by Darcie Duranceau


The Urgent Need for Missing Middle Housing

Indiana’s reputation for affordability masks a hidden truth: beneath the surface lies a housing crisis that is silently squishing the state’s middle class. Although housing costs sit well below the national average of $495,100, very few new homes hit the market for less than $350,000, leaving around two-thirds of Hoosier households out of the conversation.

“Middle-product housing” falls between affordable housing and luxury housing in terms of price point and amenities. According to the Indiana Association of Realtors, in the past year, listings valued at over $350,000 have increased by 19%; meanwhile, middle product listings have virtually stayed the same.

Build Indiana Roots has formed a coalition of business groups and trade associations to tackle the housing crisis facing Hoosiers. They begin by educating the community and lawmakers, advocating for new and improved building and housing policies, and promoting responsible building practices for the good of the community.

“If people would just build [middle housing], we’ll sell it. I have zero doubts there,” says Kyle Morris, Realtor with Talk to Tucker. “You have different generations and demographics that are intertwined with and are impacting one another, and they don’t even know it.”

Changes in lifestyle, buying power, and education are shifting homebuyer interests. In June 2016, average home prices sat at $147,900 during what at the time was being called an “extreme sellers market”. Gen Z was just entering college.

Baby Boomers are looking to downsize in retirement, but are finding there’s nowhere to downsize to. They are competing with first-time homebuyers, and each has different budgets and financing. While there’s been an uptick in 55+ community construction, these properties sell the moment they’re built.

“We don’t have the inventory to keep up with the demand,” says Morris, “I have millennials who are interested in duplexes, but the inventory isn’t there.”

The middle-product housing market is messy because materials are expensive, labor is expensive, and the demand isn’t visible. With so little inventory, the potential buyers are forced to sit back and wait, so we have no real insight of what that population really looks like.

“There are so many people sitting on the sidelines,” says Morris. “There is space in the market for middle housing if someone would just step into it.”

For more information on achievable housing, visit buildindianaroots.com.