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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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