Report: Why It Costs so Much to Build Housing in Austin

The study highlights high real estate costs as well as restrictive zoning regulations and building requirements that delay multi-family construction.

1 minute read

August 9, 2023, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Row of new contemporary rowhouses in Austin, Texas

New rowhouses in the Mueller neighborhood in Austin, Texas. | Tricia / Adobe Stock

New studies from the University of Texas commissioned by the city of Austin reveal the causes of high housing construction costs in the city and propose solutions for reducing them, reports Ben Thompson in Community Impact.

“Among analysts' top findings were Austin's standout costs compared to other cities, as well as the competitive local cost of multifamily versus single-family development and the elevated price tag of construction on the west side,” Thompson adds.

With the cost of land and construction materials and labor rising, city regulations that add extra costs are more likely to make or break a project, according to the study. “Although the city has sought to speed up those processes for years, builders are still experiencing the effects of a slower system that can end up passing costs along to residents.”

Researchers also found that multi-family housing is the cheapest to build, but faces the most obstacles from local building regulations and zoning codes.

Recommendations for making housing construction faster and more affordable include: implementing zoning reforms that permits more housing types, reducing labor costs through workforce training, limiting regulatory constraints such as parking requirements, and improving incentive programs for affordable housing developers.

Thursday, August 3, 2023 in Community Impact Newspaper

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