Fast-growing Fishers has an even faster-growing problem: a growing gap between wages and residential rents.
The Hamilton County suburb has recently added hundreds of high-paying tech jobs, burnishing a reputation as a desirable landing spot for skilled young workers. That’s not the problem.
The snag is that those positions have helped drive rents so high that they outpace wage increases for many of the city's middle-class jobs in government, teaching, hospitals and the trades. That higher cost of living is making it difficult for those workers to move near their jobs, which adds to their transportation expenses.
Of course, most residents in Fishers and elsewhere in Hamilton County work in Indianapolis and other counties, so they also have high commuting costs. While the government says housing and transportation expenses together shouldn't exceed 45 percent of income, Fishers residents spend an average of about 60 percent of their pay on those necessities, according to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based research firm.
“As a city you can lack affordable housing or public transit, but it is a very hard living arrangement if you lack both,” said HAND outreach coordinator Andrea Davis.