(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.
(Tito's Handmade Vodka)

Ingredients:

  • 750 mL Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 1 1/2 cup toasted pecans
Directions: Toast pecans in a 350°F oven until they become aromatic (about 5 minutes). Let pecans cool, drop them into a resealable jar, and fill with Tito's Handmade Vodka. Store in a cool, dark place for 1 month, if you can wait that long.

The challenge for all of us this Thanksgiving is letting go of what we've lost in this tough year and treasure what we still have.

We at Austonia are thankful for you. Since we launched our site in April, we've done our best to connect you to Austin, with stories ranging from the important to the delightfully superficial. Your response has been strong and we are grateful.

At this time of thanks, we have a variety of stories for you. Laura Figi writes about "a greener holiday," food trends, and Friday shopping. Emma Freer writes about a nearby annual Native American heritage celebration. And Roberto Ontiveros brings us a thoughtful piece that looks at the human toll of Austin's gentrification—the often painful flip side to having shiny new bars, restaurants, and apartments—in this case it's displacement of the Black community on East 11th Street. Finally, we ask you how you're celebrating the holiday this year.

Our best to you and your loved ones!

—The Austonia Team

You can now buy earrings designed by UT students at Kendra Scott

Small businesses have struggled through a long and arduous year, working to keep their livelihood afloat in a sea of uncertainty. This holiday season poses the opportunity to not only give gifts to your favorite people but also give back to your favorite local artists, Austin icons and small businesses.

Keep Reading Show less

Aztec dancers perform as part of the virtual grand finale of the Sacred Springs Power on Nov. 21.

Normally, the Sacred Springs Powwow draws a crowd of thousands to San Marcos, where it is hosted each year by the Indigenous Cultures Institute.

But this year's event, like so many others, occurred online. Sixty Native American dancers competed via streamed performances on Saturday, and vendors, singers and storytellers submitted videos for the audience to view at their leisure.

Keep Reading Show less
(Isabella Lopes/Austonia)
Austin's East 11th Street, with its brunch crowds and boutiques, is a slick and shining example of the gentrification that has taken over what was once designated by the city as the old "negro district."
Keep Reading Show less