One week before Austin voters decide the fate of the affordable housing bonds, the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), HomeAway and Austin Habitat for Humanity announce their partnership for the 2013 Home for the Holidays Blitz Build. This is ABoR’s first year to sponsor a house and HomeAway’s fourth year. Both are providing an $85,000 sponsorship and volunteers to build two houses in eight days. These homes will complete Austin Habitat’s schedule of 25 homes this year alone, wrapping up a twenty‐eight year total of 360 new affordable homes.
According to ABoR’s latest market report, the median home price is $223,000, 13 percent more than this time last year. Now in the top ten most expensive rental markets in the country, Austin is rapidly becoming unaffordable for working middle and lower‐income families. ABoR, HomeAway and Austin Habitat agree that pricing families across the income spectrum out of Austin is bad for the city and its economy.
ABoR CEO, Paul Hilgers, believes that affordable home ownership opportunities are critical to a healthy economy and housing market. “Housing is a part of a city’s infrastructure like roads, bridges, and electricity. It’s at the core of other public costs; if you can solve affordable housing issues, you can reduce costs throughout other public services.”
Kelly Weiss, President and CEO of Austin Habitat for Humanity, stresses that affordable home ownership is about more than just helping a family purchase a home. “Affordable home ownership really is the foundation for better education, health, safety, and key to a healthy economy. It is one of the only options lower‐income families have to build assets and savings.” She goes on to express Austin Habitat’s sincere gratitude to ABoR and HomeAway. “We cannot achieve our mission without our generous sponsors. ABoR and HomeAway are a great example of local companies going above and beyond to give back to the community in a tangible way that addresses one of Austin’s most pressing challenges.”
"Our team is thrilled to once again be participating in a Blitz Build, which is such a unique and special event," says HomeAway co‐founder, Carl Shepherd. "Habitat is an incredible organization that does very important work within our community, and we're proud to support them in their mission to provide affordable housing to qualified Austin residents."
Construction on the future homes of the Mora family and Rodriguez‐Gomez family will begin on December 3 in Austin Habitat’s Devonshire Village development close to the Mueller in East Austin. To qualify for an Austin Habitat home, families must apply, attend homebuyer education classes, and meet minimum standards. Once their application is approved, the families must contribute 300 hours of sweat equity and put a down payment on their new home. They pay a zero percent interest 30 year mortgage and are consequently able to build equity and a more secure financial future.
About Austin Habitat for Humanity
Austin Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. One of only seven Affiliates of Distinction, Austin Habitat provides affordable home ownership opportunities for hard‐ working families through new home construction, critical home repair and housing counseling services. Now in its 28th year, Austin Habitat has built more than 350 new homes and repaired more than 120 homes in Austin and the surrounding area. Austin Habitat serves more than 800 families each year in Travis, Caldwell and Bastrop counties. Visit austinhabitat.org for more information.
About the Austin Board of REALTORS®
The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) is a non‐profit, voluntary organization dedicated to educating and supporting Central Texas REALTORS®. ABoR proudly serves nearly 9,000 members, promotes private property rights, and provides accurate, comprehensive property listing information for the Greater Austin area. Visit AustinHomeSearch.com, a public resource on Austin real estate, for the latest news on the local housing market.
HomeAway, Inc., based in Austin, Texas, is the world’s leading online marketplace of vacation rentals, with sites representing over 775,000 paid listings of vacation rental homes in 171 countries. HomeAway® offers an extensive selection of vacation rental homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, especially more room to relax, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodations. The company also makes it easy for vacation rental owners and property managers to advertise their properties and manage bookings online.