AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As housing becomes more expensive and harder to find, the Amarillo City Council heard recommendations for creating affordable housing on Tuesday.
Community Development Services presented a study on the Amarillo housing market at Tuesday’s regular meeting, sharing the supply of available homes and rental properties before handing over a list of items the council could act on to help.
Steve Spillette, the president of CDS, said as more people move to Amarillo, the housing supply is extremely limited. That includes rental properties as well.
“We’re fortunate that your apartment rents and other rents have not gone up too much for the population that needs to rent right now but the market is very tight,” said Spillette after the council meeting.
He also said home prices are much higher. According to Spillette, in 2011, nearly half of homes sold in Amarillo went for less than $125,000.
“Year-to-date 2021 with our data, that had shrunk to 17%,” he said. “So those price ranges in the lower end have been shrinking dramatically.”
Spillette said now, home prices are moving into the $200-300k range.
“Our findings make us very concerned that for your core workforce, first-time homebuyer that they’re going to have a very difficult time finding houses that they can afford going forward, as prices keep going up,” he added. “And the cost to build a new home continues to go up.”
CDS recommendations to the Amarillo City Council included helping to make land and lots available for more attainable housing by upgrading infrastructure.
“Either new infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, or the rehab of existing infrastructure in the older areas of your city,” Spillette said. “Removing or mitigating that cost burden on the developers and builders, who then can better provide somewhat lower priced housing without having to deal with those costs.”
He also said the council could help to streamline the regulatory processes for those construction projects.
“…not introducing any additional otherwise unwarranted costs to the development and construction process through delays or uncertainty and they’re having to get special zoning variances or other go through rather special processes.”
The council is taking the recommendations from the CDS study and will have a further discussion before taking any action.