Affordable apartments heading to increasingly unaffordable East Austin

A loft project promising 90 affordable homes is coming to East Austin. DMA Development Co. LLC is expected to lay the foundation stone on the Talavera Lofts on East Fifth and Navasota Streets in early 2020. The project will be ready for occupancy in early 2021. The five-story building is west of the Plaza Saltillo S-Bahn station.

In a press release, DMA says 90 of the 92 units will offer rentals for people with incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the median income in the area. At 60 percent, the current median income for a family of four is $ 56,760 per year.

An estimate of what the rents will be is not available, although Janine Sisak, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of DMA Cos. Austin-based parent company DMA Development Co. says rents are based on published income data annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

She explains: “The rents we would calculate today are completely different from what we can calculate under the program when the units are ready to move into in two years.”

The Talavera Lofts designed by Nelsen Partners Inc. in Austin will mainly offer studio apartments and units with one, two or three bedrooms. The largest apartments will be around 1,200 square meters.

DMA has developed other affordable condo projects in the Austin area including Wildflower Terrace, Aldrich 51 and The Nightingale at Goodnight Ranch.

The Talavera Lofts project emerges as the Austin area continues to grapple with affordable housing.

An April report by Apartment List puts the affordability situation into perspective. At the time, the median rent for a two-bedroom Austin apartment was $ 1,426, according to Apartment List. This meant that a local renter would need a gross annual income of $ 57,040 to pay the rent at no cost – defined as spending more than 30 percent of gross income on rent. In 2018, the estimated median household income in Austin was $ 65,756.

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