 5 of those have been sold. The Focus Area is roughly bound by Chestnut, Garvin, Riverside and Veteran’s Memorial Parkway. The area was chosen because of the historic homes with rehab potential and the number of blighted homes in need of demolition as well as the proximity of the Alhambra Theatre and Haynie’s Corner Arts District as focal points
The Evansville Redevelopment Commission and the Evansville Brownfields Corporation own an additional 54 parcels in the Focus Area, with acquisition of another 145 parcels pending. Abandoned or dilapidated structures on these parcels may be rehabilitated or demolished to further the goal of creating a mixed income neighborhood while eliminating blighted housing. Small parcels may be cleared to create side yards for existing homes or combined with adjacent unimproved parcels to create larger lots for new home construction.
Since the beginning of 2009, 20 structures have been razed by the City, and 2 more by their owners, in the Focus Area. Another 17 demolitions are pending. Compare that to 2006-2008, when only 29 structures were razed in 3 years.
“People who haven’t been to this area in a while will be able to see a noticeable change in its appearance. There could be a total of 18 new homes in the Focus Area if we build on all the lots that are currently available,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “You will find straw covering many vacant lots where eyesores no longer stand. These are all signs that we are making good progress toward restoring this neighborhood.”
A new phase of the Front Door Pride program is also about to begin. The home at 22 Jefferson Avenue will be the City’s first complete home rehab project. The inside of the home is currently being prepared and the project will be let for bid shortly. A second rehab will take place at 1112 Parrett with several also possible along Washington Avenue. More rehabs will begin as properties are purchased and inspected to determine if they are suitable for restoration.
The City and HOPE of Evansville are using a $1 million INTR grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to provide subsidies of up to $25,000 toward the construction cost of each new home.
“Our goal is to make the dream of affordable housing come true for families across Indiana,” said Sherry Seiwert, Executive Director of Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. “The INTR program was created with the purpose of redeveloping distressed areas across Indiana and, one home at a time, creating affordable, family-friendly neighborhoods in communities like Evansville. I firmly believe that communities are strengthened by safe and affordable housing, and I am pleased with the progress in this community.”
Due to grant restrictions, homes must be sold to individuals or families at or below 80% of area median income (see chart below). Qualified buyers may receive an allowance of up to $5,000 to assist them with down payment and closing cost expenses.
Maximum Annual Household Gross Income
1 person - $33,500 4 people - $47,850
2 people - $38,300 5 people - $51,700
3 people - $43,050 6 people - $55,500
Buyers must also complete a pre-purchase homebuyer’s class and make a minimum down payment of $500. People who are interested should contact HOPE of Evansville (423-3169), a local non-profit agency which is partnering with the City of Evansville to administer the program.
Source: City of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business
Wednesday, May 13 2009
The Newburgh Wine, Art & Jazz festival will take place this weekend. This event is gaining in popularity and attendance is increasing every year. Many activities have been scheduled and will be open to the public on Saturday May 16th from 11.00AM until 6.00PM and Sunday from noon until 6.00PM.
Entrance tickets are $ 10.00. Advance tickets are available by calling Historic Newburgh Inc. at (812) 853-2815, or they can be bought at the gate the day of the event.
Want to attend all three events? A three-day pass is $55.
Attendees are asked to park at Newburgh Elementary School, 306 State St., and the Newburgh trolley will take them down to the Old Lock and Dam Building.
Tuesday, May 12 2009
Last month I forecast an increase in April closed transactions compared to March closings. Our local Multiple Listing Service sold 323 houses during April compared to 306 in March. April closings represent a 65% increase over January closings and the third consecutive month of increased sales. The housing market in our area has definitely turned and I expect continued gradual improvement over the remainder of the year.
We continue to experience heavy traffic on our website, FCTuckerEmge.com. We are constantly looking for ways to enhance this site and added two significant improvements last month. Now when you are on our site searching for homes you can get a “street view” of the property you are viewing. This is a feature that allows you to look at the home from different angles and see exactly what the home and street looks like. Google provides this technology and it is available on almost all properties on our site. The second feature we added this month was a mapping feature. When you pick a group of homes you or a friend would like to see, our website will provide you turn by turn driving instructions for your entire route. Please visit our website and tell your friends about our recent enhancements.
In our continued quest to offer more services, Kathy and I would like to invite you to sign up for your personal up to date market information on your home and those surrounding yours. Just click on the link below:
Please feel free to call me at 812-499-9234 if you have any troubles with signing up for your personal report.
Hopefully the rain will stop soon and we can all enjoy a relaxing and dry Memorial Day Weekend. In June’s Market Watch I will update you on supply and inventory levels of homes in our market. Please give me a call if I can answer any questions about local market conditions prior to next month’s update.
Tuesday, May 12 2009
Have you ever thought how nice it would be to have your baby stroller in front of your bicycle rather than in the back where you can not see your children? We now have the prefect bike for you. The Taga is part stroller and part tricycle. You can use it also as a conventional stroller and you can use it to feed your children. This is quite interesting.
Monday, May 11 2009
The Evansville Arena Project Committee has been formed to keep the public updated about the new downtown arena project and help evaluate key decisions. In addition, a logo and slogan, "A brighter future is just around the bend," have been created for the committee. Mayor Weinzapfel also unveiled a new informational Web site for the arena.
(EVANSVILLE, IN)- Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announced today the formation of the Evansville Arena Project Committee. The Committee’s mission is to work in collaboration with the Mayor’s office to keep the public informed about various aspects of the project and help evaluate key decisions.
"The Roberts Stadium Advisory Board invested a lot of time and effort in the process of determining that the City should no longer invest in Roberts Stadium and instead move forward with building a new arena downtown,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. "The Evansville Arena Project Committee will help us with the important task of keeping the public informed about the arena project as it moves forward."
Chairing the Evansville Arena Project Committee will be Kathy Kleindorfer, granddaughter of Mayor O.H. Roberts for whom Roberts Stadium was named. Kleindorfer is also the President of the Roberts Stadium Foundation Board. The Foundation was formed to build and manage the cases at Roberts Stadium that pay tribute to the history of basketball in our region. It also funds capital projects such as locker room renovations for the University of Evansville teams.
A majority of the members of the Roberts Stadium Advisory Board have agreed to continue their work as part of the Committee. Also being added are representatives of groups that have a vested interested in the arena and the future of our City. They include hockey interests, downtown business owners, students, young professionals, and representatives of the Carpenters and Electrical Workers Unions just to name a few.
In addition, a logo and slogan have been created for the Evansville Arena Project Committee. The slogan is, “A brighter future is just around the bend.”
Mayor Weinzapfel also announced at today’s press conference that a new informational website has been created for the downtown arena- www.evansvillearenaproject.com. The website contains all previous information and studies related to the arena. Updates will also be posted as they occur. There is also a “Contact Us” section where visitors to the website can leave their comments or ask questions.
Source: City of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business
Sunday, May 10 2009
Here we have a well written article on expenses associated with the purchase of a home. In order to protect yourself from any last minute surprises, we advise that you ask your realtor or mortgage provider for a Good Faith Estimate. This document will show you line by line the amounts that have been charged. It is also important to have this estimate in case you are asking the seller to cover or participate in the closing costs.
As with any real estate transaction, we encourage you to seek the advice of professionals as they can better advocate on your behalf and make sure that runs smooth until the closing. Please feel free to call me at 812-499-9234 should you have any questions regarding buying or selling a home.
This is directed to all mothers: Happy Mother’s Day! We hope you have a wonderful day.
Saturday, May 09 2009
Simon Property Group Inc., the owners of Eastland Mall here is Evansville, rarely had difficulties in raising private equity to satisfy investor demand. Point in case, the $ 1 Billion raised in times where many equity placements have been postponed or outright cancelled. We congratulate Simon Property for their success and wish them all the best in the future.
Friday, May 08 2009
Here is an interesting article on efficient kitchen remodeling. The article suggests many ways to get the work done with a budget in mind. The best way to achieve your remodeling dream is to plan carefully looking at each stage to assess where money can be saved, and who knows, your ideal kitchen could be more of a reality than you thought.
Thursday, May 07 2009
We congratulate Bamberger, Foreman, Oswald and Hahn, LLP Evansville for their award for “Best Place to Work in Indiana.” The award winners are being honored for their strong workplace environment that values its employees. The program, in its fourth year, is managed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and presented in partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Source: Inside INdiana Business
Sunday, May 03 2009
Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel is applauding state legislators' passage of a food and beverage tax in Vanderburgh County. He calls the measure a major step toward building a downtown arena without raising property taxes. The food and beverage tax, along with downtown TIF and gaming receipts, will be the main sources to fund the up to $127 million project.
Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel today is commending state legislators for the passage of House Bill 1514, which includes changes to the Food and Beverage Tax in Vanderburgh County.
"This is a major step forward in our plan to build a new downtown arena. We will be able to use the existing local Food and Beverage Tax to help fund a new downtown arena without raising property taxes," said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.
The Food and Beverage tax, along with the downtown TIF and gaming receipts, will be the main sources to fund a new downtown arena. Initially the City would be able to utilize food and beverage revenues, over what is necessary for principal and interest payments on the Centre, to pay for the arena. Currently, the Food and Beverage Tax generates $3.7 million per year in revenue. Approximately $3.3 million is committed annually through 2017 to pay off The Centre bonds. The City would begin to capture the entire amount in 2017.
"With these three sources of revenue we can finance a new downtown arena without raising property taxes. In the alternative, if we were to build at Roberts, we would have increase property taxes by about $60 million," said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.
The arena financing plan calls for 75% of project costs (about $91 million) to be funded by proceeds from long-term debt in the form of a series of bonds to be issued in late 2009. Payments on the bonds would begin in 2012
The remaining 25% ($31 million) will be covered by cash on hand or collected during the three years prior to initiation of debt service payments. The financing plan also includes coverage on the debt service of approximately 150%, which will vary slightly from year to year. This means that for every dollar of debt, we will have roughly $1.50 in revenue to cover that debt.
No growth in the downtown TIF was taken into account when estimating future revenues, even though it will certainly increase in assessed value. Also not taken into account were any possible secondary methods of financing including naming rights, suite sales, the sale of Roberts Stadium or the property on which it sits, the innkeepers’ tax or an auto rental tax.
Source: City of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business
Friday, May 01 2009
Flu is passed from person to person via droplets form coughs or sneezes. The flu virus can also live for some time on environmental surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, light switches). A combination of personal precautions and workplace decontamination can help curtail the spread of the flu.
Practice social distancing
Keep well hydrated
Your body is more susceptible to the flu if you are dehydrated.
Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.
Clean your hands often
When available, wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- then rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces. Wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs can live for a long time (some can live for 2 hours or more) on surfaces like doorknobs, desks, and tables.
Stay home when you are sick and check with a health care provider when needed
When you are sick or have flu symptoms, stay home, get plenty of rest, and check with a health care provider as needed. Your employer may need a doctor’s note for an excused absence. Remember: Keeping your distance from others may protect them from getting sick. Common symptoms of the flu include:
Keep everyone’s personal items separate.
Everyone should avoid sharing pens, papers, clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, food or eating utensils unless cleaned between uses.
Disinfect the Work area.
Contact the Vanderburgh County Health Department at 435-5620 with any questions or concerns.