Younger population buying up homes in Fort Wayne

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne was ranked in the Top 10 for cities where more young residents are buying homes.

The Summit City was ranked number 9 out of 50 by SmartAsset, a personal finance technology company headquartered in New York.

The company examined data for 200 of the largest cities in the US. When crunching the numbers, the study focused on the homeownership rate among 18-to-34-year-old, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Another factor was the 10-year-change in homeownership rate for those under 35.

“Home prices have gone up quite a bit in recent years, but we’re still very affordable,” said Andy Zoda, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group. “Look at our economy here, so many great companies I mean, there’s Sweetwater, there’s lots of manufacturing General Motors and whatnot.”

Zoda has been in real estate for the past 21 years. A trend he noticed that in previous years, Hoosiers would graduate from school and leave the city for job opportunities, but recently more millennials are moving back or staying home.

According to the study, Fort Wayne’s homeownership rate for adults under the age of 35 was 41.24% in 2019, which is a 3.32% increase over the past 10 years.

Sam Hartman, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker says he noticed homeownership is decreasing in the younger demographic, but Fort Wayne is seeing an increase in homebuyers under the age of 35.

“Fort Wayne has a few things really going for it, and one of them is that the quality of the city living. I think Fort Wayne has really done an amazing job, it’s gotten more vibrant nightlife, bar and restaurant life, things like that that are attracting younger people,” Hartman said. “The young professionals that would leave Fort Wayne for their first job or start their careers are now staying here, but I’m also seeing a huge chunk of that younger demographic that are actually coming back from larger metropolitan cities.”

One Fort Wayne resident who returned to the area from Chicago is Sarah Walker. She was born in Fort Wayne, and recently moved back a few months ago. Prior to returning, she lived in Chicago for eight years. She said she is excited to be back and is proud of her hometown-mainly because it has grown over the years with the breweries and restaurants.

“The cost of living is great and that sense of community that Fort Wayne has I just love,” Walker said. “Ultimately this is just home for me.”

While Fort Wayne may be home for many, the cost of homeownership can be daunting. Hartman said that he is noticing some young homebuyers are putting off buying a home mainly because they think their credit score isn’t good enough, they think they don’t have enough money for a down payment or they think have too much debt due to student loans or car debt

“The advice I’ll give to young homebuyers is try to avoid the the mentality of keeping up with the Joneses. Focus on what your budget is, what your life allows you to do, and what you can afford,” Hartman said.

Top 10 cities for Homebuyers under 35:

  • Midland, Texas
  • Cape Coral, Florida
  • Joliet, Illinois
  • Mesquite, Texas
  • Bakersfield, California
  • Aurora, Colorado
  • Port St. Lucie, Florida
  • Gilbert, Arizona
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Rancho Cucamonga, California

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