Almost two-thirds of new homes started in 2021 are part of community associations, and some 74.2 million Americans live in Home Ownership Association (HOA) neighborhoods. Their surging popularity must come from the amenities, right?

According to data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), however, the majority of homebuyers do not want them. The NAHB discovered that the most desired features are a suburban setting, nearby parks, walking paths, proximity to retail space, and, for millennials and younger buyers, playgrounds.

As Deborah Goonan points out in Independent American Communities, “Suburban locations preferred by most homebuyers already tend to have commercial and public land uses that provide those most desired neighborhood preferences.”

Drake Branda, CEO of Building Partners of Central Indiana (BPCI) and Director of Government Affairs for the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis (BAGI) says this is an issue, particularly among younger buyers. “They move in and don’t want to pay extra fees when the municipality already has an amazing public park system. That’s where you see some disconnect – in terms of the amenities required in an HOA that already exist.”


Branda explains it costs $65,000 a year to mow and maintain common areas in his 334-residence community, not including snow removal, playground upkeep, pool/ pond maintenance, insurance, etc.

Megan Vukusich, Director of Planning & Zoning for the City of Fishers, says, “Our standards are written to be flexible and adaptable. We don’t want it to be just a checkbox that developments have to hit but that are actually a benefit to the community.”

Branda says while the intention is to provide a better quality of life, requirements “unfortunately also add to the costs for developing that community.” And, indeed, for living in it.


To help defray costs, Fishers offers a Neighborhood Vibrancy Grant – a 50% match for neighborhood projects up to $5000. With $100,000 earmarked for communities around the city, Vukusich and her counterparts place a heavy focus on improvements that reduce maintenance costs in the long run.

Creative solutions exist when stakeholders come together to develop vibrant neighborhoods that meet residents’ needs now – and in the future. This is how we build strong Indiana roots. Learn more at