Backyard Knowledge in the Northwest Indiana Market

37 Replies

Hello BP crowd,

     I am fairly new to Bigger Pockets but not to real estate. I keep my ear to the ground here in Northwest Indiana and I want to offer a networking/knowledge source here in my back yard. I wanted to share just a couple of things that I think are going to shake up the real estate market here & why I believe so many investors are flocking to the area. I would love to connect with anyone that wants to discuss real estate in further detail. 

     1st I want to lead by saying I believe the main reason investors are pouring into Northwest Indiana is the diversity. In times of uncertainty the coastal markets can be very risky. A lot of people think steel mills when they hear NWI but the truth of the matter is that we are not tied to any 1 specific industry. We have a very robust & ever evolving commercial/agricultural/real estate market. 

     With ever increasing taxes & cost of living rising in Chicagoland more & more homeowners & renters desire to live here in the Northwest Indiana area and commute to their places of employment in the Windy City. With very high occupancy rates and an influx of investment the sale prices & rents have been rising exponentially over the last 6 months to a year. For example the rent on a 3 bedroom in Hammond,IN could be found between $8-900 per month less than a year ago. Currently you cannot find the same for any less than $1500. I could go on all day about the market here but I want to leave you with a couple big changes happening.

3. The town of Griffith is succeeding from Calumet Township as they are well over 10x the income for the township. It is now a question of whether they will be annexed by the city of St. John or Schererville which has and will likely continue to have a huge positive impact on the real estate market there.

2. The $300 million dollar land based casino coming to Gary, IN broke ground in early January this year and is scheduled to be open for business on New Years Eve this year. This will bring a huge influx of foot traffic and likely increase of occupancy rates and & property values to an area that had been since long forgotten by commercial investors. The property values here are still extremely low and it may be a good area to consider a buy-&-hold strategy. There is another company appearing before the council regularly for an attempt to get a permit for a $300 Million dollar housing complex. There is also a company that current owns over 800 units (and looking to acquire more) that is considering a complete rehab. 

1. The Double-Track!

     Indiana has already been awarded over $200 Million in Federal funding to add a second rail line on the South Shore which runs from Chicago all the way to Michigan. Chicago is on board as well. This will entail an enormous amount of construction, (moved roads & stations) as well as a huge increase of foot traffic to the NWI region. With trains set to run every 15 min or so the double track will drastically reduce the average trip/delay times to Chicago from the current 1 hr & 40 min. Commercial & residential investors alike have already begun adding businesses and upscale apartments in anticipation. New information about the diagrams and construction have just been released and it is definitely not too late to get your piece of the action. The Double-Track project is set to break ground in June of next year with a the first trains running in 2023. The projects real estate acquisitions have just begun! The project itself is still accepting major investors as well. 

@Shawn Long

Hello Shawn

Have properties in Hammond and Gary. Looking forward to hearing from you on their potential as well as other parts of NWI!

@Vincent Owyong

Seems like the post is generating a lot of interest. I plan on doing some more in depth updates and other things as well. And you are right I guess I should share the bad also and I will. Love all the support from everyone here at BP

UPDATE: Griffith has until June 30th, 2020 to decide if they will "voluntarily join" St. John or North township. Which will become final on Jan 1st, 2022.If no decision is made Griffith will automatically default to North Township. Its hard to say which way it will go. Griffith previously offered St John a 1M dowry with little success. It is also worth noting that Griffith currently gets its water from Lake Michigan as does North Township. St. John has a community well. I will make a new forum after the 1st with the next update

Does anyone have any experience with appealing property taxes in the area? I am seeing some big increases on Hammond property taxes, and it is becoming a needle mover in regards to me making offers. Has anyone had any experience in this regard?

@Tim Kavanaugh

From what I understand only the homeowner has the right to appeal it. I have never heard of or seen an appeal be successful. And unfortunately I see this trend continuing and/or rising even more in the future. Cities & towns around the United States are considering an increase in property taxes to make up for budget deficits as a result of the pandemic. Nashville has thrown out the number of 32%! I believe the governor said it would be at least upwards of 20%. Dallas, Texas is planning on an 8% increase and so and so forth. Unfortunately I believe this train isn't slowing down any time soon.

I don't disagree on the trend. However there are lawyers offering tax appeal services in the area, and some of their websites say for Investors. So I cant imagine they are all unsuccessful/ only for homeowners.

@Tim Kavanaugh

To be more specific:

I should have said Taxpayer instead of homeowner. I believe you may have to pay taxes in that county and possibly in that specific city.

If my memory serves me correctly the burden of proof is still on the home owner.

Technically I believe it is the assessment that is actually being appealed.

I will ask around and let you know what I come up with

@Shawn Long, what are the current tax rates of non-owner occupied homes with this tax increase? I wonder if its similar to Indianapolis' 1-2-3 property tax rule.

As always, thanks for the valuable insight!

@Tucker Raney

It seems your are correct. When at the NICTD meetings I never really heard them draw a distinction. I always thought they were technically the same project. I thought they were just approving different sections of the Double Track. Kudos to you.