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Madeira Reclaims No. 1 as Housing Keeps Gaining By Bill Ferguson Jr.


is up 9% to 11% ($242-$246). Oxford, in Butler County, was the other double-digit increase, up 10%, adding about $130 a year. “If you look at the levies, there were some big ones on there,” Rhodes says. New fire/ EMS levies, school levies, etc., add to the cost of property taxes. P roper t y t a xes overa l l i n But ler, Clermont and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn County, Ind., remained relatively stable or even fell a bit, depending on tax laws such as reduction factors and exemptions. An analysis of all data finds that Madeira returns to the top spot in Rating the Burbs, replacing 2018’s Montgomery. Madeira has been No. 1 or No. 2 in the ratings continuously. While the city performs well across almost all categories, its median home-sale price last year was a primary driver—up 59.62% to $340,000. Tom Moeller, who started as Madeira city manager in March 1989, says the city just completed its first comprehensive city plan, in which housing, community facilities/parks, the business district/economic development and transportation were the key topics. The community participation was strong, he says, and the plan is expected to be finalized this summer. In housing, the city is updating its zoning to allow a residential/commercial mix in which buildings can go to two or three stories, with retail or office on the first floor

and housing in the upper floors. As for the big gains in home prices in Madeira, Moeller says, “The majority of that increase is attributable to the in-fill building”—developers buy ing lessexpensive homes, tearing them down and then building homes that are much more expensive. “In the past nine years, we’ve done 200-plus of those. Then you couple that with a couple of new, small developments where the homes are in the seven, eight, $900,000 range, and it’s going to pull that average home sale up fairly dramatically.” The main drivers of housing are education—Madeira City Schools, which is one of the top-performing districts in Ohio—and the central location of Madeira. As in years past, several communities moved into or out of the top 50 (16 this year), and half of the top 10 has changed this year compared with 2018. n

HIGHEST-PRICED BURBS, 2018 n ia ed M ale S e- e c om ri H P 8 1



ld So es 18 om 20


ore than half of the 138 communities in Rating the Burbs experienced median homesale price gains of one-third or higher in 2018, compared with the five-year-earlier prices, and that factor helped Madeira return to the No. 1 spot among the Top 50 Communities. Woodlawn, site of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati’s 14th CiTiRAMA in October 2017, led the gains last year—skyrocketing 291% to a median sale price of $226,611 from $58,000 in 2013, data from local boards of Realtors and county auditors showed. The Woodlawn Meadows development featured 43 singlefamily lots with homes in the $200,000 to $375,000 price range. Three Clermont County areas—Batavia, Williamsburg and Washington Township—followed closely behind with gains of 287%, 256% and 215%, respectively. Although closings were down 1.6% last year, Michelle Billings, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, said in a news release that “2018 home sales remained one of the top three strongest in over 10 years.” Prices continued up throughout the year. The Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors reported that sales were up 1.35% to 7,293 in 2018, a record, while median prices were up overall by 6.29%. Meanwhile, property taxes in Hamilton County also climbed overall. County Auditor Dusty Rhodes says that while many think that the 2018 full reappraisal of properties was behind the increases, that’s not true. “People are voting for levies,” Rhodes says. “That’s it.” Rhodes noted that the county must do a full appraisal every six years, with an update every three years in between, but the tax rates are rolled back to equal the money collected that was voted in the levy. New levies, however, add to the tax bill. The largest property tax increase occurred in Milford (Clermont and Hamilton counties), with gains of 17% to 23% in 2018 vs. 2017, depending on the tax district, adding $385 to $424 in costs for every $100,000 in value. Montgomery added 16% to 17.5% (an extra $325-$343), and Delhi Township


The Village of Indian Hill




Terrace Park








Union Township (Warren)








Symmes Township (Hamilton)




Clearcreek Township (Warren)















Sources: Multiple Listing Service of Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky Multiple Listing Service, Southeastern Indiana Board of Realtors w w w.

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