CRE® Consulting Corps: Making a Difference in Austin, Minnesota

“Thank you for the report. I think this is incredibly helpful. It gives us a lot of information. A clear target. Something to measure and something to target . . . [as we seek] new developers to come in and build [more homes].”

Council Member Jason Baskin
Austin City Council

Download the final report.


The City of Austin. Located in southern Minnesota with a population of approx. 25,000, the City of Austin is an Upper Midwest regional center and home to Hormel Foods Corp. (a Fortune 500), a cancer research center, and robust agricultural production.


The existing housing stock is aging and in need of improvement. More investment in housing (ownership and rental) is needed to meet community needs and to support continued business growth. The City of Austin requested the CRE Consulting Corps bring its unbiased, objective perspective to identify barriers to new housing in the City, public and private financial tools and best practices from other communities, and present strategies to increase housing options and improve Austin’s housing stock.

Assessment and Findings

In November 2021 the Consulting Corps team visited Austin, toured neighborhoods, viewed new and planned projects, interviewed more than 25 stakeholders including elected and appointed officials, business leaders, and developers, property managers, and lenders; and reviewed demographic and financial data. The team’s analysis finds Austin needs 25 to 30 new houses, 30 to 40 new multifamily units, and 170 single-family rehabilitations per year, just to replace aggregate depreciation of the existing stock. With current new single-family development of approximately 12 per year and 85 rehabs per year, an additional 15 new single-family houses and 80 rehabs are needed annually. If population and employment grow, even more units will need to be built and renovated.


The Consulting Corps provided a set of recommendations for the City of Austin to improve and modernize the housing inventory, including increasing awareness among builders of low costs and community amenities; providing incentives for owners to invest in renovations; and considering creation of a dedicated housing director to lead and implement the efforts.

“The Consulting Corps experience is very rewarding because you can give back while expanding your own knowledge base.”

Wendy Timm, CRE, Austin Consulting Corps Team Member


The team was led by Steve Price, CRE, Seattle, WA. Panelists were Doug Prickett, CRE, Dallas, TX; Brett Pelletier, CRE, Boston, MA; Nick Tillema, CRE, Indianapolis, IN; Wendy Timm, CRE, Dillon, CO.

From left: Doug Prickett, CRE, Craig Clark, City of Austin, Holly Wallace, City of Austin, Nick Tillema, CRE, Wendy Timm, CRE, Steve Price, CRE. Not shown: Brett Pelletier, CRE. 

CRE® Consulting Corps Austin Team in the News 

The Consulting Corps Team