Denton City Hall

Denton City Hall

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect name for a consulting firm, as well as a typo in a quote from the consultants' report. The consulting firms, Reinvestment Fund and Atria Planning, reported that the city's housing challenges include affordability for lower-income residents, “many of whom are essential … as they staff food and entertainment venues or support university operations.”

Over the next five years, almost 9,500 rental and other housing units must be built as Denton continues to grow, according to a study by a pair of consultants hired almost a year ago by City Council members.

“The City of Denton’s housing market has been characterized by increasing demand and robust development activity in recent years, driven by access to jobs, locational amenities like restaurant and retail, and university students seeking off-campus housing,” the report by Reinvestment Fund and Atria Planning shows. “Denton has also faced some of the challenges inherent in strong housing markets.”

Those include affordability for lower-income residents, “many of whom are essential … as they staff food and entertainment venues or support university operations.”

The Denton-Record Chronicle reported in January that 67 properties — or about 2,411 units — are classified as affordable housing.

According to data provided by the city, of the 54,438 properties in the occupied housing inventory in Denton, 27,907 are rental units — or 52%. More than 2,000 properties are vacant.

“Home prices have increased significantly in the past decade, limiting housing options for potential buyers,” according to the report. “Owners who earn less than 80% of the [area median income] cannot afford to pay more than $200,000 for a home and have few affordable options in Denton.”

According to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, the median price of a home in Denton is $280,000. The median household income for Denton County is just over $60,000, U.S. census data shows.

Those who cannot pay more than $200,000 for a home loan include “young professionals” such as web developers, city firefighters and librarians and members of the clergy, the consultants’ report shows.

“Market rents are also unaffordable to many necessary workers earning less than 50% of [area median income],” according to that report.

That figure is $43,110. Those at that income level cannot afford to pay more than $900 a month in rent.

“This includes necessary workers key to Denton’s economic vitality, including retail clerks, cashiers, restaurant workers, childcare workers, and health aides who cannot afford a moderately priced one-bedroom” property, according to Reinvestment Fund and Atria Planning.

Market rent is the amount landlords expect to receive based on rent charged for similar properties in the area. The average monthly rent in Denton is about $1,300.

The Reinvestment Fund and Atria Planning study also takes into account subsidized rentals through the Housing Tax Credit Program. Those are “typically affordable to residents earning 50%-80% [area median income].”

Furthermore, affordable ownership opportunities, according to the study, can be created without subsidies by increasing the supply of condos, townhomes, accessory dwellings, duplexes and triplexes.

Vote on interim city manager

Denton City Council members are scheduled to discuss the study during a work session at 2 p.m. Tuesday. During the regular meeting that follows, they are also scheduled to vote on a resolution to appoint an interim city manager to replace Todd Hileman.

Hileman formally announced Friday that he’s leaving Denton after about four years to become the city manager of Palm Desert, California. His last day here, according to that announcement, is Feb. 28. Hileman’s first day on the job in Palm Desert is scheduled for March 1.

PAUL BRYANT can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @paulbryant_DRC.

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