Austin's Housing Crisis References
These are some of the references I used as an economist to learn about the housing crisis. Some are very accessible. Some are academic references. These are best; I have not tried to include everything I've read.
City Specific Data
- U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Price Parities: Services: Rents for Austin-Round Rock shows Austin's rents are high (above 100).
- Streets MN's review of rent after Minneapolis reformed its housing laws shows rents dropping when compared to St. Paul, MN.
- City Demographer's report on housing affordability It is from around 2017 and shows that households earning less than $20,000 are spending more than half their income on rent.
- John Houser's maps of Austin's tax income shows that denser housing is better for local government finances.
- (Currently offline) Desire for Density shows where density exists in Austin.
- HousingWorks Austin collects housing data by City Council district and on City of Austin projects.
- City of Austin Comprehensive Housing
Market Analysis from 2020 This is a wonderful long detailed report that says Austin's population is still growing but housing unit growth is shrinking. Also in the report: higher rent, sprawl, more high-income residents, prices growing faster than the national and Texas averages, etc..
- 2021 Austin Housing Analysis gathered a lot of data and has pretty results. It shows that, currently, low-income households live in large apartment buildings and high-income households live in houses. That's a change from the 1990's where more low-income households lived in houses and duplexes. Some of those homes were manufactured homes (mobile homes). The authors are not economists but attempted to study "filtering" anyway. They saw its effect lowering the relative price of homes up to 50 years old. But they went on make the strange claim that even older units "bounce back" in price due to "gentrification". While some old homes become classics, most do not and the classics have expensive upkeep and low prices. What happened was that the authors didn't correct for the distance to downtown and older homes are mostly close to downtown. Thus, the land under those homes is valuable, even if the buildings are old. This analysis and a lot of their resulting policy recommendations are incorrect.
- City of Austin's map of lot sizes, where most lots cannot be split because each half would larger than the 5,750 sqft minimum lot size.
- Ed Glaeser and Joseph Gyourko, 2018, The Economic Implications of Housing Supply, a very readable overview of housing shortages.
- Ed Glaeser and Bryce A. Ward, 2009, The Causes and Consequences of Land Use Regulation: Evidence from Greater
Boston, shows that minimum lot size laws are harmful.
- Joseph Gyourko and Raven Molloy, 2014, Regulation and Housing Supply, shows that housing laws prevent building, which drives up prices.
- Ed Glaser and Joseph Gyourko, 2003, The Impact of Building Restrictions on Housing Affordability, shows that housing is not expensive because of labor or materials, but because zoning laws drive up the price of land. The marginal cost of land is much less than the average cost, indicating that regulations on housing are driving high prices.
- Kate Pennington, 2021, Does Building New Housing Cause Displacement? : The Supply and Demand Effects of Construction in San Francisco, great research on gentrification and displacement.
- Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, 2019, Housing Constraints and Spatial Misallocation is a much talked about paper that concludes housing policy in San Francisco, San Jose, and New York dramatically affects the growth of the US economy to the tune of $3,685 per person per year. A correction says that is an underestimate.
- Rebecca Diamond, Tim McQuade and Franklin Qian, 2019, The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants,
Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco, found that, in response to rent control laws, owners converted their buildings to condos and rents went up. Rent control did reduce displacement in the short-term.
- Marjorie Honig and Randall K. Filer, 1993, Causes of Intercity Variation in Homelessness, found that when the lowest rent was expensive, homelessness was more common. As was people sharing of bedrooms and families sharing housing units.
- California Yimby's Research page is a database of popular articles and research papers
Return to main page