Does affordable housing attract Chicagoans to Indianapolis?

According to an article at Urbanophile, more than 48,000 Chicagoans migrated to Indianapolis between 2001 and 2009. Indianapolitans (?) also migrated to Chicago, but Indianapolis had a net gain of more than 12,000 people in the moves between the cities during that time period.

A lower cost of living, including housing costs, is one of the factors favoring Indianapolis.

A week ago Saturday I ventured down to Indianapolis on behalf of a local client to shoot video at an affordable housing development on the south side of the city.

At Red Maple Grove, the Indianapolis Housing Agency and two experienced developers are building highly-appealing 3- and 4-bedroom, 2 ½ bath single-family homes with 2-car detached garages at Red Maple Grove. The price struck me as surprisingly affordable for a well-designed home in a full-amenity development.

The homes are being built under the Hope VI program, which enables the purchase of a $140,000 home by a buyer who can qualify for a $70,000 first mortgage and pay $1,000 - $500 at contract time and $500 a closing. The balance of the price is covered by an interest-free second mortgage that becomes a grant and is forgiven after the home owner has occupied the home for 5 years. The minimum and maximum income qualification varies with household size, but a single person earning $26,000 a year can qualify to buy one of these homes.

Forget any notion you ever had about affordable housing and watch the sponsored video. You'll see a home and a community that, I'm told, rival anything being offered in the South Indianapolis market. The total monthly cost of ownership is in the $500 - $600 range.

You can reach Red Maple Grove from Chicago in under four hours, and easily make a day trip out of your visit, as I did.

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  • Anecdotally, as an Indianapolis real estate agent, (http://www.homesinindianapolisforsale.com) yes we get many home buyers from Chicago- especially telecommuters and second or lake home buyers. Income from Chicago combined with Indianapolis home prices allows for a very nice lifestyle.

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