Rental Rumblings

What Austin renters love and hate about the city, according to new survey

What Austin renters love and hate about the city, according to survey

Austin skyline downtown Lady Bird Lake Town Colorado River kayaking
Despite the terrible traffic, Austin still makes the grade with local renters. Congress Avenue Kayaks/Facebook

With nearly a half-million people moving to the Lone Star State each year, Texas is near the top of the list of states with the greatest number of new residents. And a deeper look at the things residents love shows that people are moving to the state for more than just the mild winters and killer food.

Rental search site ApartmentList.com analyzed responses from over 45,000 respondents nationwide to determine the best cities for renters. In Texas, Austin (A-minus) and San Antonio (A-minus) earned the highest grades from renters, with Houston (B-plus), Dallas (B), and Fort Worth (B) also earning above-average scores from locals.

Far and away, the biggest reason people love Texas is the stellar job market. Among the top five Texas metro areas, Austin got an A-plus grade on jobs and career opportunities, but all of the major cities did well in the jobs category. San Antonio got an A, Dallas and Houston each received an A-minus, and the lowest grade of B-plus in Fort Worth was still none too shabby.

Those seeking a great social life outside of work will also find it in Texas, making the state a great place for overall quality of life. All the major cities in Texas scored in the A range for social life, with residents in San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin all giving their cities an A grade. Houston and Fort Worth still performed admirably in this category, each earning an A-minus. With the ideal combo of a great job market and lots of things to do, it’s no surprise that many are drawn to Texas to enjoy the same.

Plus, Texas residents and businesses aren’t bearing the heavy tax burden seen in other states. More California residents have moved to Texas than residents of any other state, and the tax rate could be a factor. Dallas and Austin both earned an A-plus grade in the state and local taxes category, while Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth each earned an A.

Regarding transportation, only Fort Worth received an A in commute time, while San Antonio and Dallas each got a B-plus. But Houston earned a B-minus grade in commute time, and Austin got a D grade, reflecting residents' unhappiness with the traffic. 

And unlike congested cities in other parts of the country, Texas doesn’t have a great public transit system to add much relief from busy commutes. San Antonio and Dallas are making efforts to improve public transit, but they still only received B grades — and they were the best of the pack. Houston got a B-minus, Fort Worth got a C-plus, and Austin got a dismal D grade.

Austin residents are trading long commutes and less affordable housing for great job opportunities and a top-notch social scene. The Capital City got an A grade in both social life and recreational activities, as well as an A-plus in pet-friendliness.

Texas, in general, ranked very high in the ratings. At the state level, Texas earned an A grade, ranking eighth out of the 50 states, and it earned an A-plus for jobs and career opportunities and a B-plus for affordability. While residents seem pretty happy with what Texas has to offer, commute time (C-plus) and public transit (B-minus) were the areas of most concern to Lone Star renters.