The following commentary is published on Thursdays as part of TPPF’s subscriber-only newsletter The Post. If you would like to subscribe to The Post, click here

Housing affordability in Texas is reaching a crisis, if it’s not already here. In a new TPPF/WPAi poll, 83% of Texans say there is currently an affordability crisis in the Texas housing market, with only 13% saying there is not. Nearly 60% say it has directly affected their family. The vast majority of those saying it hasn’t affected them are Texans older than 55 who likely haven’t purchased a home in the last 5 years.

Annual median house prices grew almost 29% from 2020 to 2023, while family income has dropped more than 3% over roughly the same time period. Families are being driven farther and farther away from population centers where you see most of the job creation. As someone who now must drive almost an hour each way through Austin rush hour traffic to make a living and afford a home, I’m becoming one of those statistics.

Driving much of the increase are Texas’ high property taxes – sixth highest in the nation. The legislature did tremendous work last session – battling through some seriously contentious debates – to pass the largest property tax cut in Texas history. But the fact that Governor Abbott told the audience at TPPF’s Texas Policy Summit last week that further cuts will be on the agenda next year tells you how bad the problem is.

Zoning ordinances also increase housing costs. Regulations such as those that dictate the number and type of housing units allowed on a property, as well as restricting lot sizes, create scarcity and drive up prices. Thankfully, an informal and unlikely bipartisan coalition of groups and policymakers are coming together in support of reducing the impact of these ordinances. More supply, lower prices. Basic free market stuff.

Things aren’t so bad in Texas that we have the ‘squatter’s rights’ problems of New York and other states. We still believe in property rights here. But the danger is in the state losing its “Texas miracle” reputation when people can’t find affordable housing to go along with those good paying jobs. The Governor is right to make it a priority next session.