News

[May 20, 2016]
Students in Professor Wegmann's Real Estate Finance course published their report Strategies to Help Homeowners Finance ADUs in Austin. The report addresses four questions: What have been some promising precedents from other cities? What are some promising institutional partnerships and already existing financing tools that could be used to help more Austin homeowners build ADUs? What is the potential for one particular, ambitious type of funding mechanism—a revolving loan fund—that could be initiated by a partnership led by the City of Austin?

[January 27, 2016]
CRP/MPAff masters student Megan Randall presented her recent report Redefining Revitalization: An Analysis of Community Revitalization in Texas' Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program to the Texas Department of Housing and Urban Affairs' QAP Roundtable. The report can be downloaded here or on our publications page.

[October 15, 2015]
Housing Lab faculty member Elizabeth Mueller was featured in an interview as part of the Series "Austin's Eastern Frontier," for a segment called "What's Manor's Growth Means for the Rest of Us."

[June 29, 2015]
We have now posted recent CRP grad Megan Shannon's masters' report on The Impacts of Regulatory Delay on Housing Affordability and Quality in Austin for download on our publications page. Here is summary of her key findings:

In Austin there has been much debate among the planning & development community around the causes of and solutions to some of Austin’s most pressing regulatory and development review challenges. Many of these challenges will likely be addressed in the code rewrite process over the next several years. However in the interim, there is a specific action the city can take without amending the code that will greatly impact the cost and quality of housing in Austin: enforcing existing development review timelines.

This paper examines the costs of delays during the regulatory process for both developers and the community. The paper uses the city’s development process tracking data and quantifies the unexpected development costs caused by approximately 3.5 months of delays during the city’s site plan review process. These added costs increase the price of housing to consumers and reduce the quality of this housing stock throughout the city.
 
Major findings from this work found that if regulatory delays are eliminated and developers receive approvals for multifamily site plans within the code mandated 120 day cycle, renters could see relief of up to 4-5% on their rent over-time, or an average of $65 per month or $780 annually in Central Austin. These declines would be the result of both lower project costs and increased supply. These findings are based on modeling typical project costs and returns, informed by extensive interviews with 14 Austin-area residential developers regarding the impact of delays on their projects.

[June 17, 2015]
The Urban Institute published a feature story this week, "Stepping Up: How Cities are Working to Keep America's Poorest Families Housed." The story contrasts the experiences of Austin/Travis County and Boston/Suffolk County. The article accompanies their release of data on the housing affordability gap for extremely low income renters in 2013. Among highlights: only 28 adequate and affordable housing units are available for every 100 extremely low income households nationally. WIthout housing assistance, this number would fall to 5 per 100 ELI households.  For Austin's Travis County, the number is only 15--well below the national average. In contrast, for Boston's Suffolk County, the number is almost 51. The difference lies in the strong network of experienced developers and supportive state and local programs found in Boston, compared to Austin's small and comparatively weak affordable housing development system, limited local resources and weak or arguably obstructionist state role.