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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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Austonia file photo. (Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.

The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.

Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.

The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.

No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.

According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.

Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be


The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.

Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.

Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."

"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.

This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.

Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.

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