Available homes in Kentucky at record low

House
Available homes in Kentucky reached an all-time low in May. | Courtesy of Paul Brennan

After near-record high Kentucky home sales in May, Kentucky REALTORS reports that if no more homes were put on the market, the state’s entire inventory would be sold in just over three months.

Typically, economists say a six-month inventory level is considered healthy, the real estate association reports in a press announcement. With demand outpacing inventory, rising prices are the result.

May closings in Kentucky surged 5.6% to 5,346 homes, up from 5,064 in 2018, marking the second-highest May on record, the association reports. Closings year-to-date also are just off the pace of the 2017 record high year. So far in 2019, 20,295 homes have sold, up from 20,046 at this time last year.

May’s days-on-market figure rose 10% to 110 days, up from 100 days in May of last year. The year-to-date number is slightly higher at 113 days, which is a 3% drop over this time last year, the association reports.

The rising demand is even bringing new realtors to the state.

“Increasing numbers of individuals are seeking to get licensed in Kentucky,” said Rip Phillips, president of Kentucky REALTORS, in the release. “Economists look at job creation as the mark of a strong economy. Conversely, when the economy strengthens the housing market, it leads to job creation in those related positions. That’s good news for the industry responsible for 15% of Kentucky’s gross state product.” —Kevin Gibson

Top UofL health position may go unfilled

Greg Postel
Greg Postel | Photo by Joe Sonka

The University of Louisville may not fill Greg Postel’s old executive vice president for health affairs position.

UofL spokesman John Karman confirmed Tuesday that the school is not currently seeking candidates for one of the top spots on the health sciences campus. The position’s future is to be determined “soon,” he said.

“Obviously, there have been a lot of changes and a lot of activity within our health sciences operation,” Karman added. UofL recently announced it would not buy the struggling Jewish Hospital and would pursue a pediatrics partnership with Norton Children’s Hospital.

Postel returned to the EVP role on a one-year contract after serving as UofL’s interim president until spring 2018. Last November, however, he left campus to take a fellowship for the remainder of the academic year and his contract as EVP. (Postel has a separate contract as a radiology professor until 2021.)

UofL started a national search for Postel’s successor last year, according to Insider reports, but it appears to be halted. Postel took over the EVP position in late 2015.

The job oversees all of the health sciences center, including the medical, nursing and dentistry schools, plus over a dozen clinics and institutes. Postel, who began in the role in late 2015 after predecessor David Dunn was put on paid leave due to an FBI investigation, made $950,000 a year. —Olivia Krauth

Eric King named director of communications for Fund for the Arts

Eric King
Eric King

Former WLKY news anchor Eric King has been named director of communications and engagement for the Fund for the Arts.

The Bardstown native worked most recently as senior strategist for C2 Strategic Communications, and before that, he served as evening anchor for WLKY.

Given King’s background in the media, it makes sense that his new role has him working with the media.

“As an organization that works to grow our community through the power of the arts, it is critical that we continually share how the arts impact everyone,” said Christen Boone, president and CEO of the Fund for the Arts, in a news release. “That’s why we are thrilled to have Eric on our team to help share our vision and build awareness of the collective impact of our artists, organizations and the entire creative economy.”

King, who also is active in the nonprofit community, says he’s always been a supporter of the arts and is looking forward to promoting a cause he is passionate about.

“The Fund for the Arts plays a critical economic and cultural role, and I look forward to telling stories about the work of this incredible organization,” he said in the release. —Sara Havens

Scale Up Louisville to assist small businesses in growing

Stock image of a store with an open sign posted
Courtesy of Pixabay and Ann San

The Louisville Small Business Development Center announced Scale Up Louisville, a program designed to help small business owners create and carry out a growth plan.

The effort, created in partnership with Louisville Forward Economic Development, the SBA, SCORE and Sullivan University, is a one-year program that will support 15 small businesses. Criteria are companies that have been in business at least three years, have sales in excess of $350,000, have at least two W-2 employees and have an owner or leader willing to commit to the initial program, which lasts 12 weeks.

Scale Up Louisville businesses will be chosen from submitted applications.

The program begins Aug. 21, and participating businesses will develop a detailed strategic growth plan with the help of subject-matter experts and other mentors. They will then learn how to execute these plans through ongoing consulting at Sullivan.

“Helping existing businesses grow isn’t usually as attention-grabbing as brand-new startup activity, but it’s arguably more important to a local economy,” said David Oetken, Louisville Small Business Development Center director, in a news release. “The vast majority of new jobs come from expansions or scaling up, not startups.” —Kevin Gibson

Speaking of scaling up …

Endeavor Louisville tapped its own local entrepreneurs to ask what’s their best piece of growth advice for startups looking to scale to profitability.

Here are some of their insights in an Endeavor blog post:

  • Joey Rivera, president and CEO of the Rivera Group: “Pick your mentor very carefully.”
  • Andy Eastes, co-founder and CEO of SkuVault: “It’s all about the team.”
  • Sean O’Leary, CEO and co-founder of EdjAnalytics: “Focus intently on the plan.”
  • Mark Franco, president and CEO of MXD Process: “Nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems.”

Adviser: Fed policy change could extend expansion

A portrait of Derek Bonifer
Derek Bonifer

Stocks performed well in June primarily because analysts expect the Federal Reserve Bank to begin cutting rates as early as July, a local investment adviser said.

“This optimism of the Fed entering a rate-cutting cycle has offset investors’ concerns over U.S.-China trade and softening economic data,” said Derek Bonifer, portfolio manager at ARGI Financial Group.

Most local stocks outperformed the S&P 500 last month, with about half of 14 companies tracked by Insider erasing their losses from a terrible May.

Bonifer told Insider via email that if the Fed started cutting rates this month, it would represent a significant policy shift, given that the bank raised rates as recently as December.

However, he said, the Fed has made such a dramatic turn previously: In July 1995, it started lowering rates after raising them seven times between February 1994 and February 1995.

“This helped push the economy out of a soft patch and continued the economic expansion through the remainder of that decade,” Bonifer said. —Boris Ladwig

Molina Healthcare donates to Dare to Care and other Louisville nonprofits

Men display an oversized check to Dare to Care
Courtesy of Dare to Care

Nine Kentucky organizations, including four in Louisville, will benefit from $325,000 in grants recently announced by Molina Healthcare for causes that range from increasing self-empowerment to improving access to care in rural areas.

The Louisville recipients include Dare to Care, the Louisville Urban League, Family Scholar House and Home of the Innocents.

Dare to Care plans to use its $25,000 grant to support two programs: Prescriptive Pantries, which provides nutritious food to low-income people visiting health-care facilities, and a new Mobile Market program to serve people at senior living facilities, schools and other places in areas where obtaining groceries is a challenge.

“Having Molina’s support with our Prescriptive Pantry Program and our new Mobile Market Program is very exciting,” said Dare to Care Executive Director Brian Riendeau in a news release. “Both programs help us achieve our goal of making sure everyone in our community has access to healthy food options and fruits and vegetables.”

Family Scholar House and the Urban League will receive $50,000 each for self-empowerment initiatives. Family Scholar House said it will use its grant to support students who plan to go into the health-care industry.

The Home of the Innocents will receive a $50,000 grant to support a program that provides therapy for victims of child abuse and neglect. —Darla Carter

In Brief

For the 10th consecutive year, Mint Julep Experiences earned a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor, resulting in TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame status, the company announced this week.

A UPS delivery vehicle has been added to the Science in Play exhibit at the Kentucky Science Center. The P32 Package Car is a retired vehicle from the UPS ground fleet that has been re-imagined as an interactive element of the exhibit. A logistics-themed birthday party for Science in Play will be held Saturday, July 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The party is free with daily admission.

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