housing

urban development
7:26 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Austin Considers Measure Aimed at Lowering Cost of Tiny Apartments

Removing off-street parking requirements for apartments under 500 square feet could make them more affordable, advocates say.
https://flic.kr/p/4sG5xG

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. 

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Crime & Justice
2:51 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Montopolis Residents Battle Alleged Housing Scam

A home in the Montopolis area. The Texas Civil Rights Project says a group is tricking seniors into signing over the rights to their homes.
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.

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Austin Home Prices
3:10 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

What Recession? Census Says Downturn Didn't Hurt Austin Housing Market

flickr.com/winemegup

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
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real estate
7:24 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Austin Home Sales Jumped 34 Percent in September

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.

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economy
7:30 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Austin Popular Place to Relocate, But Good Luck Finding a Home

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcostin/101701289/

People across America really want to live in Central Texas. So many people, that Williamson County had the ninth largest growth in households of any county in the nation last year, according to a new report by the Texas Association of Realtors. Travis County was number eleven.

The "net inflow" of households to Williamson County was 4,436 last year. In Travis County, it was 4,045. 

“Texas continues to be an attractive place for people who are considering to be relocating," said Stacey Armijo with the Texas Association of Realtors, "and I think, in particular, those who are looking for job opportunities and a high quality of life."  

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Austin
6:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Austin Study Highlights LGBT Housing Discrimination

Michael McCrory says his former landlord wanted him to apply for disability benefits for being transgender.
Laura Rice, KUT News

The City of Austin and the Austin Tenant’s Council are hosting a community forum Saturday focused on housing discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.

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Austin
8:39 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Austin Receives $2.5M Grant to Fix Problems at Older Homes

Approximately 153,000 homes in Austin and Travis County were built before 1978 – when lead-based paint was still common.
flickr.com/editor

The City of Austin has received a federal grant to address health problems posed by some older homes. The city already has a program to inspect for toxic lead-based paint

The $2.5 million grant will also allow the city to take care of pest and mold problems in older homes and to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The grant will provide for services to 138 homes.

 

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Austin
4:34 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Austin Apartment Demand Rising - Along With Supply

The market is looking up for Austin apartments.
courtesy flickr.com/ahockley

Finding an apartment in Austin keeps getting harder, even as more units are being built.

The real estate tracking firm Austin Investor Interests says occupancy rates edged up to 95 percent in the first three months of the year. Rental rates grew more than 2 percent in the first quarter. Robin Davis with Austin Investor Interests says more than 16,000 units are under construction.

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Austin
7:43 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Austin Clears Housing and Construction Permit Backlog

Flickr/austin tx http://www.flickr.com/photos/austintx/

The City of Austin says it has cleared a major backlog of residential permit reviews.

The Planning and Development Review Department’s director Greg Guernsey says they processed more than 650 applications in the last month. The backlog had resulted in people waiting weeks to get city approval for renovations or new home construction. 

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economy
7:18 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Austin Unemployment: 5.4 Percent

Construction saw the largest percentage gain in Austin metro job growth.
KUT News

The Austin metro area’s unemployment rate is down almost one percentage point from a year ago, according to numbers released Friday. The jobless rate in the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area was 5.4 percent in February. That compares with 6.2 percent from a year ago.

The industry sector with the largest percentage gain was construction. For real estate analyst Mark Sprague with Independence Title, it comes as no surprise.

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economy
12:53 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Housing Hot Streak: Austin-Area Home Sales Surge 37 Percent

Seen a lot of this sign? You should have: Austin's real estate market keeps climbing.
KUT News

Not since the federal government was doling out $8,000 tax credits to first time homebuyers have home sales surged this much in the Austin area.

In October, 1,960 single-family homes were sold in Austin, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. The 37 percent year-over-year increase was the largest since November 2009.

“We’re very vibrant,” says Austin Board of Realtors chairman Leonard Guerrero, pointing to Austin’s growing population. “

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2012 Election
11:05 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

'Surprise' Over Prop 15 Rejection in Austin

Affordable housing initiative Prop 15 is the only Austin bond proposal headed toward defeat.
Mose Buchele for KUT News

Supporters of Proposition 15, a city ballot measure that would have spent $78.3 million on affordable housing, seem shocked that their bond proposal appears headed for defeat. It was the only bond proposition on the ballot that looks like it will be narrowly rejected. With almost 219,000 votes counted, 51.27 percent opposed the proposition and 48.73 supported it. 

“We’re going to have to take some time and figure out why the housing bond didn’t pass,” says Walter Moreau, executive director of the affordable housing non-profit Foundation Communities. “We had some visibility. We didn’t have opposition. We had support from the papers and Interfaith Action and affordable housing groups.”

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Health
10:25 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Funds for Austin AIDS Patients Up One Day, Down the Next

There's new funding for AIDS services in Austin, but organizations may not be getting all they need.
flickr.com/asaustin

A financial shot in the arm is coming for people living with AIDS in Austin. As much as $5 million in federal funding is on the way, spread out over five years. But the federal funding comes as local AIDS assistance groups wrangle with funding cuts of their own. 

The announcement came at a city council meeting yesterday. The grant funds come from federal awards called Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, funds. For Austin that means about $1 million each year for two Austin non-profits, AIDS Services of Austin and Project Transitions. The money is intended to help people with HIV and AIDS with housing need – short-term rent and mortgage assistance, help with utilities and other related expenses. 

According to Josh Allen, executive director of Project Transitions, housing is an area of incredible need for Austin. “As quickly as we can move someone into housing, there are two other folks on the waiting list.”

This grant money comes at a time when Project Transitions is struggling to fill a $45,000 gap left by reduced funding from the United Way. In July, the United Way for Greater Austin eliminated $1.2 million in grants to local nonprofits. “We’re seeing it across the board generally with fund raising efforts,” says Allen. “Specifically, with grants and foundations. It’s just a much more competitive environment.”

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Austin
2:41 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

A Short-Term Rental License is $235 - But the True Cost is Twice That

Austinites hoping to make money by renting out their homes during this weekend's ACL festival will first have to shell out more than $400 to register with the city.
flickr.com/interpunct

Austin property owners have started applying for short-term rental licenses to comply with a new city ordinance that took effect last week.

To obtain a license, property owners have to pay a $235 short-term rental licensing fee. But they are also required to pay a $241 notification fee– money that will be used  by the city to notify neighbors within 100 feet of a short-term rental property. 

This fee has generated controversy because all applicants pay the same amount, whether they have to notify 10 neighbors or 100.

"The fee is the standard notification fee that the city has," says Jerry Rusthoven with the city's Planning and Development Office. "My department, the planning department mails out notices to folks for a variety of different types of cases – zoning cases, subdivision site plans – and we have a standard $241 notification fee that’s paid for all those," 

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Austin
4:44 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Scarce Housing Options Driving a New Building Boom

www.flickr.com/armchairbuilder/

By all accounts, the housing market is booming in Austin.

Home prices, number of sales, and rental occupancy rates and rents are up. And, according to numbers released yesterday, so is new construction. MetroStudy, a firm that tracks realty numbers, says construction in the third quarter is up 37% from last year.

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