City celebrates 200th Indy Renew vacant house sale

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - When the mortgage foreclosure crisis hit ten years ago, Indianapolis found itself among the nation’s leaders when it came to owners who were put out of their homes and lost their properties.

A decade later, the housing market has rebounded and the 2008 foreclosure crisis is providing opportunities for low income buyers to get into the homes of their dreams with a little help from the city.

“Indianapolis is a hot spot and there are people coming from all over the country and outside of the country that are wanting to buy in Indianapolis in these areas,” said realtor Sandra Daley. “Because of the things that is going on at 16 Tech on the west side and Mapleton Fall Creek area, there’s a lot of things that’s going on.”

In the 100 block of North Linwood Avenue on the east side near Irvington, Mayor Joe Hogsett handed a large cutout of a key to Mohammed Moghul as the buyer of the 200th home in the Renew Indianapolis program, which provides low interest loans with low down payment purchases and up to $15,000 in a sweat equity match to buyers willing to take a chance on an abandoned house. They have to do some of their own work to make the property habitable.

“Last year I announced a plan to rehab, transform or demolish 2000 homes in two years,” said Hogsett. “It was an ambitious plan. Since that time however, city departments have partnered with community groups to accomplish that goal aiding in residential repairs and rehabs funding the construction of new housing in apartments and eradicating neighborhood blight.”

Rob Evans, of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, announced the assistance plan will now expand across the city and be made available to anyone who buys a distressed home off the Indy Renew rolls.

50 more property sales are in the final stages and 180 potential properties are listed on the agency’s website.

Across the street, resident Dennis Handerliter took a break from chopping wood and feeding a bonfire in his front yard to witness a neighborhood under transition.

“Its getting a lot better,” he said. “Day and night. People walk up and down the street with their dogs. This, that and the other.”

Haderliter would like to buy the abandoned home next to his own for tear down or rehab but its passed through several hands and now belongs to a California-based owner.

Realtor Daley has sold several distressed Renew Indianapolis properties in the last year.

“Its prime real estate and once you get in then property values are just going to skyrocket,” she said in full praise of the program that is intended. “To help them bring it back because a lot of people lost a lot and everything just hit rock bottom and now it's coming back.”

Wednesday morning, Hogsett will preside over announcement of the second Lift Indy neighborhood, which commits public dollars to communities in the hope of leveraging private investment in housing, retail and business properties.

The unveiling will happen at the Concord Neighborhood Center at 1310 S. Meridian St. in a community where the mayor and IMPD Chief Bryan Roach took a walk to meet residents earlier this year.

Previously, the mayor committed $4.5 million over three years to the neighborhood of 16 Monon, which has enjoyed a housing resurgence.

Later Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler will announce a three-year $1 million grant to near east side to fund community based crime reduction programs.