Apartment Living in Austin
Finding the Right Apartment
Photo Courtesy of Greystar
Not surprisingly, many Austin transplants rent apartments when they first move to the city. It gives them time to get the lay of the land, settle into a new job, and get to know their new neighbors before locking in a home of their own. Quite a few Austinites continue to rent, even after finding their “Austin legs” because they’ve found their perfect apartment — and love it so much, they don’t want to leave. Moving across the country — or even just across the state — can be a huge decision. The solemnity of saying goodbye to friends and family, mixed with the excitement of starting a new life somewhere else, can leave you at your wit’s end. Making decisions about where and how to live your new life can be downright frightening. Finding a place to call home is challenging in any city, but with a little knowledge and a little help, transplants to Austin have some pretty good odds of doing just that.
The Apartment Market In Austin
Austin is one of America’s fastest growing cities. Since the year 2000, Austin’s population has increased by over 150 percent. Why are people flocking to Austin? Could it have something to do with the fact that it was named the 12th Best City to live in by Business Week and Bloomberg in 2011? Maybe it’s the 36.8 park acres per 1,000 residents, the great air quality, or the low 3.8% unemployment rate at a time when the national unemployment rate is 6.3%. Perhaps it’s the amazing music, nightlife, and culture, as some Austinites insist. Whatever it is about Austin that brings flocks of new residents to the area each year, one thing is certain: most of those new residents will be renting apartments, at least for their first six months to a year.
The cost of living in Austin is considerably lower than most big cities, as well as the national average. Sitting at a cost of living index of 95.4 (with the national average being 100), Austin is a very affordable place to live. There are no personal or corporate income taxes in the state of Texas, and the average annual state and local taxes in Austin are $3,440 — almost $600 below the national average. Home prices, however, have increased 6.6% over the last two years, compared to a national average of just 2.2%.
What does all that mean? It means that, while Austin is an inexpensive place to live, owning a home in Austin isn’t within everyone’s reach. Renting an apartment is an excellent alternative. Apartments offer Austinites “lifestyle, convenience, and flexibility,” according to Tiffany Walters, Senior Marketing Manager of Greystar Real Estate Partners in Austin. In addition, apartment renters can usually afford better amenities than they might in a single family home.
So what can you expect to pay for an apartment in Austin? “New one bedroom apartments in the suburbs run about $885 for a 650 sq. ft. apartment,” says Michael Reeh, owner and founder of Apartments HERE!, an Austin apartment locator service. Two bedrooms range anywhere from $1,000 to $1,400, and three bedrooms from $1,200 to $1,800 per month. How much for a one bedroom in Downtown Austin? Upwards of $1,500 —if you can find one that’s available.
The Austin apartment market is a competitive one. While the city’s population has boomed for decades, available housing has not kept up. Texas, as a whole, leads the country in building new homes, contributing 20% of America’s new homes (including apartment and condominium units). Austin, however, ranked 67th for new home construction during the same period. In the last few years, however, the city has been trying to catch up with its population growth by building apartment homes and residential towers. Of over 723,000 houses, apartments, and condominiums in Austin, more than 233,000 were built after 2000, ranking Austin 5th in the country for youngest housing stock. Apartments are popping up all over Austin. In addition to the 17,627 units that were under construction in 2014, fourteen new projects have already been approved by the city in the first quarter of 2015, and another 24 projects were submitted for site plan review. Austin’s building boom just keeps rolling along with no obvious end in sight.
Learn More About Austin Apartments:
Choosing the Right Austin Neighborhood (Learn about renting in the various neighborhoods of Austin.)
How to Find an Apartment (See some great tips for finding the right apartment home for you in Austin!)
New Affordable Housing (Austin has seen multiple affordable housing developments pop up recently.)
Renter's Insurance & More (Learn about renter's insurance, apartment regulations, and tenant rights.)
Renting an apartment in Austin is a great way to get to know the Live Music Capital of the World from the inside out. Apartment living is ideal for new Austin transplants, or veteran Austinites with an on-the-go lifestyle, where convenience and flexibility are a must. While Austin’s high-demand apartment market can make finding and securing a great apartment challenging, it’s easy to find local experts to help you. If you think the Austin apartment lifestyle may be for you, take that first step and start investigating! Thousands upon thousands of Austinites can tell you it’s worth it!
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