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Texas Senate
May 3, 2023
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(AUSTIN) — With housing prices putting home ownership beyond the reach of more and more Texans, the Senate approved a measure Wednesday that would commission a study to find out how much of recent cost growth is due to large corporations increasingly purchasing single-family dwellings. Mineola Senator Bryan Hughes says more Texas homesteads are purchased by large corporations or institutions than any other state. "This picked up after the mortgage crisis in 2008, and accelerated dramatically in 2021," he said. "In fact, in 2021, did you know 28 percent of the homes purchased in Texas were purchased by large institutional buyers? That's the highest rate in the nation".

PHOTO: Senator Bryan Hughes of Mineola says the state needs to understand how large corporations buying up single-family homes is affecting the housing market.

Senator Bryan Hughes of Mineola says the state needs to understand how large corporations buying up single-family homes is affecting the housing market.

This problem isn't spread evenly around the state, some areas like Dallas and Tarrant counties are seeing nearly half of available properties purchased by these investors. Because these corporations have deep pockets, they don't need to seek financing and can pay cash for these properties, giving them a significant advantage when bidding against families looking for a home. Compounding the problem, Hughes says these entities often focus on buying lower priced houses in the "starter home" tier, preventing young and low- and middle-income Texans from purchasing their first home. Additionally, these companies may be increasing housing prices because they convert many of these properties into rentals, further reducing the supply of available housing. Hughes cited figures showing that 700,000 single-family rental properties in Texas are currently held by these large investors, with concerns that this could exceed seven million by the end of the decade - 40 percent of all single family rentals. "We talk a lot about affordable housing, about home ownership, we've all seen here, we've seen back home where that American dream of home ownership is further and further out of the grasp of so many Texans and so many Americans," said Hughes.

His bill, SB 1979, would attempt to help state policy makers get their arms around the problem by commissioning a detailed study from Texas A&M's Real Estate Research Center to compile data on how institutional buyers are affecting the housing market in Texas. Specifically, the study will analyze how many homes are bought and sold by these large buyers, numbers of institution-owned rental properties, where these properties are, and an estimate of the market value of these properties. "When we see this ballooning increase from large institutional investors, buying up homes, outbidding families for those homes, we want to know what's going on," said Hughes. "Homeownership: the foundation, the essence of the American dream. Let's find out what's going on so it doesn’t continue to get out of the grasp of so many Texans."

Also Wednesday the Senate passed a bill that would make it easier for students to transfer between school districts or to a different campus within a district. Parents may wish to move their children to another district, or campus due to services or programs offered, commuting differences, or a plethora of other reasons that one campus or district might serve an individual student better. Her bill, SB 418, would permit such transfers, subject to the capacity of the recipient district. If demand exceeds capacity, slots would be awarded based on a lottery system patterned after the one currently used for charter schools. Additionally, children of teachers or employees of the recipient district or campus would be given priority selection. Paxton says that this provision will attract more teachers to the profession. "This is a simple but very significant benefit and recruitment tool for teachers," she said.

The Senate will reconvene Thursday, May 4 at 11 a.m.

Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.