With the amount of people moving to Austin, cost of living goes up and the number of affordable housing units goes down
ISSUES WITH SUPPLY & DEMAND AND PLANS TO FIX IT
by Katie Arcos
Forbes magazine named Austin the next big boom town in the United States, but can people afford the cost of living?
“We have a huge gap in housing that people can afford; nearly 50,000 families can’t afford even $500 a month rent,” Mayor Steve Adler said in his State of Our City speech, on April 13.
The issue with housing affordability is the discrepancy of supply and demand. This affects the people who want to buy or rent in Austin because the supply of housing units that is being developed in Austin is not keeping up with the demand brought on by new people moving here everyday.
The “Affordable Austin: Building the Housing We Need at Prices We Can Afford” report put out by the Real Estate Council of Austin states that from 2000 to 2012, nearly 570,000 people moved to Austin, but only 84, 000 new housing units were built. Adler said that Austin needs about 100,000 new housing units by 2025 and save another 35,000 affordable units from gentrification.
“Looking at this long term,if we don’t get more housing supplies built, if that number doesn’t get better as people continue to move to Austin, then the problem is going to get worse,” said Senior Planner for Neighborhood, Jonathan Tomko.
According to the City of Austin’s 2014 Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis, 55 percent of Austin pays rent. The median monthly rent rate ranges at about $1,000, and the analysis shows that with an income of less than $30,000, the buyer or renter would not be able to afford it. The 2012 renter gaps found a shortage of about 1,500 units for renters earning $20,000 to $25,000. This resulted from the decrease of affordable units.
Programs like City Council’s Imagine Austin and CodeNEXT plan to improve Austin for a better future. Tomko said it would take years to revise and implement change for the benefit of everyone in Austin.
“I really think at the core, it’s about choice. It’s about offering more choices to more people,” Tomko said.
Austin’s City Council has already started moving forward with the plans. Adler said in his speech that while nothing is going to happen over night and change is not easy, it has begun.
“Austin will stay special because of you and others who share the belief that together we can make Austin a truly great city for all of us,” he said.
Scroll down for a guide to the pricing of homes in Austin