Austin, TX, Single Family Development: One unit per lot.

Explore Austin, TX, single-family community development and discover how to scan markets based on zoning criteria.

It is no secret that single-family homes have become a favorite asset during the pandemic. 

I’ve lived in buildings my entire adult life. I loved the noise and energy of urban cores, walking to coffee shops and bars, taking public transportation, jumping around a city without worrying about a car. I never minded the sirens of NY’s Morningside Heights or 5:00 am drunken passerby in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth.  

During the pandemic, I experienced a sense of urgency for being as far as possible from other human beings. This feeling has not left me, even after vaccination. The thought of a hammock in a yard, the quiet wind, the sound of birds is now attractive. It could be coinciding with adulting, but it makes me wonder if society’s shift to single-family is here to stay. 

At Deepblocks, we’ve seen growing interests in community housing development. Last week, I prepped for a call with a residential developer interested in scanning Austin, Texas, for sites allowing 20-30 residential homes. Austin has 400 types of zoning, 137 of which allow for single-family development. Each one is unique in its rules and calculations. 

The challenge was creating a method for search that normalized the zoning for these specific criteria. I include the steps below. 

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Step 1

In the Market Scanner panel, searched by Uses Allowed for Single-Family.

Out of 2,790 parcels on the viewport, 1,844 allowed for single-family development.

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Step 2

Adjusted the min and max value of the Lot Size slider to 150,000 SF and 225,000 SF.

Guaranteeing at least 20 sub-parcels with Lot Sizes of 7,500 SF, but no more than 30.

Out of 1844 single-family parcels, only eight were large enough to fit the 20-30 sub-parcels. However, after clicking on the highlighted parcels, some allowed hundreds of units, while others permitted a single unit. This discrepancy caught my attention. If a three-acre property is zoned for one unit, the intention must include a subdivision.

Moreover, the market value for properties zoned for one unit was considerably lower than those with higher unit density ratios. Since I was looking to build precisely 20-30 homes, this was a great find. The key now was finding this type of property across Austin.

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Step 3

Adjust the min and max value of the Units Allowed to 1 and 2.

Guaranteeing the properties with the one unit per lot ratio.

Keeping the search criteria intact, I panned around the city of Austin to find similar opportunities. 

Until next time.



For more on this subject, check out our webinar focused on residential properties in Austin.

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