Home construction in central Indiana jumped in 2021

In the Nine Counties area, single-family building permits were up 20% last year from 2020.

McCORDSVILLE, Ind. – Central Indiana is building and people are buying.

Many home builders are experiencing record growth right now.

In the Nine Counties area, single-family permits were up 20% last year from 2020. New home construction had its best year for permits since 2005.

According to the Greater Indianapolis Builders Association, eight of nine local counties — all but Marion — have seen single-family home permits increase year over year.

“As this market has shown, the supply is not there in existing resale homes,” explained homebuilder Sara Joyner of Joyner Homes. “On top of that, people are learning if we’re going to spend more time at home, I want what I want and I can’t necessarily have that in a resale home and, honestly, remodeling has gotten really expensive. It’s very hard to find a trades contractor to do that, so that’s not really an option either, so if you can’t find what you want in a resale home, you’re going to build a new House.

Perhaps the hottest market right now to build that new home? Hancock County.

New subdivisions are booming, especially in Fortville and McCordsville. Joyner said it was his best year in business yet. She and her husband have been building homes since 2006.

“We’re busy! We’re busy. For 2021, we’ve seen higher numbers than ever before,” she said.

Overall, according to BAGI, Hancock County saw a 47% year-over-year increase in permits, the largest increase of any local county.

Permits rose 159% in December alone.

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Joyner thinks people are discovering a hidden gem that may no longer be.

“I can be downtown Indianapolis in 25 minutes with very little traffic if I need to. But yet, you know, we have great schools, great health care. It’s just a good place to live,” Joyner said. “People are really nice here and I think people find that and realize that.”

The boom in new home construction comes with challenges, however. For example, Hancock County must ensure that all these new people and their property remain protected.

Public safety therefore also develops.

The Township of Vernon is now full-time, with career firefighters, after the merger of McCordsville and Fortville volunteer services.

Thanks to a tax levy after the creation of the new department, they had to expand relatively quickly, buy new equipment and recruit more firefighters in the last two years alone.

The workload, said Vernon Township Fire Chief Chad Abel, is on the rise.

“We’ve seen an increase of 400 races in just one year because of growth and it’s not slowing down,” Abel explained.

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They recently added an ambulance, two fire engines, a full-time fire inspector and an on-site paramedic. The department even just bought a modular house in November, where the teams can sleep, until a new station is built in McCordsville.

They also have to rely on each other and be careful with the money they have, as the running load increases.

“So we’ve done a lot of things to try to be as robust as possible with the dollars we have, but ultimately we’re going to have to have more responders working shifts,” Abel said.

That will eventually include new firefighters, Abel said, and the department needs new air packs, for example. Their current equipment is used, from the Fishers Fire Department, and it’s at least a decade old and parts for repairs are becoming hard to find.

But Abel said the community has supported the expansion of public safety needs, as the neighborhoods they serve continue to build and grow.

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