AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) today released a paper on affordable housing in Texas by Kathleen Hunker, senior policy analyst for the Center for Economic Freedom at TPPF. The paper, “Bringing Down the Housing Restrictions,” examines the impact of excessive regulation on housing prices. It argues that the crunch felt by urban families in Austin and throughout Texas stems from unnecessary costs added by central planning.

Reports over the last few weeks have shown that Austin has become unaffordable not only to the city’s historic communities, but also to the professionals and musicians that have made the city their home. A new University of Texas survey, for instance, recently learned that rising housing cost was the leading reason why African Americans felt the need to leave Austin. City Hall has scrambled in response, trying to find solution to the growing affordable housing crisis. Ideas have ranged from demanding that housing developers include affordable units in new complexes to reallocating the part of the city’s property tax revenue into the housing trust fund.

“Subsidies and mandates only treat the symptoms of the housing crunch,” said Hunker. “They do not offer a long-term solution. Although it’s easy to blame population growth for higher housing costs, a city’s land-use regulations also play a significant, if not decisive, part. Zoning and permitting regimes delay construction, require unnecessary changes to the building design, and increase the final sale price. Unless city governments peel back their zoning codes, Texans will continue to struggle to secure a good home for their families.

“Many Texas cities, including Austin, attempted to spend their way out of the housing crunch; subsidies, however, will never be as effective as eliminating the bad policies behind the higher prices. Property rights, not shuffling around tax revenue, will lead to the creation of affordable housing.”
To read the full publication, please visit:
To schedule an interview with Ms. Hunker please contact Caroline Espinosa at[email protected] or 512-472-2700.

Kathleen Hunker is a senior policy analyst with the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.

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