Study finds housing hurdles hinder county development

Households with annual incomes below $75,000 per year are lacking access to homes priced below $200,000.
An aging population is ready for homes with less maintenance.
A  lack of growth in number of school age children in the coming years is predicted.
Housing is needed for the local work force.
Those are among the key findings a housing study, commissioned by One Dearborn Inc., that concludes the county needs more opportunities for affordable housing as an economic development tool, and for an aging population looking to downsize.
An implementation plan recommends exploring programs that have been successful in other communities for first-time homebuyers; closing the gap for builders through creative financing; exploring more housing density where appropriate; a pilot program for renovation of historic homes; and taking advantage of government housing programs, said One Dearborn President Terri Randall.
The Deaborn County Home Builders Association, which previewed the Dearborn County Housing Market Analysis & Implementation Plan at a recent event coordinated by One Dearborn and sponsored by Civista Bank, provided insights and concerns about the housing situation as the individuals closest to the issue.
Their concerns were echoed by community leaders during the development of the Dearborn County Regional Economic Development Plan.
“That plan identified housing as one of the ‘Big 8’ Economic Impact Drivers, and One Dearborn’s board of directors made the market analysis a high priority for 2019, ” said Randall.
An advisory team has been assembled that includes individuals with first-hand experience, builders, Realtors, banks, planners, land specialists, elderly services and community leaders, she said.
Ratio Design, Indianapolis, led the project. The firm analyzed the Cincinnati housing market and Dearborn County’s market, then divided the data into submarkets to ensure portions of the county uniquely different were carved out, said Randall.
“We all agreed the study needed to take us well beyond a pile of data and get down to isolating the issues and building potential solutions,” she said.
 One Dearborn will continue to support efforts connected to the identified issues, especially partnering with local communities, said Board President Michael Schwebler, who also is Highpoint Health CEO.
“We hope this information will be a starting point, help with planning and bring new ideas and solutions.”
Questions can be directed to One Dearborn at trandall@1dearborn.org.
The executive summary and full report is on the One Dearborn website through the link: http://www.1dearborn.org/?slug=news - reports.
 Established in 2017, One Dearborn, Inc. is comprised of private businesses, public officials and not-for-profit leaders to create a vision for the county’s development.
 One Dearborn calls for deploying more resources throughout the county, targeting economic development, planning, and implementation.

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