Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (2023)

After Chris Gannon and Leyla Shams bought a house on E.M. Franklin Avenue, they sometimes walked just up the street to a densely forested three-acre lot of sprawling trees and lanky bamboo next to a small, spring-fed creek. The land was owned by Lee Daniel, the cinematographer best known for his work on the iconic Austin films Slacker and Dazed and Confused. Daniel had moved an old house from New Orleans onto the property and invited artists to camp there and show their art. “You’d go there and really you couldn’t tell what art was what they were showing, and what was a collection of pans that they had,” Gannon said.

The couple, both architects, soon started a family and began renovating the 1939 home they bought in 2015, but their lush, quiet corner of East Austin began to change. Neighbors and friends were priced out. Older bungalows were torn down and replaced by towering, multimillion-dollar houses. Daniel sold his lot in 2018, and a real-estate investor clear-cut it, bulldozing the heritage oaks.

Then, in the summer of 2020, a developer named Anmol Mehra showed up to a neighborhood association meeting and explained that he was thinking about buying the clear-cut land, as well as the lot next door, to build a mixed-income, multifamily development on the four-acre parcel. He wanted to know what the neighborhood thought. That simple question would spark a two-year conflict. “It caused such havoc,” Gannon said.

Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (1)
Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (2)

A University of Texas at Austin graduate, Mehra had spent most of his career in finance, working for Fidelity Investments in Boston. But he returned to Austin often, splitting time between the two cities. His parents had come to the United States from India, eventually landing in Houston. “As a child of immigrants, I’ve always wanted a place to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible,” he said. It bothered him that Austin was becoming increasingly unaffordable. He didn’t want to see a city with proximity to considerable centers of power—such as UT and the Capitol—open only to the wealthiest.

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Mehra started small, buying investment properties and renting them out to artists and others who might not otherwise be able to afford living in Austin. “My juices started flowing, thinking about ways to marry social good and financial benefit,” he said. Soon he became interested in development. He’d often heard residents oppose new housing because it would disrupt a neighborhood’s character. “To me that’s almost code for ‘we don’t want you here,’ which is really upsetting. I think we should be welcoming to more density and all types of people,” he said.

Under the E.M. Franklin property’s existing zoning, Mehra could subdivide the lot and build 22 single-family homes, which would likely sell for upwards of $1.5 million each. That didn’t appeal to him. The proposal he eventually presented to the neighborhood association included 143 units of housing—a mix of townhomes and condominiums—roughly 30 percent of which he said would be sold to families earning on average about 80 percent of Austin’s median annual income, $88,000 for a family of four. But to do that, he would need to ask the city to rezone the property.

Mehra’s plan proved divisive. Lauren Stanley and her husband, Lars—also both architects—lived, with their two teenage sons, across the street from Gannon and Shams. Stanley believed Mehra’s proposal would add far too much new housing in the middle of a block of mostly single-family homes. She said the street couldn’t handle the additional traffic and argued that the project would pave over the natural filtration system that protected the adjacent creek. “They need to find another property to do their wonderful, beautiful project on,” she told me. “There’s something called site appropriateness. We all believe density should happen in the city, but it’s not a matter of more is more. Sometimes more is less.”

Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (3)

There are not enough homes in Texas for everyone who needs one. As a result, prices have skyrocketed, climbing more than 45 percent statewide since the start of 2020, according to Zillow. That year, Freddie Mac estimated that the state needed half a million new homes to meet rising demand, including from the thousands of newcomers arriving in the state each week. This shortage affects homeowners and renters alike: in 2021, a Zillow report found that Dallas had the highest shortfall of single-family home permits issued compared with population growth; Houston and Austin weren’t far behind. And Texas is among the worst states in the country for low-income renters, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, with a shortage of more than 600,000 rental units.

These shortages have been felt most acutely in Austin. Since the pandemic began, home prices have increased faster in the capital than almost anywhere else in the country. In June, the median home price was $615,000, a 48 percent jump since March 2020. Median rents have increased by 40 percent during the same period, according to Redfin data.

Despite nearly everyone agreeing that Austin needs much more housing, no one can agree on where it should be built. That question should, in theory, be answered by a comprehensive land development code, which would dictate through zoning categories what can be built and where it can go. Austin last updated its code in 1984, when the city was home to fewer than half as many residents. The city has attempted to rewrite those regulations, but that effort failed earlier this year, after homeowners responded with fierce resistance and eventually a lawsuit.

That leaves neighborhood fights such as the one that played out on E.M. Franklin to determine Austin’s future—namely, whether it will provide enough housing for a growing, diverse population—as homeowners negotiate with developers over what they will permit in their backyards.

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Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (4)
Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (5)

The term “NIMBY”—an acronym that stands for “not in my backyard”—was initially used to refer to environmental advocates fighting to keep hazardous waste facilities away from residential neighborhoods. For much of the twentieth century, top-down urban planning bulldozed communities of color in order to build projects ostensibly defined as progress—a highway, a fairground, a landfill. “So there was a reaction to that, saying communities, particularly low-income and nonwhite communities, should have more of a say,” said Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, in a recent interview. But over the past several decades, that reasonable idea has been “weaponized by wealthy, white communities,” she said, to oppose any new development, including apartments and affordable housing.

The mechanism for that opposition is zoning. Most residential land in Austin—as in cities across the country—is set aside for single-family homes. A developer who wants to build multiple housing units on a single-family property has to request approval to do so from both the planning commission and city council. Across the state, property owners have fought zoning that would bring more homes to their neighborhoods. In August, officials in Boerne, outside of San Antonio, killed a 223-unit multifamily project after residents protested. In Arlington, homeowners have fought a zoning change that would allow more “missing middle” housing—anything between an apartment and a single-family home—to be built throughout the Tarrant County city.

Single-family homes exert more influence in Austin than in any other Texas city. In June, city staff looked at compatibility standards, which limit what can be built next to what, and found that Austin has some of the most restrictive rules in the country. To build a five-story apartment building, for example, a developer must locate it at least three hundred feet from any single-family home. In Dallas and San Antonio, that distance is fifty feet. In zoning-free Houston, it’s zero. The difference represents thousands of potential units of housing.

Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (6)

In Texas, if enough nearby property owners oppose a rezoning request, they can submit a petition that requires it to garner the support of three quarters of the city council. Mehra faced such opposition a few years ago, when he bought a duplex in the Blackland neighborhood of East Austin and proposed replacing it with five townhomes, one of which would be sold to a lower-income family at a below-market price. Neighbors opposed the project. After a long, contentious fight, the rezoning was narrowly approved by the council. Mehra wanted to avoid that same sort of costly delay on E.M. Franklin, so shortly after he bought the land, he and a colleague spent two days knocking on every door in the surrounding neighborhood, called J.J. Seabrook in honor of a prominent Black pastor and former president of Huston-Tillotson University.

Tucked just south of what was once Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, for most of its history J.J. Seabrook was home mostly to Black families, along with some warehouses and green space. Dianna Dean, who is Black, grew up in East Austin when the city was still effectively segregated by Interstate 35, and earned a nursing degree from Austin Community College. In 1995, she brought her mother and grandmother with her to look at a house that she was thinking about buying on E.M. Franklin. Together they walked around its half-acre lot and through the gable-roofed home, built in 1944. Her mother turned to her and said, “This is your house,” Dean recalls. “I said, ‘Mom, I really didn’t want this old house,’ and she said, ‘Don’t worry about the house, it’s the land.’”

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Dean moved in and got used to diving out of her bed onto the floor whenever a plane passed overhead, shaking her entire home. The street led to one of the airport’s main entrances, so during busy travel periods Dean charged for parking on her expansive front yard. But in 1999 the airport moved south of the city, and Dean could enjoy her newly quiet neighborhood, which thrummed with wildlife—foxes and birds and butterflies. “It was heaven,” she said.

When Mehra knocked on her door, she told him she worried he was going to destroy her beloved creek. She liked him, but she couldn’t support his project. “That’s a natural system back there. Once we tear it up or change it, we can’t get it back.”

Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (7)
Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (8)

In 2013, Liz Johnson moved with her husband and four kids to Austin from New York City, which they loved but could no longer afford. They bought a house on E.M. Franklin, three doors down from Dean. When the longtime president of the J.J. Seabrook Neighborhood Association stepped down in early 2021, Johnson agreed to lead the group. She had lost her job at St. Edward’s University during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and had time on her hands.

The neighborhood association had been talking with Mehra about the project for nearly a year, but Johnson felt the developer wasn’t taking its concerns seriously. “He made a lot of presentations and not a lot of changes,” she said. So Johnson sent out an anonymous questionnaire asking neighborhood residents to indicate their support or opposition to the proposed rezoning. Among the nearly eighty responses, opinion was split: 47 percent supported the rezoning, while 53 percent opposed it. Opponents of the project insisted it was too big for the location. It would “open the floodgates for a wholesale leveling and multifamily redevelopment of the neighborhood,” one resident wrote. Another insisted: “Great project, wrong location.”

From their backyard, which overlooked Mehra’s vacant lot, Matthew and Sarah Welch saw things differently. Matthew had grown up in Austin, splitting time between his mother’s house in the city and his father’s in the rolling countryside to the west, where over the years he watched trees felled and earth covered in concrete for upscale housing developments. “So when Anmol came along and said, actually, I want to do more density, I want to make it walkable, I want to make it accessible to a range of incomes, it was just music to my ears,” he said.

The Welches live in a five-acre community called Franklin Grove, just to the south of Mehra’s property. Its builder originally sought, a decade ago, to erect a denser development of smaller single-family homes. The company met with the neighborhood association, just as Mehra did, but abandoned its plans after nearby homeowners said they would fight the necessary zoning change. Instead, the company built 28 single-family homes—25 percent fewer than it initially planned. (Matthew works for Franklin Grove’s builder, as its general counsel.) When Matthew and Sarah helped conduct a survey of Franklin Grove homeowners, they say, support for Mehra’s proposal was nearly unanimous.

As the months wore on, the divide among neighbors grew tense. Folks who used to routinely say hello wouldn’t make eye contact when they passed each other on the street, Gannon said. Confusing to Gannon and Shams was that the neighborhood association seemed unified in its commitment to affordability, diversity, and the environment—having sent a letter to Mehra stressing as much—but residents had radically different ideas about how to ensure those values. “To us, it’s like, the only way to achieve that is with density,” Shams said. Many neighbors wanted Mehra to build fewer units on the land, preserving some of its wild character, but still wanted those units to be sold at lower prices. “The things that they were proposing were magical thinking.”

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Across the street, Stanley believed her neighbors were dismissive of her concerns. She doesn’t see herself as a NIMBY, but she was protective of what the neighborhood had already lost. “I feel like there’s a little bit of respect that’s not there for people who have been there longer,” she said. “You’re pretty much scrubbing the history of Austin and Austin residents if you just let this train just full-steam ahead.”

Why Bringing More Affordable Housing to Austin Is a Block-by-Block Battle (9)

In February, thirteen homeowners on E.M. Franklin—including Johnson—submitted a petition to the city opposing Mehra’s zoning change. “In a time when we face grid deficiencies, a taxed city infrastructure, and climate change, we should be taking the need for community resilience extremely seriously,” they wrote. They would support a “moderate upzoning” that “provides housing that complements the existing neighborhood fabric.”

Homeowners turned out en masse when the case was heard before the planning commission in April. Many insisted that the neighborhood was already doing its part to provide affordable housing, citing the more than one thousand units already in the works along Manor Road, on the northern edge of J.J. Seabrook. Indeed, East Austin has seen the lion’s share of new housing projects in the city. In part, this is because homeowners in West and Central Austin have so effectively resisted anything but single-family housing that many developers don’t even try to build in those areas anymore. And even today, land remains cheaper in East Austin after decades of segregation and racist public policy that depressed property values.

“The zoning system is rigged,” said Leah Bojo, the director of land use and entitlements at the Drenner Group, an Austin law firm that represented Mehra’s rezoning request. “People think it’s rigged toward developers, but I actually think it’s rigged toward whoever lives really close to the site that’s being rezoned or redeveloped, which is often single-family homeowners . .. Those folks have more rights, both politically and legally, to stop or change the request.”

Yet in July, the Austin City Council approved the rezoning in a 10–0 vote. Even though Mehra’s rezoning was approved, the paradigm remains unchanged: his request likely succeeded only because he had the support of the Franklin Grove homeowners, Bojo said.

Without comprehensive land use reform, “every zoning case is now a fight. Every development is a fight,” said Greg Anderson, the director of community affairs for Austin Habitat for Humanity and a member of the city’s planning commission. Rather than asking the city council to spend hours weighing in on every rezoning case—Mehra’s project will provide only 143 units of housing in a city that needs more than 135,000 new homes—the process should be handled by city staff, Anderson said, who can accelerate projects that meet the city’s larger priorities and goals.

A new land-development code would address other issues as well. Austin’s permitting process is notoriously slow, which both drives up the cost of development and throttles the housing supply. Austin’s complicated land development code is also often contradictory, said a land development consultant who didn’t want to be named because of his relationships with city staff. “You just can’t pull up a zoning map and know exactly what you’re allowed to do on the site,” he said. “Most cities are easier to develop in because their code is simpler.” In Austin, it can take upwards of a year to get a site plan approved for a multifamily development, while other Texas cities manage the same task in three to four months, he said.

It also costs more to build housing in Austin than in any other Texas city. In July, a report from the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin and the Austin Board of Realtors found that fees for multifamily residential development are significantly higher in Austin than any other city in Texas. Those fees are passed along to homebuyers, comprising as much as 20 percent of a mortgage for a family earning the city’s median income, the report found.

The day after the rezoning passed, Mehra was already sizing up his next hurdles: getting a site plan approved and then securing construction permits, which could require another two years. In the best-case scenario, he said, residents will move into the new housing in early 2025.

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As for life back on E.M. Franklin, Gannon and Shams are hopeful that the conflict will blow over. “As soon as it’s built and people are there, they become our new neighbors,” Gannon said. “We meet them, we like them, we don’t like them, whatever. It’s not about the project anymore. It’s about the community.”

Despite her opposition to the project, Dean feels the same way. “I like to see the babies walking up and down the street, people walking their dogs,” she said. She misses her trees and foxes, but this new vitality energizes her. She’s made friends with some of the people who bought homes in Franklin Grove. “People still need somewhere to live. We have to grow, and we have to be resilient. Let’s go ahead and build out, and get it done, and get to living.”

FAQs

Why is there a housing crisis in Austin? ›

As population growth has outpaced housing development, the subsequent rise in property value has created higher housing costs that impede the ability for households to accrue social safety net savings and meet basic needs such as food, shelter, and medical care.

How does affordable housing work in Austin? ›

This federally supported program is run by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. Low-income families who receive a voucher pay between 30 and 40 percent of their income toward rent, and the federal government pays the rest.

Is Austin's housing bubble bursting soon? ›

One Texas real estate data analytics firm predicts it could happen in three years. AUSTIN, Texas — As Austin's median home price hit $640,000 in April, a Texas data analytics firm is predicting Austin's housing bubble will pop in three years.

Why are Austin home prices so high? ›

The Austin real estate market stands out due to the outperformance of the local tech industry, shift to remote work, and relative affordability. Even though home prices increased by more than 19% (May 2021 vs May 2022), homes in Austin are still less than in other major metros.

Are Austin homes overpriced? ›

A recent study by Florida Atlantic University ranked Austin as the second-most overvalued housing market in the country.

Is it worth buying a house in Austin in 2022? ›

There are many great reasons to buy a house in Austin. It's known for its great music scene and diverse culture. Austin is also a great place to live for its job market with several large Silicon Valley companies relocating and expanding their operations in the area.

Will the housing market crash in 2023 Austin? ›

Austin Housing Market Forecast 2022 & 2023

Austin will remain a seller's market despite nationwide inflation and rising interest rates. The prices continue to rise across Austin MSA.

What salary do you need to live in Austin 2022? ›

The Census Bureau reports that the average salary for Austin residents is $75,752. However, to stick to the rule of spending only 30% on your monthly income on rent, you will need an income of $60,760 to live comfortably in a one bedroom apartment.

Where is the most affordable place to live in Austin? ›

Safe, Affordable Neighborhoods in Austin
  • Allandale.
  • Garrison Park.
  • Hyde Park.
  • North University.
  • Windsor Hills.
20 Jul 2022

What is a livable salary in Austin Texas? ›

Living Wage Calculation for Austin County, Texas
1 ADULT2 ADULTS (BOTH WORKING)
0 Children2 Children
Living Wage$15.08$21.76
Poverty Wage$6.19$6.37
Minimum Wage$7.25$7.25

Will house prices go down in Austin? ›

According to Realtor.com, Austin's median home list price dropped 10.3% between June and September. AUSTIN, Texas — Home prices in the Austin metro area are dropping more than in any other city in the country, according to a new report from Realtor.com.

Will the housing market crash in 2022 in Texas? ›

The rapid decline in housing sales has revealed how important low mortgage rates are to the latest housing frenzy. According to TRERC's Data Relevance Program, September sales were down 15.5 percent from a year earlier. At the current rate, year-end 2022 sales will likely fall short of 2021.

Is Austin unaffordable? ›

Austin ranks among unaffordable cities for the middle class, plus more top stories. Austin ranks 18th among least affordable markets for middle-class buyers.

What part of Austin is growing the fastest? ›

Population growth in two Austin suburbs is exploding. Estimates released Thursday, May 26 by the U.S. Census Bureau rank Georgetown and Leander Nos. 1 and 2, respectively for population growth from July 2020 to July 2021.

Is Austin housing cooling? ›

As Austin housing market cools, inflated asking prices are disappearing, new survey shows. As rising mortgage interest rates and a return to more normal conditions continue to cool Austin's housing market, it seems area sellers are starting to adjust their often inflated asking prices for their homes.

Is Austin still a hot housing market? ›

The Austin housing market is somewhat competitive. Homes in Austin receive 2 offers on average and sell in around. The average sale price of a home in Austin was $563K last month, up 2.5% since last year. The average sale price per square foot in Austin is $332, up 3.6% since last year.…

What is a comfortable salary in Austin? ›

In Austin, the study found that a single adult would need to be making $55,186 after taxes. If you were in a couple and only 1 adult worked, you would need to make $87,314. The income increases per child and per partner situation.

Is Austin becoming too expensive? ›

According to Dwellsy, a rental company, among the largest U.S. cities, Austin, Texas, experienced the sharpest increase in rent, with rental prices doubling since this time last year. The rental rate in Austin has seen an 86.3% increase since August 2021. Median rent in Austin in August 2022 was $2,930 per month.

Is Austin getting gentrified? ›

Austin, the capital city of Texas, is facing redevelopment pressures and rising housing costs, resulting in the displacement of vulnerable residents, including low-income renters, low-income families with children, and persons of color, especially African American and Latinx residents.

Why are people moving to Austin? ›

The ability to find good-paying jobs is one of the biggest reasons people flock to Austin. The city is a thriving hub of tech startups and big-name tech companies, so much so that it has earned the nickname “Silicon Hills.” Consider the following tech facts about the city: SXSW tech festival and conference.

Is it better to rent or buy a house in Texas 2022? ›

If you are financially ready to buy a home the 2022 housing market is still a good time to buy. Renting can be a good strategy if you are planning to move in less than 5 years, or you would like to continue to save while waiting for the market to stabilize.

Will the housing market crash in 2023 or 2024? ›

The economists anticipate the median home price will fall to $364,000, a decline of 5.5% from this year. They predict prices will rebound and rise again in 2024, with the median price ticking up 3.3% to 376,000 by the end of 2024.

Will the housing market crash in 2022 or just dip? ›

Further rate rises are expected throughout 2022, which could seriously dampen the housing market because it means mortgage repayments will increase. The cost of living crisis is likely to be the biggest cause of a slowdown in the housing market.

Will the property market crash in 2023? ›

Independent economic research consultancy Capital Economics has warned rising interest rates could trigger house prices to go into reverse, suggesting they'll drop by around 5% in 2023 and 2024. While they predict house prices will drop in 2023, they've also suggested price growth will remain strong in 2022.

Are people moving out of Austin? ›

“The latest migration report from Rent.com shows Austin is the fourth leading city in the U.S. when it comes to outward migration, or people moving out of the city. The top three cities for outward migration were Charlotte, North Carolina; St. Louis; and Chicago,” writes Eubank.

What is upper class income in Austin? ›

As of Nov 2, 2022, the average annual pay for the Upper Class jobs category in Austin is $50,569 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $24.31 an hour. This is the equivalent of $972/week or $4,214/month.

What is considered middle class in Austin Texas? ›

The website based its findings on data from a housing affordability report published in 2021 by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. For the purposes of its study, 24/7 Wall St. defines middle-class households as those earning $45,000 to $74,999 a year.

What is the wealthiest part of Austin? ›

Steiner Ranch is the wealthiest ZIP code in the Austin metro area, according to a recent study. If you want to find where the richest people in the Austin area live, zip on over to Steiner Ranch in West Austin.

What is the wealthiest area in Austin? ›

Check Out The Top 10 Most Expensive Neighborhoods To Live In Austin:
  1. Tarrytown. With a median home price of $3,002,646 and a median rent of $1,708, Tarrytown is the most expensive neighborhood on our list. ...
  2. Downtown. ...
  3. Zilker. ...
  4. Bouldin Creek. ...
  5. Highland Park West / Balcones. ...
  6. Old West Austin. ...
  7. Highland Hills. ...
  8. Deep Eddy.

Which Austin suburb has lowest property taxes? ›

For reference, here are some of tax rates for areas near Austin, Texas:
  • Pflugerville: 2.38%
  • Sunset Valley: 1.70%
  • Manor: 2.9%
  • Round Rock: 2.24%
  • San Marcos: 2.2%
  • Dripping Springs: 2.0%
24 Oct 2022

Is it cheaper to live in Dallas or Austin? ›

Compared to other cities of its size, Dallas is relatively inexpensive, with a cost of living below the national average. On the other hand, Austin is considerably more expensive, topping the cost of living in Dallas by more than 17%. And, compared to the national average, Austin is 30% more expensive.

Is Seattle more expensive than Austin? ›

You would need around 7,026.38$ in Seattle, WA to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,700.00$ in Austin, TX (assuming you rent in both cities).
...
Cost of Living Comparison Between Austin, TX and Seattle, WA.
CityCost of Living Index
Seattle, WA90.78
Austin, TX68.28
New York, NY100
Prague51.54
1 more row

What is the best time to buy house in Austin? ›

Late spring and summer tend to be the most popular times of year for buying and selling Austin real estate for numerous reasons, including being a more optimal time for families with children to move, as it falls outside of the school year. But people don't stop moving in the fall and winter.

Will rent go down in 2023 Texas? ›

Expect above-average rent price gains in 2023

Year-over-year rental price growth will rise from 5.8%, as of June 2022, to 8.4% as of May 2023, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas forecast that uses data from the federal government's consumer price index.

How much over asking price are houses going for in Austin? ›

Austin's sale-to-list price ratio was 105.1% in 2021, according to a Porch.com study. That's higher than all but four cities, including Buffalo and Rochester, New York, and Californian metros San Jose and San Francisco, which topped the list.

Is the Texas housing market going to crash? ›

Even though mortgage rates are skyrocketing, the housing market is not going to crash any time soon. The result will be a much slower rate of appreciation than in the past two years.

Who is predicting a housing market crash in 2022? ›

And Fannie Mae predicts home sales to drop 16.2% by the end of 2022.

Will prices of homes drop in 2024? ›

A new report from Moody's Analytics forecasts that — given increased borrowing costs, elevated inflation, and a softening labour market — home prices will see a peak-to-trough decline of about 10% by early 2024.

Is Austin or New York more expensive? ›

To be sure, overall, it's still more expensive to live in NYC than Austin: According to Sperling's Best Places, New York is 56.9% more expensive than Austin, and in general New York housing costs are 84.4% more expensive.

Is Austin cheaper than California? ›

Cost of Living Comparison Between Austin, TX and Los Angeles, CA. You would need around 6,783.08$ in Los Angeles, CA to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,700.00$ in Austin, TX (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living ...

What is the most unaffordable city in the US? ›

1. Miami
  • Median household income: $44,581.
  • Median home price: $610,000.
  • Share of income: 87.39%
16 Aug 2022

What percentage of Austin is white? ›

Table
Population
Persons 65 years and over, percent 9.4%
Female persons, percent 49.2%
Race and Hispanic Origin
White alone, percent 69.4%
54 more rows

What percentage of Austin is Mexican? ›

Austin's population is diverse and continues to attract talent from around the world. Among metro area 2021 residents over the age of one year, 7.6% moved into the area within the preceding year. The Hispanic or Latino population makes up 32% of the metro's population and grew 35% between 2010 and 2020.

Is it a good time to buy a house in Austin 2022? ›

According to the Austin Board of REALTORS® June and Mid-Year 2022 Central Texas Housing Market Report, a triple-digit gain in active listings year over year pushed housing inventory levels over 2 months. The market is moving towards pre-pandemic sales activity and inventory.

Is Austin housing a bubble? ›

Austin is arguably in the largest housing bubble in America based on the fundamental data,” said Reventure Consulting CEO Nicholas Gerli.

How Long Will Austin housing bubble last? ›

One Texas real estate data analytics firm predicts it could happen in three years. AUSTIN, Texas — As Austin's median home price hit $640,000 in April, a Texas data analytics firm is predicting Austin's housing bubble will pop in three years.

Does Austin pay more than Houston? ›

Employers in Austin, TX typically pay -4.0% less than employers in Houston, TX. The same type of job in the same type of company in Austin, TX will typically pay $57,571.

Is 50k enough to live in Austin? ›

What is the minimum salary needed for a family to live in Austin, Texas? Assuming family means two adults and two kids… People can scrape by with a combined income of $50k or so, but to live comfortably, you've got to be making at least $80k+ combined.

Is Austin cheaper than Houston? ›

Cost of Living Comparison Between Houston, TX and Austin, TX

You would need around 5,690.27$ in Austin, TX to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,100.00$ in Houston, TX (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living.

Why is Austin so unaffordable? ›

Increasing Population

In fact, it is currently the fastest-growing city in the United States with the population inflating from 656,600 in 2000 to over 1,000,000 in 2022 and more than 180 new people moving to the city every day in 2020.

Is Austin becoming unaffordable? ›

Austin's unaffordability problem: Pay hasn't kept up with the rising cost of housing. Austin's demographer says income has gone up by 44% in the last 10 years. However, rent and housing prices are rising at a much faster rate.

Is Austin the new SF? ›

Attracting so many tech companies and workers from California isn't going to transform the city into another San Francisco—for both the better and worse.

What Year Will Austin reach a population of 1 million? ›

Nearly 50% Growth

Looking at it from another angle, the Austin area essentially would tack on the current Honolulu, HI, metro area — with close to 1 million residents — between now and 2030. The Austin area crossed the 2 million line for population in mid-2015, according to Robinson's estimates.

What is causing homelessness in Austin? ›

Rents in Austin have increased 40% in the past year — more than any other metro area in the country and nearly three times the national average — according to Redfin data. As a result, people are falling into homelessness at a much faster rate than the city can house them.

Why is Austin seeing an influx of homelessness in the city? ›

They are the homeless, surrounded by myths, misunderstanding, and prejudice. Two trends seem to be responsible for the rise in homelessness in Austin: A shortage of affordable rental housing; and an increase in poverty. But there are other factors as well.

Does Austin have a housing shortage? ›

From 2021 to 2035, the state will need 653,285 new units, representing a 1.6% change per year. Meeting the demands of the ongoing housing shortage in Austin has been difficult for multifamily developers, as there are numerous hurdles slowing residential development.

Will house prices in Austin come down? ›

According to Realtor.com, Austin's median home list price dropped 10.3% between June and September. AUSTIN, Texas — Home prices in the Austin metro area are dropping more than in any other city in the country, according to a new report from Realtor.com.

Why are so many people moving to Austin? ›

The ability to find good-paying jobs is one of the biggest reasons people flock to Austin. The city is a thriving hub of tech startups and big-name tech companies, so much so that it has earned the nickname “Silicon Hills.” Consider the following tech facts about the city: SXSW tech festival and conference.

Why are so many streamers moving to Austin? ›

Several streamers choose to live in Austin, TX for the same reasons they live in Texas the state; no state income tax and a relatively low cost of living. However, not only will living in Austin, TX save you money, it also continues to attract big tech companies like Apple and Google.

What city has the highest homeless population in Texas? ›

But when measuring the unsheltered count, Austin stands apart from the rest:
  • Austin – 63 percent of total population, 163 per capita.
  • Houston – 49 percent of total population, 65 per capita.
  • San Antonio – 43 percent of total population, 85 per capita.
  • Fort Worth – 39 percent of total population, 53 per capita.
29 Apr 2021

What is the most homeless city in America? ›

CityNo of homeless people
New York City (NY)78,604
Los Angeles, City & County (CA)56,257
Seattle with King County (WA)11,199
San Jose & Santa Clara (CA)9.706
6 more rows

Is it better to rent or buy a house in Austin? ›

It's cheaper to rent than purchase a home in Austin, according to a new report by real estate database company ATTOM.

Will house prices go down in Texas 2023? ›

While Texas home prices are not predicted to increase as quickly or as sharply as they did in 2021, buyer demand remains robust and is unlikely to diminish. As Bidding wars are typical, your home is likely to attract a large number of buyers.

Is buying a house in Austin a good investment? ›

The Texas city tops the list as the best place to invest in real estate in 2022. Leading online commercial real estate investing marketplace CrowdStreet recently unveiled its 2022 list of best places to invest in real estate.

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