Austin rents have surpassed pre-pandemic levels after a temporary slump that was a rare boon to tenants. The most in-demand submarkets right now are:
This ranking is based on a combination of factors, including the average rent, rental rate growth and absorption, which measures how many units were leased against how many were vacated, according to a market report from ApartmentData.com.
1. Cedar Park / Leander / Four Points
Trail Oaks apartments in Leander. (Apartment List)
The top-ranked submarket has an average rental rate of $1.42 per square foot per month. The average size of an Austin apartment is 875 square feet, which would put a unit in this area at $1,242.50 a month, slightly less than the overall Austin average of $1,335.
Demand in suburban areas was growing pre-pandemic as renters were priced out of the urban core and only accelerated over the past year. "The pandemic really opened the eyes of Austin residents that there's a beautiful city outside of the urban core," said Cindi Reed, vice president of sales and development at ApartmentData.com.
Like the other suburban submarkets on this list, Cedar Park / Leander / Four Points offers a relatively affordable, family-friendly experience in beautiful the Hill Country only a short drive away from central Austin.
2. Downtown / South Congress / Barton Springs
The downtown rental submarket has rebounded after a pandemic-fueled migration into more suburban areas. (Emma Freer/Austonia)
The second-place submarket has an average rental rate of $2.57, which would put an average unit at $2,248.75.
Although the pandemic led residents to migrate out of downtown areas all over the country, demand is picking up as restrictions ease and urban amenities—bars, restaurants and crowds—regain their appeal. "Now that we're opening back up, you're seeing everything go right back to where it was," Reed said.
3. UT / Mueller
West Campus and the Mueller development came in third. (Mueller Austin)
The average rental rate in this submarket is $1.94, which would put an average unit at $1,697.50.
The return of students has helped buoy the rebound in West Campus, Reed said. The Mueller development similarly offers a central location and walkability. It also includes a diverse mix of Austin favorites such as Kerbey Lane Cafe, Torchy's and Alamo Drafthouse; plenty of green space; and fewer house parties.
4. Round Rock / Georgetown
Suburban markets, including Round Rock / Georgetown, are attractive to those renters who are priced out of more urban areas or want more space. (Bexley Round Rock)
The average rental rate in this suburban submarket is $1.36, which would put an average unit at $1,190—or $145 less than the greater Austin average.
Fast-growing Round Rock and Georgetown offer family friendliness, affordability and a small town vibe thanks to beloved institutions such as Round Rock Donuts. But they also benefit from being part of a major metro, with big-time employers such as Dell and Kalahari in Round Rock and AirBorn and St. David's Hospital in Georgetown.
5. Pflugerville / Tech Ridge / Wells Branch
Similar to Round Rock / Georgetown and Cedar Park / Leander / Four Points, the average rental rate in this suburban submarket is $1.37, which would put the average unit at $1,198.75 a month.
These northeastern suburbs also offer small-town charm—the first season of Friday Nights Light was filmed in Pflugerville—and affordability as well as relatively quick access to downtown Austin.
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Expect some whiplash this week, Austinites: with an expected high of 103 degrees, Monday is predicted to be the hottest day of the year, but a midweek cold front is on the way to bring that first glimpse of fall.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could see its first 100-degree temperature this year on Monday as temperatures citywide are expected to exceed this year's record of 102 degrees.
The cold front arrives Tuesday afternoon to evening.#atx #atxwx #cbsaustinwx https://t.co/rQni6ug3y4 pic.twitter.com/PoFeHPYtnM
— Chikage Windler WX (@ChikageWeather) September 20, 2021
After a typical summery Tuesday with highs in the mid-90s, Wednesday will welcome the first signs of fall as a cold front drops lows into the 50s.
Expect more wind and a chance of rain come Tuesday with a 40% chance of scattered storms. The cold front, which should last through Friday, will bring drier, crisper air that could cause fire hazards on Wednesday.
Highs will be in the upper 80s and lows in the 50s and lower 60s for the front's final two mornings.
After near record heat today, a cold front arrives tomorrow! Hang in there South-Central Texas, we have almost made it. pic.twitter.com/yd9UbNo7hY
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) September 20, 2021
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Around 75 dogs died in a fire Saturday night at Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown, according to the Georgetown Fire Department, leaving dozens of owners to mourn the losses of their furry companions.
The fire department arrived on the scene less than five minutes after 911 calls started flooding in at 10:56 p.m. At their arrival, they found flames and clouds of smoke, according to GFD Chief John Sullivan.
Twenty-five firefighters were on the scene, hoping to save as many lives as possible, initially trying to open some ventilation and control the smoke, though they were unable to save any dogs. Sullivan said his heart goes out to the families of the victims of the fire.
"I've been doing this for 29 years and this is the first incident that I've had where we've lost so many pets," Sullivan said. "I hate to use that term because, to me, a pet is a lot more than a pet—it is the closest friend. I wish I could convey my internal emotions adequately. I just wish I could go back in time to make it better."
Families of the fallen pets, who are believed to have died from smoke inhalation, have created a memorial outside the pet resort's fence complete with flowers, photos, notes and beloved toys of their friends.
No people were discovered at the scene—Ponderosa's boarding policies state that the staff feels that pets sleep better at night when no employees are there, so the pets are left unattended at night.
The fire department is still working to discover what caused the fire. Despite fire and smoke damage to the inside, the outer metal exterior survived the blaze. Based on the type of construction and occupancy type, the building was not required to have a sprinkler system.
"Quite frankly, I view my personal pet as probably my closest confidant, friend and the one that doesn't judge, so my heart just breaks," Sullivan said.
The fire claimed the lives of dog duo Bunny and Clyde, leaving owners and newlywed couple Don and Pam Richard devastated and angry KXAN reports, saying they wouldn't have left the dogs had they known they would be left unattended at night.
The Richard family is planning to petition the city of Georgetown, making it so that animals in professional care are never left unattended again.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."