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Carmel Mayor to launch task force addressing housing disparities

The goal is to find disparities in availability, accessibility, and affordability.
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Posted at 4:27 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-21 17:26:01-05

CARMEL — For years Carmel has been a hot place to try and buy a home in.

Landing on lists globally, it's hard to snag something and within an affordable price range.

But Carmel Mayor, Sue Finkam, is working to change that by putting forth a new housing task force.

As part of her campaign promise, she says she is hoping to target the disparities Carmel face.

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"We heard a lot of concerns and questions about what was our housing policy, how many apartments were we going to build, and what was our plan for affordability in the city of Carmel," Mayor Finkam said.

Finkam is launching the housing task force on Friday to study the state of Carmel's housing market.

"To kind of put together a framework for where we wanted to take our housing initiative going forward," Finkam said.

Composed of nine members, the task force will spend time receiving input from the community and experts about the best practices moving forward.

"We have a really robust housing market. In fact, we have negative inventory right now, more houses are selling that are going on the market. That is a little bit of a stagnation for us in trying to bring talent to town," Finkam said.

Finkam says she knows there are a lot of apartments becoming available, but they fill quickly.

Oftentimes the supply and demand issues Carmel faces cause prices to drive up.

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"We have more people coming in than we have houses available for them. That's a great thing and a bad thing together. Our community is very diverse. We have people coming from all around the world to live in Carmel. We've made made ourselves a target for new talent. And we got to figure out ways to get them here," Finkam says.

Realtors and people in the market who buy or sell are seeing the same issues.

Realtor Cortney Hull says it's hard to get clients into homes in Carmel.

"As everywhere else in central Indiana, inventory is really low, but especially in Carmel. You have to be able to jump immediately to go look, even now, and a lot of my buyers have realized it's really expensive," Hull said.

She says oftentimes the lack of availability means price is driven up, which puts many people out of the city.

"They pend in one or two days or maybe they get pushed out because it's really competitive and sells over list price," Hull said.

The mayor's housing task force will asses the market needs and find gaps with disparity.

Residents like Josh Miles say they see the need for the task force.

"I think the supply is really low," Miles said. "I think it's important to be patient and also be ready to move. I think as much as the housing market is very different than it was a couple years ago, when everything was so crazy. When you're still in a hot market, like Carmel, you just got to be ready to take action on it when you see something."

Miles recently started entertaining the idea of selling his home to find something else in Carmel.

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His realtor found a home he loved and knew he needed to put an offer in quickly, even before listing his current home.

"We were in the planning process of putting the house on the market, and hadn't even pulled the trigger on that yet, when we found this. We actually had an accepted offer on the house for buying before we even had our house listed. And my house has only been listed now for like five days and we've already had probably over 20 people through, including open houses," Miles said.

The new task force will study the Carmel market until July.

They will tackle a number of issues:

  • Current housing inventory and market conditions
  • Population, demographics and workforce trends
  • Housing options and housing best practices with input from experts
  • Construction and development trends
  • Examination of trends and neighborhood programs of Carmel peer communities

"I can't tell you exactly where we're going to be. We're going to let that data guide us and make that decision with us," Finkam said.
The task force wants to hear from you too. They will be holding a number of public meetings:

  • February 23 - Task Force kickoff; overview of Carmel economy and regional position
  • March 21 - Population, demographic and workforce trends
  • April 25 - Single-family housing market review and trends
  • May 23 - Multi-family housing market review and trends
  • June 27 - Housing-for-all approaches; peer city review
  • July 25 - Draft report

The task force will submit a report to the mayor by July 31, 2024.
The meetings will be held in the City Hall from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. They will also be live streamed.

The task force members are complied of council members, housing experts, and other members form the city:

  • Adam Aasen, Carmel City Council
  • Dave Bowers, Carmel Redevelopment Commission
  • Barbara Eden, Carmel resident
  • Todd Fenoglio, Carmel Clay Schools
  • Matt Kaercher, Merchants Capital
  • Chris Pryor, MIBOR
  • Jack Russell, OneZone Chamber of Commerce
  • Aletta Sanders, HAND, Incorporated
  • Christine Zoccola, Carmel Plan Commission