From Mama Carolla's to Bub's. Midwest Living hits the Monon Trail.

In the May/June edition of Midwest Living, Donna Segal and her husband bike from Broad Ripple north along the 16 mile expanse of the Monon Trail and ruin my diet with Mistro Mare from Mama Carolla's,
cookies from Rene's Bakery and a full frontal view of The Big Ugly burger from Bub's, among other things. It's a wonderful piece that maps the trail from 54th street north to Main Street in Carmel where Bub's, Bazeaux and Ferrin's Fruit Winnery all sit within a short block. Touting a million Monon users a year, this is a great piece on our city and region that appears on a national scope. I think the over/under on weight gain just from reading the piece is 5 pounds.

Builder's numbers from Indianapolis continue to slide with the pace for new homes to be right at 4500 built in 2008, down 60% from the annual average just 3 years ago. Meanwhile the local housing stats are grim but with some faint flickers of light down the tunnel. Local sales of preexisting homes are off anywhere from 10%to 40% depending upon which geography you're in with some micro price points suffering more than others. The entire market is razor thin right now with there being little logic as to what sells and how. The general rule of thumb is that unique sells as long as it hits the highest demand for the market. Great houses sell in most cases. Good houses sit - unless they're priced in an incredibly aggressive manner. First time home buyers should be out in droves but they're not for several reasons. They are still hesitant because of all of the bad press and they're still uncertain because of how tight the lending standards have become in the last 60 days. The easy money of the past 15 years is gone. Right now we're essentially in a risk based lending world, with credit scores, income and down payment driving what a prospective buyer can obtain in the way of financing. The ability and experience of the Mortgage agent is EVERYTHING in the pursuit of a home purchase right now.

The day is coming when listing a home for sale will mean much more than a local MLS posting. There are multiple national platforms that are battling for that brand position and if I had to lay money down, I'd say Zillow will emerge eventually as the leader. Zillow allows anyone to post a home for sale and in some cases post a 'hypothetical' home for sale so that potential sellers can see what demand there may be for their property. Of all national real estate hits, Realtor.com still commands about 9% of the initial search hits but Zillow is growing at over 4% while Realtor.com's numbers are shrinking. Will that make all Realtors obsolete? In a word, no. The future will require Brokers to be vastly skilled in the practice of analysis and presentation rather than simply just spooning out proprietary information as has been the case in the past. Those who don't, won't surivive. Those who master these tools will flourish and be highly sought after.

Greg@GregCooper.com or 317.848.GREG (4734)