Austin REALTORS® Leverages Multiple REALTOR® Party Grants in Support of Missing Middle Housing

Austin REALTORS® Leverages Multiple REALTOR® Party Grants in Support of Missing Middle Housing

February 2024

As one of NAR’s designated ‘Mega Boards,’ Austin REALTORS® (ABoR) is big, and it is busy.  Last year, beginning with its support for the City Council’s Home Options for Middle-income Empowerment (HOME) Resolution – initiating code amendments to reduce the minimum lot size to 2,500 square feet or less and allow for up to three residential dwelling units per lot – the association embarked on a series of efforts to spur an increase in sorely needed ‘missing middle’ housing.  Using a variety of REALTOR® Party resources, it is making great strides. 

Deputy Director of Government Affairs Taylor Smith explains that his team has been working closely with Austin’s elected officials to foster a better understanding of the local housing market – and what is missing from it.  “This began with strategic conversations, discussing our public policy priorities with Council Members, asking them what policies they were working on, and exploring what policy issues we could partner on together to advance.  We are also reached out to the community, to highlight the need for more housing in Austin, show the benefits of missing middle housing and what it looks like, and explain how allowing more housing will serve our growing population.”   

 In July, ABoR hosted the 2023 Central Texas Housing Summit with support from a Housing Opportunity Grant.  The sold-out in-person event was also streamed online, and featured a keynote address by the Mayor of Austin, updates on the economy and the housing market, and a high-level ‘Buy vs. Rent Index’ presentation by ABoR Housing Economist Dr. Clare Losey.  

In August, the association released a ground-breaking report called ‘The Truth About Austin’s Missing Housing,’ in which Dr. Losey’s research into housing supply and demand in Travis County and the City of Austin, across various price ranges and based on five distinct income cohorts, revealed a severe undersupply throughout the region.  The report also addresses common barriers to missing middle housing and provides actionable policy recommendations to correct the shortfalls.  In November, ABoR released a companion-report, ‘The Truth About Austin’s Missing Housing – District Level Analysis,’ breaking down the housing undersupply by the ten Austin City Council Districts and among five racial/ethnic groups.  

Throughout the fall, with support from both a Consumer Advocacy Grant and an Issues Mobilization Grant from the REALTOR® Party, ABoR conducted the ‘Attainable Austin’ campaign to educate the community and dispel misinformation about how proposed land use changes will affect Austin’s housing supply.  Turning education into advocacy, the campaign also equipped the public to contact City Council members and urge them to approve Phase 1 of the HOME Initiative: the code amendments that would permit three residential units by right on single-family zoned lots.  In early December, the Austin City Council approved the ordinance on a 9 – 2 vote.  

 “Support from the REALTOR® Party made it possible for us to move quickly and nimbly when we needed to,” notes Elizabeth Patton, ABoR’s Government Affairs Coordinator.  “And our elected officials and other community stakeholders have come to expect the Housing Summit every year, giving us a great opportunity to give them the lay of the land, as well as our recommendations.  It’s an important part of our advocacy, and we’re grateful for the help that the REALTOR Party provides for it!” 

To learn more about how Austin REALTORS® is leveraging multiple layers of REALTOR® Party resources to support the growing city’s housing needs, contact Deputy Director of Government Affairs Taylor Smith at or 512.533.4927; or Elizabeth Patton, Government Affairs Coordinator, at or 512.533.4913. 


  1. REPLY
    Kitty Wallace says

    This is incredible! This is our RPAC and Advocacy at work! Working with our legislators to help educate them on housing is crucial. Great job Austin!

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