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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The operators behind ATX Cocina are serving up more Mexican dishes with the recent opening of Bulevar in Northwest Austin, featuring wood-grilled meats and plenty of drinks.
Partners Larry Foles and Guy Villavaso have teamed up again for a restaurant with a variety of "masa, meat and margs." The menu has appetizers like machete and queso and dinner dishes that include duck mole, roast chicken and wood-grilled meats like a Berkshire Tomahawk pork chop.
Kevin Taylor, the executive chef at Bulevar, noted that he was raised in a family-operated Mexican kitchen and learned to cook with locals during trips to Mexico. Bulevar's masa is even made in-house from Oaxacan corn sourced by Masiena.
"Each dish on the Bulevar menu is a combination of what my travels have taught me, my upbringing in a Mexican kitchen and my inspiration from the legends of Mexican cuisine,” Taylor said in a press release.
Located at 9400 Arboretum Blvd., the building was once the site of Z’Tejas, which will close its original location on West 6th Street to make way for a new MML Hospitality development.
Happy hour at Bulevar is from 4-6:30 p.m. with a bar that has 150 mezcal and tequilas from Mexican distilleries on top of other spirits and wine.
The restaurant, which includes a large wood-fired grill and sunset views, is open daily for dinner until 10 p.m. Brunch and lunch services are expected to begin soon.
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