City Releases Study Assessing Bloomington’s Housing Needs

(BLOOMINGTON) – The City of Bloomington today released a study assessing the city’s housing needs and recommending strategies to provide safe, affordable housing for all residents.  Commissioned in August 2019,  the study analyzes housing in Bloomington and complements the high-level overview of housing in the 11-county Indiana Uplands region completed in 2019 by Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI). 

The Bloomington housing study includes impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which served to highlight certain trends and vulnerabilities. 

The study is available in its entirety at this link on the City’s Affordable Housing page, where the City’s affordable housing strategy and updates are posted.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton

“Housing is an essential piece of Bloomington’s long term viability and success, and a challenge for us like many American cities,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Our administration has prioritized the development of affordable housing for residents at all income levels as a way to boost quality of life and foster a more equitable, sustainable community.  This study helps clarify our needs, and shines a light on ways we can develop housing for the community we aspire to be.”  

Among its findings, the study determined that over 60% of renter households and nearly 30% of owner-occupied households in Bloomington are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing.  The study shows that the median sales price of a home in Bloomington rose from $167,000 in 2016 to $217,000 in 2019, a 30% increase in three years.  Bloomington’s population has grown at a consistent rate of 1.3-1.9% annually since 1980, the study found, and will need an additional 2,592 housing units of a variety of types (beyond student housing units) to accommodate projected population growth by 2030.

Finally, a landlord survey conducted as part of the study revealed a rental vacancy rate of just below 2%, significantly lower than the estimated vacancy rate of almost 9%.   

The study suggests potential strategic housing and neighborhood goals, including streamlining the development review and approval process, conserving existing housing stock as the most affordable and sustainable option, and leveraging new development opportunities such as those at the existing hospital site and alongside Switchyard Park.  Finally, the report proposes strategies for achieving the aforementioned goals, including community partnerships, creative financing options, and sustainable building practices.

A resource for policy makers, regional builders and developers, local employers, economic development organizations, and current and prospective residents, the study was developed by RDG Planning and Design through robust community outreach, demographic and economic analysis, and in partnership with a technical review committee comprising community stakeholders and City staff.