Austin's steep housing prices impacting Habitat for Humanity

Land costs impact Habitat for Humanity

AUSTIN - Every year the Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build helps make the dream of homeownership a reality for families in the Austin area.

But that dream is becoming tougher to fulfill in a city that's constantly growing.

A piece of land in downtown Austin that Habitat bought in the early 1990's for $24,000 dollars is now worth over $1 million. Situations like that are leaving the agency with virtually no land to build homes on, making it more difficult get creative.

Egger Street in southeast Austin was created for Habitat homes. Most are two stories, allowing the agency more space to build, and therefore house more families.

It's a strategy bigger cities like New York City and San Francisco are using.

Right now, the local Habitat for Humanity is developing two 14-acre properties.

One in northeast Austin will have 63 traditional single family homes. The other in southeast Austin will have 127 multi-story condos and townhomes - more than double the number of properties.

Other strategies the Austin Habitat for Humanity is using include bidding on surplus land (including the latest AISD offering), applying for city funding, and targeting certain neighborhoods.

President & CEO Phyllis Snodgrass said, "One of our hopes is to identify homes that are in danger of gentrifying and perhaps go in and refurbish some properties and keep them in affordable housing stock."

Snodgrass says new deed restrictions placed on Habitat homes will ensure they stay affordable.

Beginning in 2016, when a family sells their Habitat home, the agency will buy it back to refurbish and resell it.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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