Monday, April 09, 2007

Central Indiana Affordability Study


MIBOR and BAGI members recently gathered for the sixth annual installment of the Central Indiana Housing Summit. At the summit, they released a study on the housing affordability of central Indiana. The study, which was modeled after a national study, asked 106 elected and appointed central Indiana public officials their opinions of affordable housing and barriers to affordable housing in their communities.


Following are the key findings from the study:

Comparing costs of housing to wages — A comparison of the cost of housing to wages of various moderate-income occupations like police officers, firefighters and elementary school teachers suggests challenges in five central Indiana counties. Boone and Brown counties have housing costs that may be unaffordable to working families; whereas, Hamilton, Hendricks and Marion counties, while not as severe, may also have costs that make housing difficult for working families.

Importance of affordable housing for working families — When asked to rate the importance of affordable housing for working families as an issue of concern in central Indiana, less than 10 percent of respondents indicated that it was a very big concern. However, the findings of the comparative national study showed that it was an issue of very big concern for 34 percent of respondents.

Supply of low- to moderate-income housing — In the national survey, 92.8 percent of counties reported having a very or somewhat low supply of low- to moderate-income housing units. In central Indiana, 45 percent of respondents reported having about the right amount of affordable housing units in their community, and 21.6 percent reported having more than needed.

Barriers to creating affordable housing — The top three barriers faced in creating additional affordable housing in the greater Indianapolis area mirrored those from the national study: not in my backyard (NIMBYism), lack of private sector interest and lack of public funding.

Resources for increasing affordable housing — Given the perceived lack of need, few resources have been used by counties to increase the supply of affordable housing. The main resources, though used on a limited basis, included Section 8 vouchers (33 percent), low-income tax credit (25.9 percent) and public housing (17.9 percent).

Info courtesy of Metropolitan Indianapolis Board Of Realtors and www.housingsummit.com.

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