Housing shortages impact all of us. The ripple effects spread far and wide, from pricing hard-working Hoosiers out of their communities to stifling economic growth and business/investment opportunities to increasing traffic congestion. The lack of attainable housing in a community affects both those who are comfortably housed and those who, at this point, can only dream of the American Dream.

What happens when we embrace attainable housing? What are the ripple effects we can experience then?

Why We Need Attainable Housing

1. We Need Attainable Housing Options

In Indiana, we need housing, Period. In the next 20 years, the state will add nearly 275,000 jobs to the economy. Great news! Yes… but to accommodate that growth — and the workers driving it — we will need an estimated 180,257 new units.

The math is clear: 20 years ÷ 180,000 units = 9,000 housing units annually. The Indianapolis region is underbuilding by 1,750 units each year. Far less clear: where hundreds of thousands of folks who provide our communities with vital services will live.

2. We Need the People Who Need Attainable Housing

The majority of jobs coming to the region are in the following fields:

  • Accommodations and food services
  • Retail
  • Educational services
  • Healthcare and social assistance

In Indiana, the median cost for a new home is $317,395. To qualify for a mortgage, households need an income of at least $70,485 . The stark reality is that the industries where we are seeing significant job growth do not offer wages that allow a single earner to purchase a home. Even double-income households may find it challenging, especially in today’s housing market with record-low stock and near record-high prices.

At the same time, people in these fields are critical to communities and to the economy. They work in shops and stores, restaurants and cafes. They deliver care for our loved ones in hospitals and health centers as assistants, aides, and custodial staff. They help provide great education for our students as paraprofessionals and support staff. They assist our most vulnerable residents as caseworkers.

Some of these jobs are classified as “essential.” Others enhance the quality of life in the community. In any case, the people who fill them contribute to the community — but will not be able to afford to live in it.

Over the past two decades, failure to keep up with housing demand has cost the US $400 billion in GDP. We can’t afford not to implement fair and balanced housing policies.

3. It’s Good for the Economy

Bottom line: attainable housing is good for the bottom line. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Fiscal Impact Study:

Type of New ConstructionIncome for Indiana Residents (1 Year Impact)Taxes and Other Revenue for State and Local Governments

(1 Year Impact)

JobsRecurring Impacts (Annually)
Single-Family$308 million$219 million4,040$38.4 million in income for Indiana residents; $11.7 million in taxes/revenue; 745 jobs
Multi-Family$139 million$30 million1,811$26.9 million in income for Indiana residents; $8.0 million in taxes/revenues; 519 jobs

 

Building homes, both single-family and multi-unit options, has both immediate and long-term impacts on the local and state-wide economy.

4. Attainable Housing Looks at the Long-Term Picture

The world of work is changing; we need to change with it. As mentioned, most of the new jobs coming to the region do not offer wages that make homeownership a possibility in the current market. That’s not the only difference. For example, in 1960, 75% of US households were married and 43% were married with kids. Today, that’s 50% and 20% respectively.

As a generalization, people who work in the industries with the most job growth (e.g. hospitality, retail) are more likely to live either alone or in a smaller household. It may be a single person, a couple, two roommates, a parent and a child… Regardless of the household makeup, the reality is that many have a single earner at the helm, and buying a house is out of reach financially.

Attainable housing policies that include a diversity of housing types (e.g. space-conscious single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, multi-family buildings) allow them to achieve a high standard of living even if they are earning a below-median income.

5. Balanced Housing Policies Create Diverse, Thriving Communities

The benefits of building a vibrant, diverse community may not be as easily quantifiable as income, taxes, and other revenues, but it is no less important when considering housing policies. Attainable options allow not only employees to live where they work, but it enables people to grow from apartments to duplexes or homes as their household makeup changes. It enables retirees to downsize to a cozy townhouse or bungalow in their own neighborhoods. It enables people to go through the housing life cycle without needing to move away from the community in which they have put down roots.

This creates a deep sense of connection to the community — and this, in turn, does have economic benefits. Residents reinvest in their local businesses, they contribute taxes and other revenues, they help build and maintain a strong workforce.

Educate, Advocate, Protect, Promote

Build Indiana Roots is on a mission to educate the community and policy makers about the need for attainable housing, advocate for homebuyers, builders, and communities, protect Hoosiers from being priced out of their communities due to costly aesthetic regulations, and promote responsible, data-backed building solutions.

Housing issues impact all of us, and together, we can build strong, thriving communities. Learn more and join the conversation at https://buildindianaroots.com/