The City of Austin may provide developers with incentives—such as fee waivers, density bonuses, tax incentives, and development agreements—to build and to set aside affordable rental and ownership housing for low- and moderate-income households in developments.

Density Bonuses

Density Bonuses allow developers to build more units than are allowed by a site’s base zoning if the developer agrees to set aside a portion of units for income-restricted affordable housing or, in some cases, pay a fee, known as a fee-in-lieu. The affordable housing units must be income-restricted and leased or sold to a low-income or moderate-income household for the required affordability period. Examples include the Downtown Density Bonus, University Neighborhood Overlay (UNO), Transit-Oriented Development, East Riverside Corridor, and North Burnet Gateway Density Bonus.

Density Bonus Programs

The following documents relate to our Density Bonus Programs:

To apply for a Density Bonus Program, please email the completed application to

Affordability Unlocked

Affordability Unlocked is a development bonus program that waives or modifies some development restrictions in exchange for providing affordable housing. In return for setting aside half of a development’s total units as affordable, developments can receive increased height and density limits, parking and compatibility waivers, and reductions in minimum lot sizes. The program is designed to increase the number of affordable housing units being developed in Austin and fully leverage public resources by allowing housing providers to build more units in their developments when significant amounts of affordable housing are included. Please visit the Affordability Unlocked program website below for more information.  


SMART Housing

The City of Austin SMART Housing program provides fee waivers for development permits in exchange for onsite income-restricted units.

Apply for SMART Housing

To apply for SMART Housing or UNO certification, please visit the application website (Web).

Development Agreements

Affordability is also promoted through Development Agreements which may produce affordable units and/or fees-in-lieu. Learn more about the Current Development Agreements (PDF).


Funding options exist through the City’s Rental Housing Development Assistance (RHDA) and Ownership Housing Development Assistance (OHDA) programs. To learn more about the City’s RHDA and OHDA programs, please visit the program website (Web).