Strategies to Preserve Affordability and Opportunities for the Future
Austin’s rapid population influx, owing in large part to its culture and technology-based economic development strategy, has brought new and more affluent residents to the area in recent years. This has contributed to a housing affordability problem in the city, especially for low- and middle-income (LMI) households, who make too much for subsidies and too little to pay market prices. Through a data-rich analysis of population and housing market changes in the last 15 years, we identify targeted interventions for neighborhoods facing different challenges. For example, in areas of East Austin that are rapidly changing and becoming less affordable, reevaluating the county’s homestead exemptions to ease property tax burdens, exploring innovative community land trust models, and continuing to build evidence for Homestead Preservation Districts could help LMI residents. Austin is thinking in innovative ways about preserving and creating LMI affordability. By such measures now and in the future, the city can remain one where newcomers continue to be drawn and longtime residents continue to thrive.