By Jeff McKinney
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The sale of 18 big, new homes drove up prices in Madeira, making that neighborhood No. 1 for increased sales price in 2002.
The two-story homes, with first-floor master bedrooms, fetched an average $650,000. Most of the homes are along Shawnee Lane or off Kenwood Road, near the Kenwood Country Club.
"The overall housing stock is still pretty old. But when you take new home construction and high demand for existing homes, the average sale price increased," says Joe Linz, a real state agent at Star One Realtors. In Madeira, it was up 17.5 percent last year.
The new houses add another layer to a community that prizes its rolling landscape and pretty parks and streets.
Housing is mixed: A blend of Cape Cod, colonial and contemporary homes brings prices from $100,000 to $1 million. Just 12 miles from downtown Cincinnati, Madeira has a reputation as a "family" community that cares about neighborhoods and children.
Part of that reputation comes from Madeira City Schools, one of Hamilton County's highest-achieving districts. On the state's 2003 Local Report Card, Madeira earned an "excellent" rating, achieving all 22 performance standards.
The ability to find a house they could afford and which didn't require a lot of major, immediate repairs persuaded Stephen and Melissa Benoit to buy a four-bedroom home in Madeira last year.
The couple invested $160,000 to buy the Cape Cod - their first house - after renting an apartment in Clifton. They also like that they can walk to the heart of Madeira for coffee, a meal or shopping and that they're just 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati.
"We saw some other homes that we liked, but we didn't have the time or money to fix them up," Melissa says. "The one we ended up with is the one that we both wanted."
OHIO-KY. HOUSING MARKET
Average home prices rose in most neighborhoods
See how home prices in your neighborhood fared:
Top 10 lists of real estate transactions
A close look at what's driving sales in popular areas:
Blue Ash: 8.4% price drop a numbers game
Florence: Most sales in N.Ky.
Harrison: New homes, old appeal
Madeira: Biggest price increase
Mason: Region's most home sales
Oakley: Area's fastest home sales
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