Mar 8, 2023 - Real Estate

Austin tops nationally for pet-owning renters

Illustration of a human hand and dog paw high fiving

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Austin is the most pet-friendly in the country for renters, per new research by real estate juggernaut Zillow.

The big picture: Pet ownership soared during the pandemic and the local real estate rental market remains pricey — so no one wants to resent their cat for preventing them from renting that perfect apartment.

By the numbers: More than four out of every five Austin rental listings allow pets, Zillow found.

Yes, but: Landlords often add fees and additional rent for tenants with pets.

Plus: A 2021 paper — "Pet-Friendly for Whom? An Analysis of Pet Fees in Texas Rental Housing" — co-written by officers at Austin Pets Alive! and the Austin Humane Society found that pet fees in Austin disproportionately target lower income and non-white communities.

  • High-end, pet-friendly apartments, which are more likely to be located in high-income and predominantly white communities, are less likely to have pet fees.
  • The steepest pet fees crop up in low income and predominantly Latino neighborhoods, per the researchers.

Zoom out: Per Zillow's latest Consumer Home Trends Report, 59% of renters nationally in 2022 reported having at least one pet, up from 46% in 2018.

What they're saying: "Pets are widely considered part of the American family, so it makes sense that they factor into moving decisions and impact housing preferences," Amanda Pendleton, Zillow's home trends expert, said in a statement.

  • "Renters with pets who are planning to sign a new lease this year face even stiffer competition because they are limited to apartments where their furry friends are allowed," she continued.

Between the lines: Pet-friendly filters are the most used among those searching for an apartment.

  • Twice as many potential renters filter for pet-friendly listings than for any other amenity on, underscoring the high demand for rental homes that allow pets.

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