As the Austin real estate market continues to grow and the city continues to feel the growing pains, one topic that resonates with many Austinites is “missing middle” housing. Missing middle housing fills the gap between single family homes and apartment homes. It could supply a housing option for many Austinites whose incomes have not kept up with the increase in housing prices.
For Austin to be compact and connected, the city needs more affordable housing options for renters and buyers to be built near employers. One very viable option is the addition of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) also known as granny flats or garage apartments. This option is great for renters that want to live in a neighborhood, but aren’t interested in a large single family home. Having an additional rental income also helps homeowners offset rising property taxes. Duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes are other great urban infill options, but are in limited supply in Austin. Building multiple units on one lot lowers the cost basis and could create more affordable housing in central Austin. In a city where over half the population rents, we are severely limited in our affordable rental options. The lack of missing middle housing is greatly contributing to sprawl, which in turn is exacerbating the major traffic problems in our wonderful city.
- The Missing Middle – Affordable Housing for Middle Income Families in the City of Austin – This Urban Land Institute report identifies the challenges that inhibit development of “middle housing” and provides recommendations to key community stakeholders moving forward.
- Coding for a Compact and Connected Austin – See what the City of Austin is doing to address urban sprawl.