Limited housing options impacting Kyle’s economy

An influx of single-family homes in Kyle could stunt economic opportunity for the city. At least that’s what some leaders believe.

As the city continues to grow, city leaders are taking a closer look at diversifying the city’s housing market in order to make Kyle a more attractive place for developers.

On May 28, Kyle Planning and Zoning Commissioners discussed Kyle’s future when they narrowed their goals on an updated 10-year comprehensive plan. During the last version of the plan, which was crafted in 2009, Kyle’s population hovered around 28,000 people. Kyle’s estimated population in 2018 was 46,874, according to the Census Bureau.

One way commissioners and city staff said they wanted to help the market was to explore various housing options, including tiny homes, as well as more apartments and townhomes. Howard Koontz, Kyle director of planning, said townhomes consist of a building with three-single family homes attached to each other. These homes would not be atop one another and would not qualify as duplexes or triplexes under the city’s current code.

In years past, however, townhomes have been placed on the Planning and Zoning agenda, but were regularly met with pushback from residents.

“Usually if a townhome project makes it in front of the council, the neighbors come in and talk traffic, crime and property values,” Koontz said. “We have a significant need for it. The strength of a neighborhood comes not from homogeny but from variety.”

Koontz said Kyle’s housing options do not fit the needs of a variety of buyers. A diverse housing stock and lower priced homes will attract more entry level buyers, as well as attract families and second-time home buyers, Koontz said.

That includes the possibility of more apartments. Koontz said apartments cater to those who might not be ready financially to purchase a home, or those who might be preparing to downsize.

P&Z commissioners said they are interested in formulating formal surveys in Kyle to get more information on what the community wants to see.

“If you want a community, they need these options,” Koontz said. “Having a more stable population in the city that is more resilient and resistant to the swing in the economy will be better for Kyle.”

Alison Ullom, Sky Realty area manager for Kyle, said Kyle’s current housing options work perfectly for the Baby Boomer generation that typically looks for a three-bedroom and two-bathroom single-story home.

However, Ullom said millennials are expected to outpace the previous generation in the home-buying market. The average home price in the area has increased by $53,000 since 2010.

“Millennials will soon be buying more homes and they are looking for lifestyle,” Ullom said. “Townhomes will work for them because they tend to be cheaper, lower maintenance and will allow the buyer more time at home and less time maintaining the yard and the structure.”

Final plans for Kyle’s comprehensive plan will include city leaders’ intentions in regard to economic growth and building. Koontz said he expects the plan to be finalized this fall.

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