Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

Rents are slowly getting more expensive across the nation, but a new report finds that they’re rising even faster for the lowest-priced properties.

Legal notices and lease copies blanketed a plush beige couch in a North Austin apartment. Rebekah Jara rummaged through the papers. Lawyers had urged her and her fiancé, Juan Aranda, to keep copies of everything.

More letters would come. But, until then, Aranda and Jara were struggling to get repairs done on their apartment on Sam Rayburn Drive in Austin’s Rundberg area.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: City of Austin documents show that employees in the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department have made numerous complaints involving inappropriate behavior, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and retaliation over the past five years. Many of those complaints revolve around Steve Ritchie, director of construction and development, and former Director Betsy Spencer’s alleged favoritism toward Ritchie.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

City leaders are working to develop Austin’s first-ever housing plan. So, why does the city need one?

Shrinking AISD Enrollment Could Be New Normal

Jan 13, 2016
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: Trustees for the Austin Independent School District are asking district staff to let them know what variables they have control over after hearing grim student enrollment projections.

At Monday’s workshop meeting, board members heard the results of an annual demographics report conducted by Davis Demographics & Planning Inc. The yearly report estimated that AISD’s enrollment will drop to 77,628 students by 2025, a reduction of 6,140 from AISD’s total 2015 enrollment. The decline is greater than was previously predicted.

Brad Flickinger/flickr

Federal housing officials were in Austin Tuesday — not to give direction,  but to learn from the local housing authority's successes in closing the digital divide. The federal government is taking a model for digital inclusion from Austin to other cities around the country.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

There are thousands of rental properties in Austin – after all, most people who live in Austin rent – and of those thousands, there are more than two dozen that have racked up 300 code violations from the City of Austin. A new study provides suggestions on how to handle the so-called “repeat offenders.”

The study’s author argues that the city could be focusing more on these violations, rather than dedicating more Code Compliance resources towards the policing of short-term rentals.


Home prices in Austin hit another record last month.

The numbers come as new Census data confirms Austin has continued its explosive growth in recent years.

The Austin Board of Realtors says the median home price was up 14 percent in April 2015, compared to the same month last year, to $274,000. The number of homes sold also hit a record for the month of April.

To Buy A House, You Might Need an English Major

May 20, 2015

A Houston homeowner is holding an essay contest to sell his historic bungalow for $150. There’s a catch, however: The house, valued at $400,000, will go to the person with the best 200-word essay. The owner hopes to get 3,000 applications by mid-June to part with the house at market value.

Jon Shapley/KUT News

If you’re a homeowner, start checking your mail. You should receive the most recent appraisal of your home value from Travis Central Appraisal District by the end of the week.

And expect those values to have gone up.

The average home value in the county increased by 11 percent in 2015, to $355,312 from $320,032 last year. Taxable values rose about nine percent.


Austin home values are going up much faster than wages, according to a new report. But experts say it likely won’t continue that way for long.

If you own a home in the Austin-Rock Rock area, it's probably worth a lot more now than it was two years ago: Median home prices here have gone up by almost 23 percent over the last two years, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm based in California. 

Job Growth Spurs Temporary Housing Market in Houston

Mar 10, 2015
Courtesy of WaterWalk

Approximately 50,000 people relocate to Houston every year, creating a luxury-housing boom.

Imagine waking up in your luxury apartment. There’s a knock at the door – in wheels some scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, a gourmet breakfast delivered. Every morning. And your company’s paying for all of it. That could be the reality for some Houston transplants as early as June, if David Redfern has his way. He’s the president of Waterwalk.

National Association of Realtors

Austin is the best city in the United States for aspiring homebuyers between 20 and 34 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). It said even though housing prices in Austin have shot up in the last few years, the city's median home value of $252,520 is still about half of what it is in Boston and a third of what it is in San Francisco.

"Which is the reason why we still place Austin as reasonably affordable," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says. "This is where the millennial generations are moving into and [where] the job opportunities are available."


The rental market in Austin is hot. The Austin Board of Realtors says more units are being leased than last year and the prices are higher.

But the City of Austin says it can be hard for people who use housing vouchers to find a place to live. Now, some city commissions are considering adding “source of income” discrimination [PDF] to a list of banned landlord behavior.

A study found fewer than 10 percent of rental units in Austin currently accept vouchers – a move that critics say contributes to a concentration of poverty in the northern and eastern parts of the city.


The deadline to file a protest regarding your property tax appraisal is fast approaching – Monday, June 2.

Many people in Travis County are shocked to learn how much their property values – and consequently, their property taxes ­– might go up this year. County officials say valuations have risen roughly 15 percent on average this year. But as seen in this local Reddit discussion, many homeowners are facing 25 percent and 30 percent increases ­– and higher.

Sticker shock is so prevalent, Travis County Commissioners say their phones haven't stopped ringing from residents calling, asking for help. 


If you live or work in the City of Austin, have you asked yourself why you chose to work or live where you do? Well, the City of Austin wants to know the answers to those questions to help plan for the future.

The city is conducting a “housing choice survey.” But with the current shortage of housing, do Austinites have any real choice in where they live?

Word on the street is that Austinites have very few housing choices. At least, that’s what rapper “Blind Man” says as he finds his way with his cane to a bench on East 11th Street.


The City of Austin could remove off-street parking space requirements for developers who build some apartments smaller than 500 square feet – dwellings known as "micro-units." Advocates say it could encourage development of the micro-units along public transit corridors.

"We're talking about 300- or 400-square-foot apartments. Is there a market for that? In some cities, it looks like there has been," Council Member Bill Spelman said Tuesday during a council work session. "This is another way of simply reducing the cost. The whole thing is really about affordable housing." 

City code requires most residential developments to have at least one off-street parking space per unit. Council removed most of those requirements for downtown businesses last year. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The Texas Civil Rights Project is calling on local authorities to investigate a string of suspicious housing deals that could cause seniors to lose their homes.

A company called Castro has been approaching Montopolis residents to see if they qualify for free home repairs paid for by the government. According to homeowners, the solicitors urged them to sign contracts granting Castro full legal rights over their homes.

Texas Civil Rights Project attorney Brian McGiverin says the Travis County District Attorney and the Texas Attorney General must investigate immediately.


Austin’s housing market is hot. So hot, in fact, that it wasn’t seriously dampened in the recession to post-recession period.

New census data shows home values in Austin and in Travis County increased between 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2012. Most other large areas in the country saw home values decrease between those two periods.

Out of the country's  50 most populous cities, only nine cities saw an increase in the median home values during those periods. And Austin lead the pack:

  • Austin, TX: + $13,800
  • Denver, CO: + $9,600
  • Oklahoma City, OK: + $8,100
Photo courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunchesandbits/4714938136/

Austin-area home sales grew by 34 percent in September compared to a year earlier. A new report from the Austin Board of Realtors says almost 2,391 single-family homes were sold last month.

Homes are spending an average of 44 days on the market, which is 22 days fewer than a year ago.

In many cases, homes are being sold by word of mouth before they’re even listed, according to housing economist Jim Gaines at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.