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Dan Spitale

Dan Spitale

As a Realtor for over 30 years, one of the fastest-selling housing markets these days is Hammond. Several factors come into play for the recent uptick in the turnover time that homes are on the market. Hammond’s vicinity to Chicago, unique parks and several types of recreational opportunities, such as its bike trail system and Indiana’s lower property taxes, all are huge factors in Hammond’s booming real estate market.

The diversity of Hammond’s people and housing stock, as well as the abundance of affordable housing, make Hammond attractive for young families. Two major factors that have played a role in this rebirth of the city’s housing market are Hammond’s Home Bound and College Bound programs. Both programs are offered through Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. and the Hammond City Council’s creative use of gaming dollars, to not only attract young families, but also retain the millennial generation in the city. More and more homes in Hammond have been listed on the market for a day or two before being sold.

As a Realtor as well as a Hammond councilman, I see the benefit of Homebound on almost a daily basis. Homebound is a program where young first-time homebuyers can get up to $2,500 to purchase their first home. With the mayor as well as the council allocating $100,00 a year to the program, in some cases over 40 families a year have had the opportunity to take advantage of this great first-time homebuyers program. Since its inception, hundreds of first time homebuyers have been given the opportunity to buy their first home, in our city.

Along with the nationally recognized College Bound program. A program that allows young families who buy homes in Hammond to have their child’s college tuition paid if they maintain a certain grade point average, and do 40 hours of community service. Hammond is once again one of the hottest destinations in the real estate market today. The market for Hammond homes has become so attractive that in several cases houses have sold for higher than the sellers' asking price.

As a steelworker for over 30 years, and a lifelong Hammond resident, I also decided to get into the real estate business while working in the mills. I’ve always prided myself with being able to work with not only young people, but also young families who might have the opportunity to buy their first homes. Every day I run across people who say to me they’d love to buy a home but for one reason or another they think they can’t. I pride myself in working with them and the several lenders I work with to find creative ways to make that dream a reality.

As a city councilman, it’s extra rewarding to know because of the mayor, as well as the City Council’s wise use of gaming dollars, for programs such as Homebound and College Bound. Hammond is not only one of the hottest real estate markets in the region, but also on the leading edge of great programs. With great parks, bike and walking trails, as well as green spaces, that attract the next generation, the millennial generation, Hammond’s future is bright.

Dan Spitale is a real estate agent and an at-large member of the Hammond City Council. The opinions are the writer's.

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.