Sky high

Austin rent prices soar to highest among big Texas cities, says new report

Austin rent prices soar to highest among Texas cities, says new report

Austin aerial skyline with bridges and Lady Bird Lake
Austin rent soared nearly 5 percent from 2017 to 2018. Ryan Conine/Getty Images

If you’ve found yourself a bit short on cash to splurge this year, we can serve up at least one possible reason.

A new report from apartment website RentCafé indicates rents in Austin rose 4.4 percent from December 2017 to December 2018. That represented the biggest one-year jump among the five largest cities in Texas.

During the 12 month span, the average apartment rent in Austin climbed from $1,304 to $1,361, RentCafé says. And in what should be a surprise to absolutely no one, Austin had the highest average rent of the state’s five biggest cities.

Looking at Austin’s big-city counterparts in Texas, Fort Worth posted the next highest increase in rent during the one-year period — 3.8 percent. Residents of Cowtown saw their average rent go from $1,043 to $1,083, according to RentCafé.

Next in line was San Antonio at 3.5 percent. The average rent in Alamo City crossed the $1,000 mark, moving from $982 at the end of 2017 to $1,016 at the end of 2018. Despite the increase, San Antonio still had the lowest rent among the state’s five biggest cities, the report shows.

In Dallas, the average rent crept up 2.7 percent, closing out 2017 at $1,151 and closing out 2018 at $1,182, RentCafé says.

Among the country’s 20 “mega-hubs” for renters, as characterized by RentCafé, the average rent in Houston inched up the least — 1.7 percent. Houston’s rent went from $1,075 in December 2017 to $1,093 in December 2018.

In the Houston suburb of Pearland, the average rent actually decreased during the yearlong period by one of the biggest percentages among more than 130 U.S. cities included in the report. The rent there slid 0.2 percent, landing at $1,275 in December 2018, according to RentCafé.

Nationally, the average apartment rent increased 3.1 percent over the past 12 months, from $1,377 to $1,419, RentCafé says.

“Healthy job creation, a robust economy, and positive demographic trends are promoting the formation of new households and stimulating demand for rentals,” Doug Ressler, director of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix, a sister business of RentCafé, says in a release.

Going forward, he adds, that will lead to low — and even declining — apartment vacancy rates in most markets.

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