Housing

A map with zoning information
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has spent almost eight years and roughly $11 million rewriting its land use code; that’s the set of rules dictating what you can build in the city and where you can build it.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Census Bureau released the latest batch of data from its American Communities Survey last week. The survey offers a glimpse into economic indicators, demographic shifts and population numbers.

It's a lot.

Here are a few items that stood out. 

Willie and Earlene Williams
Julia Reihs / KUT

One wall in Earlene and Willie Williams’ living room in Southeast Austin is covered almost entirely with family photos – something that’s easy to do when you have 11 kids, 14 grandkids and more than two dozen great-grandchildren.

“Matter of fact, I had so many pictures I couldn’t even put them up on the wall,” said Earlene, 73.

Construction
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s expensive to live in the Austin area, but it could be worse.

According to a new report from Apartment List, Austin is one of the better markets at keeping up with housing demand. The report compares the number of jobs created with the number of homes built between 2008 and 2018. Austin sits at 1.3 jobs per new housing unit – right in the sweet spot for that ratio, according to Chris Salviati, the housing economist who wrote the report.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council voted to scale back city rules on camping, panhandling and sitting or lying down in public. Council members heard hours of impassioned testimony on the ordinances at the tail end of a marathon meeting that stretched into early Friday morning. 

Renee Dominguez for KUT

While many University of Texas students were busy studying for final exams, senior Allie Runas was thinking about cracks in the sidewalk.

After years of stepping over them in West Campus, she decided to do something and founded the West Campus Neighborhood Association.

Julia Reihs/KUT News

People experiencing homelessness in Austin aren't just on street corners asking you for money. There's a less visible population that has some service providers worried.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The road that leads to Blanca Torres' home isn't much of a road at all. It's a half-mile stretch of gravel and mud, surrounded by tall grasses. In certain parts, the road dips into stark potholes, and in others, large white rocks protrude from the earth.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council today approved a revised version of a proposal from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo to create a mortgage-assistance program for low-income homeowners.

The city manager will research similar programs used in other cities and return to City Council with a proposal by September.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gilbert and Jane Rivera bought their home in the Rosewood neighborhood of East Austin in 1983 for $39,000. Seventeen years later, it was worth $79,000. Another 17 years later, it was worth over $500,000.

LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto

From Texas Standard.

Because 1968 was such a historic year, 2018 is packed with momentous 50th anniversaries. It was a year of ideological divides, assassinations, Vietnam – and a Texan in the White House tasked with leading the country through it all.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If you’re a renter in Texas, there may be a clause in your lease you haven’t noticed: a landlord’s lien. The clause gives your landlord the right to come into your home and take your personal belongings if you fail to pay rent.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin is often cited as one of the most economically segregated cities in the nation. Some researchers say that divide has major social and economic implications.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Part 1 of a two-part series on tiny homes

As Austin’s housing prices continue to climb, developers are tapping into the trend of building tiny homes.

Kasita CEO Martyn Hoffmann says the Austin-based company is hoping to make home-ownership affordable for more residents through its space-saving designs.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

De Shaun Ealoms always dreamed of owning a home, but she wasn’t sure how she’d get there.

After her son was diagnosed with autism, Ealoms moved to Austin from Dallas to be closer to her parents. To help cover her living expenses, she signed up for Section 8, the commonly used name for the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, which helps low-income families pay rent.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The first residents are beginning to move into new homes in Whisper Valley, a green housing development near Walter E. Long Lake in eastern Travis County.

While this type of eco-friendly housing is usually cost-prohibitive, the homes in Whisper Valley start in the low $200,000s, says Douglas Gilliland, president of the developer, Taurus of Texas.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A popular shopping center in Northwest Austin could be redeveloped to include hundreds of apartments.

The 17-acre site, owned by Great Hills Retail Inc., currently includes a shopping center, restaurants, a movie theater and a bank. It will be up to Austin City Council to decide whether to allow for new types of development there.

Foreclosure sign
Jeff Turner/Flickr

Barrett Raven is showing Matthew Weilbacher around a duplex off Cameron Road. Weilbacher is interested in buying one of the units, maybe the entire duplex, but he wrestles with how to make use of the home’s oddly sloping backyard. 

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin released a second draft of CodeNEXT, the city’s rewrite of its land development code, on Friday.

"The CodeNEXT code and the maps are getting better and all of the community needs to stay engaged,"  Mayor Steve Adler said.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

An industrial-sized fridge hums in the background as Hannah Frankel, 28, gives a tour of her housing cooperative, pointing out the shared kitchen, pantry and meeting rooms.

“We consistently have a waitlist,” she says. “We consistently have a great demand.”

Steven Martin/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

International homebuyers are banking on the health of the Texas real estate market. A report from the Texas Association of Realtors says that sales of Texas properties to international buyers increased by almost 60 percent between April 2016 and March of this year.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

Nearly two-thirds of Austin renters looking to settle down somewhere else are largely doing so because of affordability, according to a new report from the research firm Apartment List. While the 65 percent of city renters leaving isn't all that different from the national average of 64 percent, the reason they're leaving should be a concern.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

You’ve probably seen them while driving around town – those handwritten signs next to the road with messages like: “We buy houses for cash! Call now!”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Annette Naish used to work for FEMA, traveling across the U.S. responding to natural disasters.

“I found out that in this country there are some of the most wonderful people in the history of the Western world,” she said.

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.

Pages