Texas is facing a housing crisis, with Austin at its forefront, leaving many residents without affordable housing options and driving people out of their homes with astronomical rent increases. This crisis has begun to spread into the realm of mobile and tiny homes as well, which many considered the last available affordable housing options for low income residents.
The housing crisis in Austin was brought on by a shortage of housing and dramatic increases in prices. According to the Austin Board of Realtors, the median home sale price in April within the Austin city limits was $640,000, a new high. The rents in Austin have increased as well, with a one-bedroom in Austin as of June 2022 renting for $1600, a 24% increase compared to last year. If no action is taken by city councils and lawmakers, this crisis could result in more and more people being priced out and losing their homes.
While this affordable housing shortage has been plaguing Austin for some time, it is increasingly affecting mobile and tiny homes, a trend that is seen across the country as well. According to KXAN, as demand/costs rise and the supply of homes dwindles, the price of a tiny home has gone up by roughly $40,000. The mobile home market faces a similar upward trend, with investors even coming in and pricing residents out. With mobile and tiny homes previously being the most affordable option for home ownership/rentals, this upward trend in prices showcases a worsening housing crisis that is leaving the most vulnerable Texans unable to afford housing.
This phenomenon has been seen nationwide, as investors eye mobile home parks as new lucrative real estate opportunities. While many mobile home occupants own the manufactured home they live in, they do not own the land it’s placed on. Private equity firms and developers are increasingly purchasing these properties – driving up land rents and pricing mobile home owners out of their means. In the United States, 20 million Americans live in manufactured homes, making this new development in the nationwide housing crisis specifically detrimental to the lowest income and most vulnerable families and residents.
As the housing crisis rages on, lawmakers and city council members in Austin must act swiftly to research and implement solutions to the affordable housing shortage. Without concrete solutions or actions, Austin risks further deserting and alienating their most vulnerable residents, as rising costs price them out of their homes and livelihoods.