Institute of Urban Policy

Housing Research

Policy Brief: Improving Homeowner Association Oversight and Homeowner Protections 
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Danielle C.H. Wright, PhD; Lynn Huynh
Homeowners associations (HOAs) have a deeply rooted history in the United States and across Texas. Research highlights that they may exacerbate segregation and, due to little governmental oversight, may not fully protect the rights of homeowners. It is important to address these issues, since homeownership is a significant pathway to social mobility and economic stability. We recommend using the South Carolina Homeowner’s Association Act (House Bill H.3886) as a model for defining HOA processes with a pro-homeowner focus and increasing local regulation of HOAs.

Issue Brief: Homeowners Associations Across Texas 
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) have a long history in the United States, and can have a profound impact on the communities that they govern. The purpose of this issue brief is to detail information about HOA processes, current state and federal legislation, and issues facing Texas homeowners under HOA governance. Research suggests that HOA practices may exacerbate racial segregation, negatively impacting low-income and minority communities. With no regulatory body overseeing HOAs in Texas, there is a significant need for policy reform in order to increase the protection of homeowners across the state.

Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas - Part 3: Recommendations 
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Tracie Lowe, PhD; Lynn Huynh
This issue brief is the third in a series of three examining the state of affordable housing in Austin, Texas. This final brief gives IUPRA's key policy recommendations in regard to affordable housing. These recommendations are informed by the information and research outlined in parts 1 and 2. The three recommendations are to 1) Make the Austin Land Code more accessible to the community; 2) Reevaluate neighborhood plans, such as Neighborhood Conservation Combining Districts that serve to prevent the development of affordable housing in neighborhoods across Austin; and 3) Address misconceptions of what affordable housing is, and who benefits from accessing these housing options. More detail and rationale for each recommendation are included in the brief.

Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas - Part 2: Drivers of Housing Affordability
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Tracie Lowe, PhD; Lynn Huynh
This issue brief is the second in a series of three examining the state of affordable housing in Austin, Texas. In this brief, the authors give explain the factors that drive housing affordability and discuss the rising property values in Austin. They also give an explanation of the major obstacles to achieving affordable housing in Austin and Texas.

IUPRA Guide to Austin Land Code Definitions
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
As IUPRA continues to release research on housing affordability and development in Austin, it is helpful to understand the language surrounding the land code. This quick guide gives an overview of general and Austin-specific land code definitions.

Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas - Part 1: Overview
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Tracie Lowe, PhD; Lynn Huynh
This issue brief is the first in a series of three examining the state of affordable housing in Austin, Texas. As access to affordable housing affects all other areas of life, and therefore all other policy areas, it is crucial to understand housing terms, the current status, and the policies that shape affordable housing. In Part 1, the authors define affordable housing, who needs it, and the status of affordable housing in Austin. They then give an overview of local affordable housing policies and nonprofit organizations that provide or aid in affordable housing.

Understanding Housing Terms
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
To give context and understanding to our upcoming issue briefs on affordable housing, we put together this PDF of commonly used housing terms that are often confused or conflated. Get definitions and examples of affordable housing, workforce housing, and low-income housing.

Issue Brief - Payday Lending among Communities Impacted by Natural Disaster
Lauren Lluveras, JD
In this issue brief, the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis reviewed the following questions of whether communities recently impacted by a natural disaster (1) are more likely to seek out loans from payday lenders; (2) what the payday lender restrictions landscape looks like among the 44 Texas municipalities who have passed regulatory ordinances regarding these services; and (3) whether these consumers would benefit from an annual interest cap of 36 percent.

The State of Black Lives in Texas: Housing Report
Lauren Lluveras, JD; Susan Phan, MPAff
This report is the second in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas. The housing report takes a look at the impact of the recession, housing segregation and concentrated poverty, the affordable housing crisis, homelessness, and homeownership barriers. The authors provide an analysis of the available data in these areas, followed by key policy recommendations and priorities.

Those Who Stayed: The Impact of Gentrification on Longstanding Residents of East Austin Residents
Eric Tang, PhD; Bisola Falola, PhD
This report documents the voices of longstanding residents in East Austin on the impact gentrification has had on their neighborhood. 74% had an overall negative perception of the change. Main issues included a loss of sense of community and increasing property taxes. An addendum to this report was released in May 2018. The addendum further explored data about the amount of children vs. the amount of dogs in the neighborhood. You can read the addendum here.

Those Who Left: Austin's Declining African American Population
Eric Tang, PhD; Bisola Falola, PhD
Following the 2014 Outlier report that showed African American population decline in Austin for two decades, this report explores gentrification that happened and is happening in East Austin specifically by interviewing displaced African American families. Through these interviews, two major forces came up: unaffordable housing and dissatisfaction with Austin's public schools

Outlier: The Case of Austin's Declining African-American Population
Eric Tang, PhD; Chunhui Ren, PhD
Of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Austin, TX is only city experiencing net loss in African American population. In fact, from 2000-2010, it was the only major U.S. city to experience a double digit rate of general population growth coincident with African American population decline. And, African Americans did not choose to leave Austin so much as they were compelled to leave by structural forces creating inequalities. This report delves into the background of why and how this is happening. It is the first in a series on gentrification in East Austin.

The Lives of Blacks in Texas: Housing Conditions
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Seth A. Kessler, MPA; Chunhui Ren, PhD; Jennifer Alexander; Jemel Aguilar, PhD
Housing insecurity has impacted all Texans, but with a marked decline in African American population. This brief explores homeownership rates and housing tenure; home values of Afrian American homeowners; and housing cost burdens.

The Lives of Blacks in Texas: Demographic Trends in the African American Population, 1950-2010
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Jemel P. Aguilar, PhD; Jennifer Alexander; Chunhui Ren, PhD
The African American population in Texas has changed significantly from 1950-2010. Looking at these changes through a racial lens can help inform future policy in Texas. This report analyzes and compares U.S. census and ACS data.