Record low interest rates and an overall lack of inventory have posed challenges for prospective homebuyers across the United States. And the state of Indiana is working on a plan to help track and address the issue going into the future.
As part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s 2021 legislative agenda, housing stock in urban, rural, and suburban communities will be one of the main focuses.
“Housing stock is of critical importance,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “It will be our goal to develop a housing trend analysis and a web-based housing report platform.” Crouch said this tool will be used by developers, builders, employers, local and state government officials, and service providers who serve specific populations to determine where needs and gaps exist and addressing them.
According to Michael J. McQuillen, Director of Industry and Governmental Affairs for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, the IHCDA was actively mapping out these plans months before the COVID-19 pandemic began. That’s when the authority established the Housing Working Group.
“The Housing Working Group was first organized pre-pandemic, in 2019, with the task of formulating a plan to see a Statewide Housing Inventory web-based platform established for Indiana,” said McQuillen. “The value of this project has been even more enhanced with the COVID-19 concerns of today.”
The Housing Working Group itself is diverse, comprised of representatives from several stakeholder groups throughout the state. “The IHCDA included representatives from many housing-involved areas to make sure a broad cross-section of ideas and concerns were addressed,” said McQuillen. This includes bankers, builders, Realtors, and many others.
Before a web-based tool can be created, data will be gathered by a vendor and a report will be assembled, assessing the inventory of existing housing throughout the state.
“The report will show a detailed picture of the current housing market in Indiana at both the statewide and county level, with specific attention to the existing demand and supply at various for sale and rental price points,” McQuillen said. “It will provide housing market trend information including, but not limited to, the age of housing units, median rent, median home purchase price, number of building permits issued, and total number of housing units that are constructed for each county and statewide.”
The report will also include different types of housing such as affordable housing and market rate housing.
After the report is generated, the next step is to create the interactive web-based interface tool. While this tool may be most useful for particular individuals, every Hoosier will have access to the platform, according to McQuillen.
When asked about a timeline, McQuillen said the group is anticipating that it will take six months to have a working platform up and running. It will take an additional few weeks of testing before the platform is open to everyone. As far as an exact release roll-out schedule, that’s still to be determined.
“Once ready for use, the state will announce that the platform is online and complete. The platform will be accessible to the public,” said McQuillen. “The creation and maintenance of a web-based platform to present this data in a user-friendly format that will allow for additions and modifications to the data is a must.”
When asked if the initiative will become permanent, McQuillen said current plans are to continue to update the platform in real-time and to keep it open and accessible as long as the information contained with-in is of value to users. “This is not a 3-ring binder project that will become obsolete once built,” McQuillen said.
McQuillen also noted that this project will be the first of its kind in the United States. Although other states and some municipalities have issued housing inventories in the past, nothing of this magnitude has ever been developed.
McQuillen encourages individuals to stay tuned for future announcements from the offices of the Governor and Lt. Governor as the program progresses.