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(Peter French/CC)

COVID-19 has certainly made its presence known in the Austin real estate market, creating ripples that could potentially last for years to come. Although home ownership is rising here in the capital of Texas, rent is on a decline that could be attributed to the virus.


A new study done by RENTCafe declared that Austin rent has fallen by 4% since this time last year, sitting just below the national average.

In October 2019, the average rent cost in Austin was around $1,442 per month and followed a steady, albeit gradual, decline in March, when pandemic restrictions were issued. This October, rent averages clocked in at $1,385.

RENTCafe noted that despite Austin being a renter-majority city, with 55% of residents renting, and a business hub, rent is still lower than the national average.

Although the differences are modest, Austin's average rent dropped below that of two neighboring cities: San Marcos, whose average dropped 0.6% to $1,443, and Leander, whose average increased 4.3% to $1,408.

This is the biggest rent and occupancy dip Austin has seen in 10 years, according to the Austin-American Statesman. Apartment occupancy rates are parallel to what they were in 2002.

Theories on why the drop occurred include unemployment rates and loss of income due to COVID-19, renters deciding to buy and the construction of new apartments, adding thousands of units, in the area.

Inversely, the Austin-area home ownership rate—or the portion of homes that are owner-occupied—is higher than it has been in over 12 years, at nearly 75%.

Austin is not alone, as major cities like New York City and San Francisco are seeing rent drops as well.

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Whether you became a home chef when the pandemic began or have always enjoyed crafting delicious meals, it’s undeniable that no home is complete without a cozy kitchen.

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(Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook Off/Facebook)

Sample some spirits
When: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Desert Door, 211 Darden Hill Rd. Driftwood
What: Attend Desert Door Distillery’s first Explorer Series of 2022. Guests will be able to sample Caliber on its own or in a delicious cocktail.

Eat some chili
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sagebrush, 5500 S. Congress Ave.
What: Enjoy great chili and great music at the 14th Annual Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook-Off. All proceeds will be donated to Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in memory of Nick Curran.

Enjoy some local art
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St.
What: The Neil-Cochran House Museum will host a multi-media art exhibition by Austin artist Nell Gottlieb, titled “Land as Persona: An Artist’s Journey.” Gottlieb works in multiple media to reexamine her coming of age, white and female in the Jim Crow South.

Catch some improv comedy
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: GameOn! ATX, 1515 Dungan Ln.
What: ColdTowne ThrowDowne is an improv comedy tournament between troupes that will take place in front of a live studio audience and streamed live to the world on Twitch.

Catch a Johnny Cash-style show
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Georgetown Palace Theatre, 810 S. Austin Ave.
What: Experience music history with a unique musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family set to the tune of the legendary Johnny Cash.