Pilot Project Hopes to Spur Construction

December 06, 2016 08:50 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- These are slow times for new housing construction in Austin … last year, just six new single-family homes were built in the city.

But maybe prospective builders just need some incentive.


“The program came out and it was like the timing was perfect for us and we jumped on a lot we'd been looking at," said Angela Harty.

It's a recommendation that came from a Mayor's task force on housing: "An abatement program that would abate ... city, county and school taxes on any new single family or multi family homes,” Austin City Administrator Craig Clark explained. “Property taxes would remain the way they are, but new added value would be abated over that new five-year period."

"Once that five years is up obviously we'd start paying taxes on the house," Angela Harty added.

"And if that house wasn't built because of the incentive not being there, they we would never be able to capture that value for the 35, 40, 50 years after the abatement expires," said city administrator Craig Clark.

Angela Harty and her family had been debating between buying an existing home, or building.

"And the program came out this summer and we purchased a lot two weeks later."

But she and her family have another reason to like the program – they operate Harty Mechanical.

"A lot of times in the past few years as a contractor we had to go outside of Austin looking for work because there hasn't been construction here."

And the city has already approved a handful of requests for new construction abatement.

"One in fact saying that they'd live in another community, so that's part of the goal, to make sure they're calling Austin home," City Administrator Craig Clark told us.

“So to have some sort of incentive to  spur that within our city I think is great," Angela Harty added.

The pilot abatement program runs through the end of 2019.


Dan Conradt

Copyright 2016 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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