Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 19, 2014

Business briefs, Jan. 19, 2014

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Kokomo housing prices still rising

According to the latest housing data compiled by RE/MAX of Indiana, the average price for homes sold in Kokomo increased by 7.66 percent during the month of November compared to the same time last year. Local consumers saw prices rise from an average of $85,239 to $91,767.

“We’re seeing a rise in home prices as a result of continued consumer confidence in our growing local economy,” said Penny Irwin, broker/owner with RE/MAX Realty One. According to Irwin, Kokomo’s economy has a bright future ahead due to the growth in employment from Chrysler’s expansion in 2013, which added nearly 400 new jobs to the area.

Despite improvements in average sales price, homeowners in Kokomo experienced a moderate reduction in home sales with 68 homes sold, compared to the same time last year with 74 homes sold, representing an 8.11 percent decrease.

“The slight decrease in November sales is a result of the holidays approaching and winter just around the corner,” said Irwin. “In addition, the tornado we experienced in November played a significant role in reduced sales, as many of Kokomo’s real estate offices, banks and title companies were closed while trying to find temporary locations.”

Although the number of homes sold slipped in November, Irwin explained year-to-date numbers show home sales increasing in Kokomo throughout much of 2013, indicating signs of recovery. In fact, the number of homes sold year-to-date increased 7.60 percent for January through November 2013 compared to the same time in 2012.

Further analysis of the area shows the average number of days on market increased for November compared to the same time last year. The average length of time a home sat on the market rose 4.72 percent to 111 days, compared to 106 days in 2012.

Salin donates Burlington building

Family-owned and Indiana-based Salin Bank & Trust Company is donating its Burlington Indiana Banking Center Building to the Community Howard Regional Health Foundation, Inc., bank officials announced this past week.

The more than 3,752-square-foot building is located at 401 N. Michigan Road in Burlington and was used as a banking center before it was closed last year.

“We are always excited and pleased to give back to the communities we serve,” Salin Bank President and CEO Bill Salin II said.

“Burlington is a wonderful community,” said James P. Alender, president and CEO of Community Howard Regional Health. “The donation of the Salin building allows us the opportunity to open a primary care physician office here and bring high quality care to the families who live and work in Burlington. Renovations are expected to begin later this year.”

Under the agreement, the Bank plans on leaving the Salin Bank sign and ATM, which will enable the bank to continue to provide services to the community.

Salin Bank and Trust Company is one of Indiana’s largest family-owned community banks, with more than $750 million in assets. Salin Bank operates 21 banking center locations in 10 Indiana counties serving Columbus, Delphi, Edinburgh, Flora, Fort Wayne, Galveston, Gas City, Kokomo, Lafayette, Logansport, Marion, West Lafayette, Fishers and Indianapolis.

Rokita lookingfor interested firms

Congressman Todd Rokita is in the process of recruiting employers for a job fair which will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Ivy Tech Kokomo Event Center, 1501 N. Reed Road. There are no fees associated with participation or admission. Tables and chairs will be provided for each business booth. If your business has a trade show booth, you are encouraged to bring it. Power supply will be made available on request.

You can register online at Rokita.house.gov/career-fair-employers if you would like to reserve your spot for the 2014 Rokita Career Fair. You can also email RokitaCareerFair@mail.house.gov or call 317-718-0404.

Harris Bankreleases poll

Hoosier business owners are optimistic about the success of their businesses in the coming year, according to a news release from BMO Harris Bank. Ninety-seven percent of Hoosier business owners surveyed feel their business will either grow or stay at the same level in 2014. Their outlook on the state economy as a whole is also positive, but their outlook on the U.S. economy is mixed.

“More and more, we’re seeing Indiana business owners looking to the future for growth and expansion,” said Andrew Cardimen, managing director and head, commercial banking, Indiana, BMO Harris Bank. “While some caution still exists about the economic environment, businesses are feeling confident that they have weathered the worst and are stronger for it.”

When asked about the state economy, nearly half of the Hoosier business owners surveyed expected to see the economy hold at current levels and more than a quarter believe it will improve:

• 29 percent of respondents feel that Indiana’s economy will improve in 2014.

• 49 percent believe it will stay the same.

• 23 percent believe it will worsen, which is a bit more pessimistic than the 15 percent average of business owners around the U.S.

“There are many advantages to doing business in Indiana and that is probably one of the reasons our state has fared relatively well during the economic recovery,” added Mr. Cardimen. “Our strong Midwestern work ethic, great location and good business environment continue to prove an asset to Indiana businesses.”

When asked about expectations for the national economy, Indiana business owners and business owners throughout the country voiced exactly the same responses:

• 37 percent expect the economy to improve.

• 34 percent expect it to stay the same.

• 29 percent expect the economy to worsen