Families have been trading their big city homes for the relatively smaller Carmel, Indiana.
The Wall Street Journal documented the stories of three families who left their long-time homes in metropolises like Los Angeles and Austin for the suburban city in the Hoosier state.
“I used to think I couldn’t live without Los Angeles,” former California native Joe Molina told WSJ. “But since I’ve moved here, I’ve only been back there three times. I don’t feel like I need it anymore.”
Each family cited the city’s frequent appearance on “Best Places to Live” lists, which have ranked the city highly for its affordability, bustling economy and pleasant environment.
Melody and Jeremiah McKay explained they were impressed by Carmel’s top-rated school district and its family-friendly community for their four children. In the summer, they purchased a four-bedroom, roughly 3,800-square-foot Colonial in Carmel for just over $500,000, which they noted was less than the cost of their old, larger California home.
“We needed to expand where we wanted to live to get everything we wanted for our family,” Melody McKay said.
Molina similarly praised the affordability of his $1 million 4,500-square-foot house in Carmel compared to his old $1.65 million 3,000-square-foot L.A. home.
“I couldn’t believe the size of the houses here,” Molina said. “I paid almost two-thirds the amount and I got more square footage. What’s not to like?”
Carmel’s current population by World Population Review is 102,571, approximately four times higher than it was in 1990. Median sale prices for homes have also grown to $550,000 with more home sales being priced at $900,000 or above compared to 2020.
The new exodus to Carmel is likely due to Jim Brainard, who has served as the city’s mayor since 1996, putting a greater focus on revitalizing the once “soulless” city.
“We’ve built our cities since World War II in the United States very differently than cities have been built throughout the rest of recorded history. In many cases, they are soulless and heartless standard built for cars than people. Our city has taken the opposite approach and focused on building beautiful places for people, concentrating on good architecture, beautiful architecture and centers where people from different backgrounds and opinions come together and get to know each other,” Brainard told Fox News Digital.
He added, “As a result, our city is very competitive. We have no mountains and no oceans and lousy weather half the year, so we have to focus on the built environment and to be competitive.”
In 2010, he hired publicist Rob DeRocker to help promote the city’s developments which have since skyrocketed Carmel’s image. However, Brainard has insisted that Carmel’s popularity has been entirely organic as more people move and fall in love with the city.
“During the late fall and during Christmas, all the houses are decorated,” Molina said. “It looks like something out of a Jimmy Stewart movie.”
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