• Kirk Gaw

A Call To Action: Is The Walkerton Community Building Enough Housing?

By Kirk Gaw

Where are the young going? When I went to school in South Bend (IUSB) I tried to find housing in the Walkerton community! I was forced to live in South Bend because nothing was available in Walkerton for rent or for sale at that time. I was told then that demand outweighs supply. I was given excuses that I should live with family members but, did not want to. I needed to be free of family induced stress caused by my parents. I needed to study and maintain my geotechnical job at Alt & Witzig Engineering and study to finish my degree in the SPEA program under the wings of Dean Richard Weiss.

I looked at several downtown Walkerton properties on the 600 and 700 blocks above the stores but, they were not available for rent because of the needs to rehab the units. And the property owners I spoke to then were unwilling to invest in the rehabilitation required for the lofts. I always hoped Walkerton developers and planners would open their eyes to see that many young people do in fact want to be close to their hometown after school. Also, statistics show that Walkerton industry and services is growing. Businesses are hiring but, people are not applying. Could it be that housing is a factor for the community to keep a desirable employment pool?

Recent John Glenn grads can buy a home in the Walkerton area since the community is considered affordable. Especially, when the mortgage does not consume more than 30% of income for a household making the typical salary of a someone with a high school diploma. Typical homes in Walkerton sell for $50,000 to $150,000 according to Zillow who has shown home values went up 8.7% over the past year. This means that demand is outweighing supply!

See Zillow Walkerton Area Charts: Median Monthly Mortgage Payment: $875 Minimum Education Needed to Afford a Mortgage: HS Diploma or GED Percent of Income Spent on Median Mortgage: 14.9% Percent of Income Spent on Median Rent: 28.2% According To The Council For Community And Economic Research ( / Area The cost of living in Walkerton is 2% lower than the Indiana average The cost of living in Walkerton is 12% lower than the national average Walkerton housing is 44% lower than the national average Indiana general sales tax is 37% higher than the national average Indiana state income tax is 31% higher than the national average

Recent local home construction by McIntosh Construction, Inc. of Walkerton, scene at Koontz Lake.

Many empty lots scattered throughout town. Many suburban type developments are happening north of town at Walnut Crossing, westside at Dogwood Estates, and south at Red Tail Court. But, the builders are not keeping up with the demands of the local Walkerton area market. St. Joseph County continues to be a sellers market. Home values are getting higher because of lack of supply!

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