A Place to Call Home

Starke County identified three areas of weakness that might deter investment:

  1. Lower than average educational attainment;
  2. Aging and limited housing stock; and,
  3. A need for a more vibrant and active sense of place.

 

Community representatives concluded that these three areas of weakness were symptoms of a single phenomenon. From their examination of statistical data, they found that:

  • Many educated professionals working in the region commute out to homes up to an hour away.
  • Middle class people have difficulty finding homes with the contemporary amenities they want. • Upscale homes that offered those amenities typically sold shortly after appearing on the market.

 

Starke County believes the cure requires an aggressive program to update and upgrade regional housing stock and encourage more professionals to make the region their home. This will help bolster the tax base, improve human capital, and help increase median incomes, all of which will help support retail, services, daycare, and schools in the region.

They identified two clear strengths attracting individuals to their community: 1. Their unspoiled countryside of lakes, rivers and forested land; and, 2. their friendly and relaxed towns and villages.

Better residential choices will attract and hold more people who can choose their home, making the demographic profile of the region more attractive for renewed investment from regional and national retail, commercial, and industrial firms.

Currently, the median list price for homes in Starke County is $93 per square foot, lower than the state-wide average of $105 per square foot. The median list price per square foot for Marshall County is $109, for LaPorte County it’s $116, and for Pulaski County it’s $75 [Source: Zillow]. Our home ownership is the highest of the surrounding counties at 80.2%.

The growth rate in their region is projected to be higher than any other outer region in Indiana for the next 20 years, according to Ball State University Indiana Communities Institute. At the same time, the median income is the lowest of the surrounding counties at $45,526, and the poverty rate is the highest at 16.7%, indicating a need for additional workforce and low-income housing.

Knox, the county seat, has invested dollars in improving the status of its aging housing stock. $268,400 was spent in 2015 on various housing demolition, and $214,500 was spent in 2019 on Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation housing repairs for homeowners.

The community desires affordable and upgraded housing for various demographics—the elderly, working families, and young residents looking to rent or rent to own. Lack of funding is a major contributing factor to the county’s inability to meet its housing needs.

See Regional Development Plan for more info: https://www.nicf.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Constellation-of-Starke.pdf

Pg. 3.6: Table showing Median House Value and percentage of Owner-Occupied Housing

Pg. 3.30: Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Project Plan

Pg. 3.32: Affordable Housing Project Plan in North Judson

Pg. 3.33: Affordable Housing Project Plan in Knox and Hamlet

https://www.wsj.com/articles/scarcity-of-housing-in-rural-america-drives-worker-shortage-1527672602