Advancing Solutions to Improve Housing Inventory and Access to Homeownership
For nearly a century, REALTORS® have been advocates for their clients and the communities they serve, and our collective goal is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream of owning a home and creating generational wealth. That’s why it is important for us to continue advocating at all levels of government to advance solutions for improving our housing supply, addressing housing affordability issues, and increasing access to homeownership.
However, more and more people are being priced out of this American Dream due to rising affordability constraints for both existing and potential homebuyers. Today, REALTORS® are working with homebuyers who are faced with higher mortgage rates, inflation, and a nationwide shortage of market-rate affordable homes available for purchase. For potential first-time buyers, the impact of the continued increase in rents makes it even more difficult for them to save for a down payment.
I am proud that REALTORS® and our Advocacy teams are working hard with elected officials at all levels of government to increase housing inventory and improve access to affordable homeownership.
REALTOR® Advocacy at the 88th Texas Legislature
In March, more than 3,000 REALTORS® from across the state participated in REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol to meet with their legislators and advocate for REALTOR® issues, including housing affordability. More than 250 ABoR members participated and made the voices of Central Texas REALTORS® and their clients heard at our state capitol.
However, advocacy work isn’t just a one-day event. Our Texas REALTORS® Advocacy team is hard at work attending committee meetings, monitoring key bills, and communicating daily with legislators. Texas REALTORS® is helping advance several important housing initiatives by supporting legislation during the 88th Texas Legislature aimed at improving housing affordability, including:
- SB 1412 which, if approved, would allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on residential lots and prevent municipal regulations that would impede the building of ADUs.
- HB 14 which, if approved, would reduce wait times for development permits and inspections by requiring local authorities to either review and make decisions on applications within 15 days or allow the applications to be reviewed and approved by an approved third-party reviewer, including any licensed engineer.
- HB 1704 which, if approved, would establish the Workforce Housing Capital Investment Fund, a revolving loan fund program to help develop workforce housing across the state through the disbursement of 0% interest loans to construct homes for households earning between 30% and 80% of the area median income.
- HB 3921 which, if approved, would set a statewide standard for minimum lot sizes and setback standards in municipalities to allow more housing development.
ABoR Advocacy in Central Texas
Advocacy also doesn’t just happen when the Texas Legislature is in session. It happens every day in City Halls and County Commissioner Courts across Texas.
ABoR Advocacy is working with local leaders to advance important housing policy changes designed to remove regulatory barriers to housing, reduce the cost of housing, and allow for greater housing capacity across Central Texas. These include:
- development process improvements designed to simplify the review process and timeline to help create a predictable, efficient, and transparent development review process – including implementing site plan light and expedited permitting programs.
- residential parking reforms to reduce or eliminate the impact residential parking minimum requirements have on the market’s ability to meet our community’s housing needs.
- accessory dwelling unit (ADU) reforms aimed at increasing the feasibility of building ADUs and removing obstacles to affordability.
- subdivision reforms to make it easy and more affordable for property owners to subdivide their property.
- reducing minimum lot size requirements to allow for greater housing diversity and density.
REALTOR® Advocacy in Action
ABoR’s advocacy mission is simple: protect our members’ livelihoods and the well-being of their clients. But we can’t do it without the help of our members. ABoR Advocacy ensures that REALTORS® are part of developing solutions for Central Texas and bring their experience and expertise to each policy discussion. Our advocacy program is successful thanks to the relationships we’ve built and maintained over time with the help of our members – particularly here in Central Texas.
To learn more about REALTOR® Advocacy or how you can get involved, email ABoR’s Advocacy team at Advocacy@ABoR.com. With your help, we can collectively advocate for solutions to improve our housing supply, address housing affordability issues, and increase access to homeownership.