Density of New Development

Density of New Development

Building Permits

  • Single-family residential permits were trending steadily upwards for 15 years until 2006 when they began a sharp decline, along with multi-family permits.
  • Despite recent declines, Austin was ranked the #1 healthiest housing market in 2010 by and Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, based on the number of permits issued in 2009.

Building Permits

Density to Preserve Farmland

  • Rural residents reported the highest percentage unwilling to accept density in order to protect natural and farming land, although rural respondents’ perceptions have changed since 2006.
  • The percentage of suburban residents who “somewhat agree” with accepting density has increased from 2006.
Density to Preserve Farmland

Survey Question: Agreement: I am willing to have more people live in my neighborhood so that less natural land or farming areas have to be developed.

2000 – 2010 Residential Growth in Austin

  • Darker shades on the map indicate census tracts with higher levels of residential growth.
  • The bulk of new residential growth is taking place on the urban fringe, in the city’s extraterrestrial jurisdiction (ETJ), indicating low density development and sprawling urbanization.
2000 - 2010 Residential Growth in Austin

Data sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Capital Area Council of Governments and City of Austin


The recession severely slowed new development across the region, but the region continues to add significant units in and outside of incorporated areas.


Development is encouraged in appropriate areas to ensure affordable infrastructure, preserve open space, promote ecosystem health, minimize pollution, and support economical and efficient transportation.


Density has many definitions and to be done successfully must be designed to optimize many location factors such as schools, mobility networks, public safety, and patterns of health, as well as economic costs and benefits of infrastructure and tax base.


Municipal Comprehensive Plans


The decennial census provides a snapshot of population and housing, especially for areas not otherwise assessed on a regular basis, such as unincorporated areas of Texas counties.

U.S. Census Bureau

CTSIP Community Survey