We’ve reached the 50-day mark of the 88th legislative session. One of the biggest topics of discussion this year has been what to do with the state’s $32.7 billion budget surplus – and ideas abound about how it should be spent.
One area that has Texans feeling a major financial squeeze is housing. That’s true across the state: urban, suburban and rural. In a brief for the Legislature, experts from the University of Texas at Austin have identified five key issues affecting housing affordability in the state – and what can be done to address them.
Professors Steven Pedigo, Sherri Greenberg, and Jake Wegmann joined Texas Standard to discuss the five key issues:
Negative effects of local regulations on market rate and affordable housing supply
One of the main takeaways from the discussions leading up to the publication of the brief centered on the lack of housing options in places where people most wanted to live. While there is a great deal of land available in Texas, Wegmann says, there is difficulty in building in places where there’s most demand.
“You know, where there’s the most demand for housing that’s close to a lot of jobs, that has good transportation options and good amenities like high-quality schools and parks and convenient shopping and all those sorts of things,” Wegmann said. “Those are exactly the types of places where it’s the hardest to build new housing.”
Greenberg pointed out that certain local regulations, such as compatibility standards – what you can build and where – and permitting processes are contributing to the problem, though there have been bills filed this legislative session to start addressing them. But that’s not all.
“I think a third one would be minimum lot sizes,” Greenberg said. “And this has to do with how big a piece of land has to be – a lot has to be – to build a house on.”