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26% of Fort Worth’s single-family homes are commercially owned

New homes line the street in Fort Worth's Northside neighborhood in June 2024.
Camilo Diaz
Fort Worth Report
New homes line the street in Fort Worth's Northside neighborhood in June 2024.

More than a quarter of Fort Worth’s single-family homes are owned by commercial interests, according to a city staff report that analyzed data from the Tarrant Appraisal District.

Of the 247,485 single-family residences on the district’s April property roll, 26%, or 64,372 homes, are owned by a corporation or other business entity. The city report classified commercial properties as those with owner names that include acronyms such as LLC or INC, those without a homestead exemption, and those for which the property address does not match the owner’s address.

The other 183,113 single-family homes in Fort Worth are labeled as owner-occupied, meaning that the owner has a homestead exemption, their address matches the property address, and the owner’s registered name does not indicate commercial ownership.

What do those numbers mean? Simply put, high commercial home ownership rates mean many low-income families and first-time property buyers will be, or already are, priced out of the homebuying market, said John Laudenslager, the owner of real estate agency Black Tie Real Estate.

The average Fort Worth home value is $309,191, according to the Zillow Home Values Index. High prices, coupled with high interest rates, are contributing to an affordable housing crisis in the city.

Although nearly 65,000 homes are labeled as commercially owned in the report, Christianne Simmons, chief transformation officer for the city’s FWLab, clarified during a City Council meeting June 4 that not all of those homes are being operated commercially.

The city report provides only an estimation of home ownership rates, Simmons noted. Although each property owner is named on the appraisal district’s property roll, there is no explicit criteria determining whether single-family homes are actually occupied by their owner or being rented out in a commercial capacity, according to the report.

Mayor Mattie Parker said prospective homebuyers shouldn’t be alarmed by this data, as it provides an incomplete snapshot.

“There’s a lot of heightened awareness around affordability, especially in the state of Texas and in Fort Worth, and there needs to be,” Parker said. “I think we all should be concerned when there’s many stores across the country that have large hedge funds purchasing large swaths of neighborhoods — and we do have some of that in Fort Worth. However, I don’t think it’s systemic.”

Laudenslager said there’s not much city leadership can do to mitigate commercial home ownership. However, some potential options to increase housing affordability include implementing down payment assistance programs for low-income homebuyers or even extended mortgage periods.

“There’s very little a municipality could do because the cornerstone of our economy is private ownership of property,” Laudenslager told the Report. “It’s so baked into the Constitution.”

Instead, homeowner associations could create possible solutions by writing or rewriting bylaws that would deter commercial homeowners from their neighborhoods, Laudenslager said. For example, they could state that no property in the neighborhood could be commercially rented out within the owner’s first year of ownership.

Otherwise, if city leadership is concerned about housing affordability and availability, they can work to loosen zoning restrictions, Laudenslager added. Allowing denser, small-scale single-family homes — and multi-family housing in neighborhoods that are currently zoned for single-family homes — would create additional options for both renting and buying.

Council member Gyna Bivens encouraged city staff to “dig deeper” into available data to analyze the housing market and how commercial home ownership can impact the Fort Worth housing market.

Several council members, including the mayor, requested that city staff present further information at future council meetings.

Cecilia Lenzen is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or @bycecilialenzen on X. 

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.