Dowagiac City Council approves housing study

Published 9:07 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

DOWAGIAC — With the potential for new developments on the horizon, the Dowagiac City Council has decided to take a closer look at its housing market.

Monday evening, the Dowagiac City Council approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Kevin Anderson to enter into an agreement with LandUseUSA for a target market analysis and housing study. The proposed study will be a comprehensive analysis that will analyze people likely to move, the type of housing desired by people who are moving and the price points of housing that those who are moving are likely to support.

“We have been taking a long-term look at what housing could like in 20, 40 or 60 years,” Anderson said. “We have been looking at how we can make the housing stock here affordable and make it something that will last for another 100 years, the same way the current housing stock has. … We want to try to put some data and some expertise behind that question.”

Kevin Anderson

In a memo sent to the city council, Anderson said that over the past several years, there appears to have been a renewed interest in the Dowagiac housing market, seen in the high occupancy rates of downtown apartments, sales and remodels of homes by people working in Chicago, and young individuals and families purchasing and remodeling homes in various neighborhoods. Further, discussions Anderson has had with real estate professionals indicate that there may be a lack of housing to address empty-nesters that are inclined to downsize in the area, according to the memo.

Monday, Anderson said a housing market study would help the city better understand the current condition of the housing market in Dowagiac and will also help the city understand the potential for new housing investments in different areas of the city. He said a better understanding of both would help Dowagiac address the current housing issues in the city.

“This analysis can be the basis for seeking out appropriate housing investments and encourage private investment in housing,” Anderson said.

The budget for the study is $12,000, which will come from money set aside for economic development from the city’s general and utilities funds.

The resolution was unanimously approved by the Dowagiac City Council, with several council members voicing their support of the resolution at Monday’s meeting.

“I’m happy about this resolution,” said council member Patrick Bakeman. “This is so important, because everything is so data driven now. Though this is $12,000, if someone builds one project, it will pay for itself within a year.”