Austin Becoming Least Affordable City Outside California

The Texas capital, once one of the most affordable metro areas, is experiencing a housing affordability crisis as median prices soar and longtime residents face displacement.

2 minute read

December 1, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Austin Traffic

Philip Arno Photography / Shutterstock

Austin's burgeoning popularity is creating a crisis of affordability in the city's housing market, reports Edgar Sandoval. The Texas capital, which has seen explosive growth that shows no signs of stopping, "is on track to become by year’s end the least affordable major metro region for homebuyers outside of California," according to a Zillow forecast. As Sandoval writes, "With an average of 180 new residents moving to the city every day in 2020, housing inventory is very low, realtors said. Multiple offers, bidding wars and blocks-long lines outside open houses are commonplace."

The current median home price of $536,000 is almost $100,000 more than at the same time last year, and more than twice the median cost in 2011. Meanwhile, renters are feeling similar pressures, with an average apartment going for $1,600, a rise of 38 percent in the last ten years.

Previously one of the more affordable urban centers in the country, Austin now faces a housing crisis that is displacing longtime residents and pushing some into homelessness. The problem is so alarming that, earlier this year, the city hired a 'displacement officer' tasked with "preventing widespread gentrification even as cranes continue to dot the skyline and new structures climb ever higher." The office will receive $300 million over the next 13 years, which many say is not enough to address the growing crisis as more residents find themselves having to relocate to more remote parts of the city.

Saturday, November 27, 2021 in The New York Times

Large historic homes and white picket fences line a street.

The End of Single-Family Zoning in Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is the latest jurisdiction in the country to effectively end single-family zoning.

March 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Amtrak Acela Express train passing through Harrison station in Newark, New Jersey

‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford to Oversee Amtrak’s High-Speed Rail Efforts

Byford, who formerly ran NYC Transit and Transport for London, could bring renewed vigor to the agency’s plans to expand regional rail in the United States.

March 28, 2023 - StreetsBlog NYC

Buses in downtown Seattle on the dedicated 3rd Avenue bus lanes

Seattle Bus Lane Cameras Capture Over 100,000 Violations

An automated traffic enforcement pilot program caught drivers illegally using transit lanes more than 110,000 times in less than a year.

March 28, 2023 - Axios

View of Statue of Liberty with New York City skyline in background

Immigration Grows, Population Drops in Many U.S. Counties

International immigration to the country’s most populous areas tripled even as major metropolitan areas continued to lose population.

March 31 - The New York Times

Detroit Sports Arena

$616 Million in Development Incentives Approved for District Detroit

The “Transformational Brownfield” incentives approved by the Detroit City Council for the $1.5 billion District Detroit still require approval by the state.

March 31 - Detroit Free Press

A red sign reads, “Welcome to New Canaan.”

Affordable Housing Development Rejected for Lack of Third Staircase in Connecticut

The New Canaan Planning Commission rejected a development proposal, including 31 below-market-rate apartments, for lack of a third staircase, among other reasons, at a time when advocates are pushing to relax two-staircase requirements.

March 31 - Stamford Advocate

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.