According to a recent article from MarketWatch, just 39% of Hoosiers can afford a new home based upon both home prices and their household earnings. That’s nearly 2/3 of Hoosiers that we are leaving behind.


There are many reasons that new homes are not achievable to the average Hoosier, including:

Community Aesthetic Requirements – Would you rather spend money on an upgraded kitchen, like stone counters and stainless-steel appliances or direct those funds to ensure that your roof pitch and roof planes meet community standards? Many communities have aesthetic regulations that limit what the builder can build, and ultimately, what the buyer pays. Examples of this can include:

» Prescribing the minimum square footage of a home

» Requiring porches and sunrooms

» Mandating single or two-car garages that load from the rear or side

» Window placement and percentage requirements

And while vinyl siding remains the most low-maintenance and nationally desired product, some communities try to ban products that would use that exterior material. Vinyl siding is an approved product, permitted under the Indiana Building Code, which regulates how homes are constructed to ensure they are safely and efficiently built.

Property Tax Caps – Communities are now forced to think differently about density, land use, and growth. Property tax caps mean that large lot development is not only the least desired type of housing, but that homes on large lots don’t help communities see a return on their investment in housing developments. Compact development provides an increase in funding for city services and more tax dollars.

Decades-Old Zoning Ordinances – Communities are often hamstrung by zoning and land use regulations that are no longer applicable to the current times and demand. In 2019, 71% of homes were built on lots that were under a quarter acre. Coupling that tendency with the fact that development is a costly business – at least $1,000 per lineal foot – communities that force larger lot development due to standards that haven’t caught up with the current market, potential homeowners could be investing north of $20,000 when communities force builders to develop 75-foot-wide lots rather than 55-foot-wide lots.

Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) Thinking – Many of us have heard neighbors’ concerns on new development: “What about the added drainage?” “That will cause too much traffic.” “The schools will be overcrowded!” The fact is that cities and towns benefit when families invest in a community and grow roots there. Based on a comprehensive study from Stanford University, crime rates actually decrease, and property values increase when communities invest in housing for all.

Fees and Regulation – The housing industry has long supported impact fees, plat fees, and others to help ensure the cost of new growth is considered. But did you know that it’s not uncommon for a builder to spend $5,000 per home in fees? In addition, they pay fees to develop the community and invest hundreds of thousands in plans that may never come to fruition. A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates that 24% of a new home’s cost is related to regulation. While that number may be slightly lower for Indiana, it’s true that a great portion of the cost relates to regulation.

BAGI continues to work with local peer groups and decision-makers to help the attainability crisis that our community is facing. We believe Hoosiers deserve housing and we are dedicated to make it more accessible and achievable for all.