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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A new report from the Wall Street Journal and shows two Indiana communities are among the top 20 emerging housing markets out of 300 communities. The publication says the addition of real estate tax data to the Emerging Housing Markets Index is part of the reason.

Fort Wayne comes in at No. 3 across the U.S, an improvement of 31 spots and Elkhart-Goshen now ranks No. 13, up 37 positions from the previous quarterly report.

Editors say the new report reflects the addition of tax bills, based on feedback from readers.

“We were looking for real-estate tax friendly markets. Areas with higher effective real estate taxes were ranked lower while areas with lower effective real estate taxes are ranked higher,” explained the WSJ.

The index identifies markets that will be good areas in which to purchase a home for homeowners and investors. It uses housing market data, real estate taxes, economic vitality, and quality of life metrics to develop the index.

The Journal says while the emerging housing markets have lower home prices, they also tend to have lower average wages.

While two Hoosier communities climbed in ranking, one Indiana community dropped. Lafayette-West Lafayette declined 15 positions from No. 6 in the first quarter index. No reason was given for the drop.

Click here to view the full report.

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Farm supply and outdoor department store Stock+Field, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, will reopen several locations throughout Indiana under new ownership.

Illinois-based R.P. Acquisition Corp. says it is purchasing the assets of the retailer, formerly known as Big R.

Stock+Field has stores in Crawfordsville, Elkhart (2), Rochester, Marion, Michigan City, Wabash and Warsaw. There is no word if all of the locations will remain open, which have been liquidating inventory.

R.P. Acquisition is a subsidiary of R.P. Lumber Co. Inc., a family-owned hardware and building material retailer throughout Illinois, Missouri, Wyoming, and Iowa. R.P. says the stores will retain the Stock+Field name, and the new owners will seek input from employees and the communities they serve as they plan for the future of the brand.

“Our focus right now is on keeping Stock+Field stores open and serving the many communities they have served for years and, in some instances, decades,” said Robert L. Plummer, chairman of R.P. Acquisition Corp.

Plummer says the stores will continue to serve the same customers: farmers, ranchers and homeowners who live in rural areas.

“We love the farm and ranch space but, perhaps even more importantly, we saw this as an opportunity to invest in rural America, contribute to the growth of these great communities, and help keep many, good, hard-working people employed,” said Plummer.

R.P. Lumber Co. operates 72 stores. The acquisition of Stock+Fields’ 25 stores will bring its total ownership to nearly 100 locations.