Realtor.com and the Wall Street Journal recently did a study where they identified the top emerging real estate markets in the country, and Fort Wayne came up on the third spot. This list identifies the best areas in which to purchase a home for home owners and investors. The index uses a slate of housing market, economic, and quality of life metrics to come up with emerging markets that are expected to see an increase of home prices in the coming years. They also offer attractive lifestyle amenities; so this isn’t just the best real estate markets, it’s the best markets to purchase in, and to live in as well.
We have a pretty affordable housing market right now. In fact, it’s one of the lowest in the country. Our median sale price is about $185,000 in Fort Wayne, and according to Zillow, the national median is about $303,000. The median sale price is the middle price tier of homes, meaning, there’s as many homes above $185,000 as there are homes below $185,000. This is a useful metric as you’re comparing different markets across the country. Today we’re not going to talk about median so much as we’re going to talk about the average home price.
The average home price in Fort Wayne right now is $218,000. That’s up about 13% from a year ago. We’re seeing pretty good appreciation, which is really in line with most other parts of the country. So to put this in perspective, the houses that we’re talking about today in the $350,000 price range are well above the median sale price, and about $100,000 dollars above the average sale price in this city.
What does it take to afford a $350,000 house in our area? Well, I like to break it down in terms of your monthly payment so you really know what you can afford. In order to purchase a house in this price range, you’re going to need a down payment of about $70,000, assuming you’re putting the standard 20% down. If you’re getting a standard 30 year loan term, then your total monthly payment is going to be around $1,515; this includes your taxes and insurance. Indiana’s property taxes are about 1% for your primary residence. If you have an investment property, or a second home (like a lake home), your property taxes are going to be higher.
New Construction Homes
Let’s look at new construction homes in the $350,000 price range. Like most other parts of the country, Fort Wayne can not build houses fast enough to meet the buyer demand. The reason is because of labor and supply chain shortages that are happening right now, all over our country. In fact, housing starts dropped 7% last month according to the housing department.
All right, let’s look at some homes in the Northwest Allen County school district. This area is absolutely booming right now because of the school system. They’re highly rated so a lot of people want to move out here. This first one is actually a villa located in Greystone at Timber Ridge. It’s a high price for square foot, there’s no doubt about it. We’re looking at 1,650 square feet, a ranch on a slab, three-car garage, three beds and two full baths. The reason why this is a higher price per square foot is because it’s more custom and has nicer finishes than what you would typically see in a standard new construction home. This home has amazing schools. The elementary school is an 8/10, the middle school is 8/10, and the high school ranks a 10/10. If that’s high on your list, then this home is in an area that you’re going to want to consider.
Next on the list is a home in Hunter Town. It’s still in Carroll High School district, but it is going to give you a lot more bang for your buck. It has a lower price per square foot than the last one with four beds, two and a half baths, and 2300 square feet. This house has a small lot though, but it’s in an area that is seeing a ton of development. There’s a lot of things to do out here, and every dining option that you could possibly think of in a short drive. Both of these homes are probably 10 minutes from Parkview Regional Medical Center. You have tons of different parks out here, different fitness centers, and the YMCA. If you’re thinking about moving to Fort Wayne, and you’re looking for a new construction home around the $350,000 price range, you’re going to want to consider this area.
Next, let’s talk about what kind of homes you can get in the $350,000 price range in our more established neighborhoods with 30 to 40 years old homes. Neighborhoods of this age are going to offer things that a new construction neighborhood won’t, such as mature trees and more stability in the area. Homes were built a little differently 30-40 years ago, so we’re going to see rooms that are more choppy as oppose to open concepts. They usually have smaller rooms, but there will be more of them. I was just reading that due to COVID, people are reassessing what they want in their house, and builders are going towards the more segmented homes. I haven’t seen it yet in Fort Wayne, and I’m not sure if it will actually stick, but that is the new trend.
Some other things you’re going to find in an established neighborhood are upgrades that homeowners have completed since the place was built. You’ll see big decks, pools, or brown woodwork from when they were originally built. It’s not everyone’s favorite thing right now, but typically you’re going to have master bedrooms and more space. You’re going to have that finished basement that you would never find on a new construction home in this price range. So, there’s some pros and cons. You’re not paying the premium price that you have to pay when you buy a new construction home. When everything’s brand new, you’re paying a premium for that. Let’s talk about Fort Wayne’s old neighborhoods. Some of my favorite on this list are the Foster Park area, the Lakeside Park area, Wildwood Park, and Fort Wayne’s most famous old neighborhood, West Central. These neighborhoods were built between the 1890s-1940s. They have big trees, Victorian homes, and one thing I like best about these neighborhoods are the people that live in them. West Central is definitely one of the most desirable older neighborhoods in the city. It’s also one of the fastest appreciating neighborhoods in the city, so there’s a lot of investment going on. Definitely keep an eye on what’s going on in West Central.
Homes with Acreage
Some people want a little bit of acreage for $350,000, and you’ve got some pretty good options in the Fort Wayne area.
South County Line Road in Allen County is a good, quiet area, and I predict that there’s going to be some development out here in the future. This first home is just under 9 acres, and if you figure about $20,000 an acre, then $150,000-$160,000 of that value is just for the land. It’s a nice property with 1900 square feet of finished space, three beds, two full baths, and some nice updates. This is a rural setting, so you’re going to be driving more to get to places. You are right next to Wells County, so you’re in the Fort Wayne community school district. If you’re in the market to buy a house with some land, and I was your real estate agent, I would definitely be putting this one in front of you to consider because it’s a nice house with a pretty nice price.
If you’re looking for a lake property as a second home, or as your primary home, Northern Indiana has a ton of lakes. And there’s about a hundred lakes within 1-1.5 hours driving distance from Fort Wayne. Lakes properties are more money than the typical house for sale in Fort Wayne for obvious reasons. You can snatch up a pretty good property, especially this time of the year, because people are finishing up their last lake season and are selling it. So now’s the time to look at lake properties and let’s look at two.
Sylvan Lake is a sport lake about an hour north from Fort Wayne. This first lake home is a pretty good price with some nice views. You can ski on it at all hours of the day, and it has some really good fishing.
The next lake home is right on the Indiana Michigan line. It’s definitely a fixer upper, but it’s the lake that it’s on that gives it a lot of its value. Lake George is my favorite lake in the area because the water is really clean. This one has a level slope which adds a lot of value to it. So at 329,900, I think that’s a great deal. Sometimes people are buying these to tear the house down and build their dream lake home on it. I can’t say enough about Indiana lakes, they’re awesome. If you move to Fort Wayne and you have extra money to invest in a rental or another home, then I would consider looking into our lakes.
I hope this was helpful, or maybe insightful for what it looks like to buy a house for $350,000 in the Fort Wayne market. There’s a lot of options for you. If you are thinking about moving to Fort Wayne, please get ahold of me. You can call, text, or email me at any time. Whether you buy a $350,000 house in Fort Wayne, or in another part of the country, just know that it’s probably going to be a pretty safe investment for you. In the next five years through appreciation alone, your purchase could increase your net wealth by about $93,000, which is pretty fantastic when you think about it. The house is purchased because you need to live somewhere, but it also appreciates. There’s not a lot of asset classes where you actually have that ability to use something while it’s appreciating. That’s why I love houses!