2022 Central Texas Housing Development Fees Analysis

ABoR and HBAGA release analysis examining barriers to housing development in Central Texas

Development fees are “drastically higher” in Austin compared to other cities across Texas

AUSTIN, Texas— A new report, jointly requested by the Austin Board of REALTORS® and the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, from the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University has found that Austin is one of the most expensive cities to build new homes in Texas in terms of the amount of development fees charged by local municipalities.

“This report confirms what those in the real estate community have known for a long time,” Emily Chenevert, CEO of ABoR, said. “Although there was little existing data prior to the report being conducted, we now can show that development fees are drastically higher in Austin than most other cities in Central Texas and major metro areas in Texas. This is a huge barrier to building homes and a significant concern considering we are in a housing supply crisis across the region.”

The analysis also found that infill development— a critical component to delivering more housing inside Austin’s city limits— is exponentially more expensive to build in Austin, with per-unit fees that are 127% higher than those of a suburban-style development and 187% higher than average infill development fees across Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and San Antonio.

“These findings, although disconcerting, are unsurprising,” Taylor Jackson, CEO of the HBAGA, said. “We need to course correct on how the City of Austin handles home building and time is of the essence. Every day is vital as home prices have increased approximately $100,000 across the MSA since this research project was started in 2021.”

The report found that $18,168 in development fees are charged per unit for a suburban-style development in the City of Austin and fees for such a development are 80.4%—or more than $8,000 higher—than the average per-unit fees charged for a suburban-style development in the five largest metro areas in Texas.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to our region’s housing crisis, housing development fees are one area in which policymakers have direct influence. Swift and focused actions are needed to address these issues,” Chenevert said.

Included in the joint publication from ABoR and the HBAGA are recommendations for local policymakers to prioritize housing. These include:

  1. Increase transparency in development fees;
  2. Implement development process improvements; and
  3. Right-size development fees.

“The National Association of Home Builders 2022 Priced Out Index reports that for every $1,000 increase in the price of a home, whether it be from market forces or development fees, 791 households are priced out of the Austin-Round Rock MSA. We urge Austin’s leadership to act and act now or we risk becoming a wholly unaffordable city to build or buy a home in,” Jackson said.

To download the full 2022 Central Texas Housing Development Fees Analysis, visit www.ABoR.com/FeesReport.


The Austin Board of REALTORS® is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the needs of Central Texas REALTORS® and homebuyers, sellers, and renters for nearly a century. Through professional development, grassroots advocacy, and community, we give our 18,000+ members the power they need to ensure people have homes. Our multiple listing service (MLS) connects both agents and consumers with the most accurate and robust real estate marketplace in the region. For more information, contact the ABoR public relations team at abor@ecprtexas.com. For the latest local housing market listings, visit AustinHomeSearch.com

The Home Builders Association of Greater Austin is the leading not-for-profit trade organization dedicated to residential construction and remodeling in Central Texas. With more than 750 member companies and thousands of community members, the HBAGA works with government, public, business, and community organizations in seven counties – Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Lee, Travis, and Williamson.  It is our mission to advance the professionalism of the home building industry by building strong communities and homes that enable people to thrive. For more information, visit HBAAustin.com.