Apr 21, 2022 - News

North Texans are OK with tiny houses and duplexes in neighborhoods

Illustration of two houses in a neighborhood connected by a dotted heart.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Dallasites say they'd welcome tiny homes in backyards, and duplexes and triplexes in their residential neighborhoods to fill the need for affordable housing.

Why it matters: The Dallas-Fort Worth population is booming, and there simply isn't enough housing for everyone.

  • Apartments are about 98% full and there's about a one-month supply of single family homes. A six-month supply is the benchmark for a stable and more affordable housing market.

Yes, but: It's unlikely a modest increase in density would do much to alleviate the demand.

By the numbers: The percentage of homeowners who say they should be allowed to convert their homes to add housing units increased from 51% in 2019 to 63% this year, according to a new Zillow study.

  • 70% of respondents supported building accessory dwelling units — think small houses in backyards, garage apartments or “mother-in-law suites."
  • 60% supported building in-fill housing like duplexes and triplexes, and when presented with all three options, 72% of respondents expressed support.
  • More than half thought the added density would have a positive impact on the sense of community, access to public transit and more affordable housing options, but only 39% thought it would positively affect parking and traffic.

The other side: There was a generational divide on positive attitudes toward building small or medium-sized apartment buildings in residential neighborhoods among the people surveyed by Zillow.

  • 72% of Gen Z respondents said they would support a new apartment building versus just 40% of Baby Boomers.

What they're saying: People moving to Dallas want to live in popular neighborhoods, like North Oak Cliff, and there aren't many options for them, said David Noguera, Dallas' director of housing and neighborhood revitalization, at a recent panel on demolition and preservation.

  • "Replatting existing land, demolishing existing structures and adding density is one of the key ways they can move into your neighborhood," he said.

What's next: Dallas is considering amending its comprehensive housing policy to further incentive mixed-income development.

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