In Texas’s capital city, what’s considered to be cheap rent? Austin, TX, locals won’t expect to spend nearly as much as their counterparts in other major cities on a reasonable apartment, but they might pay more than others in Texas.
Holy cow! The average rent in Austin, TX, is actually lower than the national average.
It’s actually 13 percent lower. That’s pretty cheap!
All costs together are lower than the national average by 6 percent. So there’s at least one metropolis that’s doing fairly well with a reasonable cost of living.
Let’s look at the numbers.
Here are some of the numbers on the average rent in Austin, Texas:
- Median rent costs are low, at $1,693 per month in the wider metro region and $1,782 per month in the city of Austin.
- Some estimate that the current average rent in Austin, TX, for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,203 per month. For a two-bedroom, it’s $1,575.
- The median home value is $247,500.
- Home values have increased by 8.7 percent in one year. For rent, there was an annual increase of 2.8 percent, which is only a tad above the national annual change of 2.6 percent.
- What if you have a roommate? The MIT Living Wage Index estimates a price tag of $8,352 per year on housing costs, which breaks down to $696 per one adult per month in the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos region. Single parents (with one adult and one child) should expect to spend at least $1,074 per month.
- Condos range in price. You can find one in the expensive downtown neighborhood anywhere between $300,000 and $1 million.
- In 2013, the city estimated that prices were at $2.40 per square foot in the downtown district.
- By far, the most expensive neighborhood is downtown Austin. In the summer of 2015, it had almost double the average rent of a bordering district: University of Texas-Austin. (That district was at $1,000 per month on average, and downtown was at $1,810 per month.)
Despite the fact that many locals complain about rent, the numbers show that Austin is one of the better major cities for that value. When you’re looking at the most expensive cities to rent in, Austin doesn’t even come close. If you want to feel better about it, just compare the average rent in Austin, Texas, ($1,693) to San Francisco ($3,357) or San Jose ($3,472).
However, the move may cause strife if you’re getting an apartment after living in any other city in Texas. Other cities in the Lone Star State have much lower rent costs: Dallas is at $1,510, Houston has $1577, and San Antonio costs $1,300 for their average rents.
So what’s the problem?
The problem comes when you consider whether or not your salary will go down when you’re looking for a good listing and trying to relocate to Austin, Texas. Rent may be low, but it spiked in 2015 and has climbed in recent years. According to recent Harvard studies, 49 percent of renters in Austin are spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Also, 26 percent of locals are spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent. After the big housing boom in 2015, many locals are cost-burdened. It’s so much of a problem that the local government has called it "an affordability crisis." Laredo and College Station have had it worse, however.
The bottom line is that renting in Austin, TX, may be relatively cheap, but you may still be spending 30 percent or more of your income on it. If you’re relocating for a higher-paying job, though, then you might very well come out ahead.
Take care when negotiating a relocation, and be sure to contact an expert or rental agent that can help you find a home, house, duplex, or room to rent that’s the best option and well within your budget.