16,000 new housing units possible

May 10, 2019

Over the next five years, 10 northeast Indiana counties could support nearly 16,000 new housing units, a recent study found. 

The study : commissioned by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, the Home Builders Association of Fort Wayne Inc. and the UPSTAR Upstate Alliance of Realtors : analyzed residential market potential for each county in the region except for Allen County. Allen County is home to Fort Wayne and is a market unto itself, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership says. 

The study was performed by Zimmerman/Volk Associates.

The counties studied were Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. According to the study, the region could absorb 8,775 to 10,975 new rental units, 765 to 955 new townhouses and 2,645 to 3,965 new detached houses over the next five years.

“For a number of years, and particularly after the recession started in 2008, the 10 counties outside of Allen haven’t had enough new houses, townhomes and apartments built to attract new residents to their cities and towns,” Michael Galbraith, director of the Road to One Million at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said in a statement. “Not only that, but the rehab efforts seen in places like downtown Fort Wayne and the West Central neighborhood haven’t yet occurred in large measure in our rural communities.” 

That lack of growth, Galbraith said, has kept home values low as the cost to build new houses increases, creating a scarcity of quality housing throughout the region. 

Some types of housing the study identified as appropriate for northeast Indiana include mansion apartment buildings, courtyard apartment buildings, loft apartment buildings, mixed-use apartment buildings, microunits, soft lofts and apartments above retail.

For-sale units such as condominiums and single-family attached units such as townhouses or duplexes were not in as much demand, the study found. 

“With the potential for 12,000 to 15,000 new housing units in the 10-county region over the next five years, the findings of this study will help area builders and developers project their paths for investment and growth in the noted housing markets and meet the needs of the local community,” said Beth Johnson, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Fort Wayne.