As more people move to Hays County, the issue of housing for all is a topic cities are battling, with each municipality subscribing to different plans to balance the market.
Kyle and San Marcos are the only cities within the county with local housing authorities working to manage and regulate low-rent, subsidized properties in their respective cities. Otherwise, subsidized low-income and affordable or workforce housing projects are passed through city governments on a case-by-case basis.
The need for subsidized affordable housing, such as Section 8 housing and workforce housing over unsubsidized alternatives, is debated, leaving the future of the housing market to be determined.
In 1980, 51 Section 8 housing units were built in Kyle for senior living and low-income residents. These units currently have wait lists as long as 41 months, according to the Kyle Housing Authority (KHA), which oversees the properties.
“Austin was much smaller when those were built, and housing needs were taken care of,” said Frank Arredondo, KHA executive director, said. “But with the population exploding, people are being pushed out of Austin. All we can offer them is what we enforced in the early (1980s).”
However, the definition of affordable housing differs for residents and homeownership may not be feasible for everyone.
Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said that, although there is a small number of subsidized housing options, he believes the housing market is able to balance itself out despite an influx of higher priced homes.
“Well, we as a region have to consider what our housing product mix is relative to the greater Austin area,” Mitchell said. “When you consider Kyle’s housing portfolio relative to other places, that’s when you start to understand whether or not our housing is affordable. With the exception of San Marcos, we are on the lower end for price points. We feel pretty good about that”
Recently, Kyle city leaders have approved developments that cater to executive-level housing. That includes homes in the Plum Creek Subdivision, the 6 Creeks Public Improvement District (PID), which are single-family homes priced above $200,000. City officials also approved the Kyle Dacy Lofts, which is a new workforce housing apartment complex subsidized by the federal government. Dacy Lofts serves residents who make less than $60,000 annually.
The average Kyle home however, is appraised at $158,400, according to latest reports from the U.S. Census Bureau.
A median-priced home in Kyle costs about $1,400 monthly in mortgage payments.
Those who cannot afford the average home in the area have limited options, according to the Kyle Housing Authority, especially since most homes available at this cost are older and in use.
“We do need more units,” Arredondo said. “But the problem extends to the national level as well. The HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) is receiving less in the budget and we have seen the decline in its funding over the last 6 years.”