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Austin renters plagued with higher rents, fewer deals heading into summer

The Austin-area rental market continues to improve after a pandemic slump, in part due to the extreme growth of the local housing market. (Pexels)

The Austin rental market continues to see average monthly rents and occupancy rates creep up after a pandemic slow down that offered rare relief to tenants.

The average monthly rent in the Austin metro is now $1,371, up from $1,275 in June 2020 and $1,291 in 2019, according to the June market report from ApartmentData.com. The occupancy rate is 90.7%, which is slightly higher than last June, when it was 88.9%, and slightly lower than in June 2019, when it was 91.3%. These changes have coincided with a lower rate of concessions, such as one-month-free specials and other discounts. Around a quarter of units are rented with concessions as of this month, compared to 31% in May and 37% in April, according to the report.


Cindi Reed, vice president of sales and development at ApartmentData.com, attributed the rebound to a variety of factors, including a strong job market, company relocations and the local housing market. "There's such a shortage with residential homes," she told Austonia late last month. "People moving here, wanting to move into homes, are being forced to move into apartments."

Up until early this year, the local rental and housing markets were on divergent post-pandemic paths. Renters were more likely to have suffered job loss as a result of the pandemic or to work in impacted industries, such as hospitality. A glut of new construction in recent years also meant that supply outpaced demand.

The housing market, on the other hand, saw increased demand due to continued job creation, especially in the tech and professional sectors; a millennial-heavy population, with many members starting families and looking for more spacious residences; and record-low inventory.

Now the rental market is rebounding, in part due to the scorching housing market. The five most popular submarkets over the last three months include:

  1. Cedar Park / Leander / Four Points
  2. Round Rock / Georgetown
  3. I-35 South
  4. Southeast / Riverside Drive
  5. UT / Mueller

Suburban markets continue to attract renters who have been priced out of the urban core or are looking for more space. Urban core markets, on the other hand, are seeing increased demand after a mass exodus during the pandemic. With the reopening of urban amenities—bars, restaurants and crowded venues—they have regained their appeal. "Now that we're opening back up, you're seeing everything go right back where it was," Reed said.

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