Report: $67K a year salary needed to buy a house in Austin

FILE - Austin home for sale (KXAN File Photo/Alicia Inns)
FILE - Austin home for sale (KXAN File Photo/Alicia Inns)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texan needs to make $67,440 a year in order to afford the median priced home in Austin according to a new report from a mortgage resource company.

HSH.com released the report Monday comparing the 50 largest metro areas in the country.

The company listed what someone would need to earn in order to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home on their website.

This report comes out the same week the city of Austin was to release its final form of CodeNEXT, the major land development code revamp with the goal of making Austin more affordable. However, earlier this month, city leaders announced they would delay revealing the third draft by three months.

However, many believe the main driver of the price tag of Austin’s home market is a lack of housing supply.

Kevin McLaughlin describes himself as a city person. But when he moved back to Austin from Boston with his wife he was surprised this city had become so expensive. “What we’re doing right now — right — rent and housing prices are going up and up. That’s today under the current code,” said McLaughlin.

He wants to see more duplexes and multi-family structures in the final draft of the land development plan.

“It’s not just about density per se. It’s really about letting people have more choices so they can make the best choice for themselves,” said McLaughlin.

The housing supply shortage in Austin is not a new problem, but the Austin Board of Realtors say it’s getting worse. In the report, the group shows the average home price in Austin has nearly doubled in 10 years.

But community organizer Carmen Llanes Pulido says the city is doing it backward. She says many different neighborhoods already have their own affordability plans that the city should absorb.

“We need community planning and then we can write a code to support it. That’s going to address a lot more of the issues,” said Llanes Pulido. She lives in northeast Austin and is wary about the lack of changes based on neighborhood input. “When you have a small group of individuals making decisions about land development in an isolated space, you’re going to cause problems downstream.”

City planners say they’ll have the final draft out in February. But with issues this big, and a plan this large, pleasing everybody will be nearly impossible.

According to a city spokeswoman, Draft 2 of the code is still available online and comments are still being collected. They’ll be compiled and sent to the Planning Commission, Zoning and Planning Commission, and the City Council. That all can be found at austintexas.gov/codenext

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