Chestnut Neighborhood (Austin, TX) – Housing Needs Assessment
ChallengeThe Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation (CNRC) received capacity building funding from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to further its mission in preserving and creating affordable housing in the Chestnut Neighborhood. The creation of affordable housing is crucial in a neighborhood, such as Chestnut, that is rapidly gentrifying and surrounded by neighborhoods whose older housing stock is being replaced by higher-end lofts and condominiums.
ApproachCNRC hired TIP Strategies to conduct a housing needs assessment for the Chestnut market area (ZIP Code 78702). To accomplish this task, the consulting team looked at three scenarios for residential development based on population projections and demographic data. Each scenario had a breakdown of unit types and price points. The purpose of the study was to assess current housing conditions and to determine the demand for single family housing versus multifamily housing in the market area. In addition, the consulting team looked at the need for affordable housing and determined to what income levels any housing should be targeted. Finally, the study identified whether a mixed-income or mixed-use property containing some affordable units would be more readily absorbed than an all-affordable, all-residential development alone.
OutcomeThe Chestnut Neighborhood is quickly becoming unaffordable to even middle-income families. The bulk of for-sale housing product in the neighborhood is the near-downtown condominium or loft. Condo units developed in recent years have become unaffordable to most residents in the area, with the majority priced around $240 per square foot and some units as high as $340 per square foot. Occupancy rates for affordable housing units are close to 100 percent with waiting lists. Most of these complexes are geared towards families (up to four-bedroom units) or to seniors who are on fixed incomes. There continues to be a need for housing for families, particularly single-parent families, as well as for low-income seniors. The TIP work provided specific recommendations for next steps for the Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation’s board to consider in terms of affordable housing development.