Oct 12, 2021 - Real Estate

Austin slammed by skyrocketing rents

Illustration of apartment doorbells with an intercom shaped like a dollar sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The cost of rent in Austin has spiked 25.8% over the last year as the housing squeeze trickles down, an October market report by ApartmentData.com shows.

Why it matters: Central Austin home-buying was already a pipe dream for most teachers, nurses and other middle-of-the-road earners. Now, there's a risk that rents will grow out of reach for more people, accelerating the middle class departure to the 'burbs and adding to Austin's inequality gap.

  • The consequences have been excruciating for renters.
  • "I think I almost cried," Linda Lee, 70, told KXAN over the summer after she learned the rent on her South Austin apartment was increasing nearly 35%. She said she considered coming out of retirement to keep up with the cost.

By the numbers: The average 875-square-foot unit is going for $1,535 a month — up from a shade under $1,300 a year ago.

  • Austin’s average square-foot-per-month rental rate ($1.75) outstrips Houston’s ($1.31), San Antonio’s ($1.31) and DFW’s ($1.54) — none of which has seen rental rate growth over 17% this past year.

The bottom line: There appears to be no relief in sight, as Austin’s population continues to boom, driven by young professionals and companies like Tesla flocking in from the coasts.


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