Reasonable Rent

Austin declared more affordable for renters than this big Texas city

Austin declared more affordable for renters than this big Texas city

North Austin apartment Marq on Burnet
Austin renters are better off than those in Houston. Marq on Burnet/Facebook

Here's a surprise: Among Texas’ four largest metro areas, Austin's isn't the least affordable, according to new data from Apartment List.

That distinction goes to Houston, which ranks No. 58 among 100 metro areas for the affordability of rental housing. Dallas-Fort Worth is the most affordable (18th in the U.S.); San Antonio comes in at No. 38, and Austin ranks No. 40.

Apartment List, an online marketplace for renters, says rents in Texas are “moderately affordable,” with the cost burdens borne by renters in Austin, DFW, and Houston having fallen since 2005, whereas they have remained steady in San Antonio.

In the case of Austin, Apartment List says it and other tech hubs like San Francisco and Seattle have experienced rapid growth in rents, but incomes have jumped sharply as well, leading to a drop in the share of cost-burdened renters in those metros. That may stem, in part, from an influx of higher-income renters as some lower-income renters are being “pushed out.”

As defined by Apartment List, a cost-burdened renter spends at least 30 percent of his or her income on rent.

“Households that struggle to pay rent often cut back spending on other basic necessities and may ultimately face eviction, with lasting consequences,” Apartment List says. “The inability to pay rent in full is more common with low-income renters because unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs often leave these renters with little income left over to put towards rent.”

What follows are rent-affordability statistics for Texas’ four major metro areas. By Apartment List’s definition, a severely cost-burdened renter spends at least 50 percent of his or her income on rent.

Austin

  • Overall share of cost-burdened renters: 47.7 percent
  • Share of moderately cost-burdened renters: 26.5 percent
  • Share of severely cost-burdened renters: 21.2 percent

Dallas-Fort Worth

  • Overall share of cost-burdened renters: 45.3 percent
  • Share of moderately cost-burdened renters: 25.1 percent
  • Share of severely cost-burdened renters: 20.2 percent

San Antonio

  • Overall share of cost-burdened renters: 47.7 percent
  • Share of moderately cost-burdened renters: 25.8 percent
  • Share of severely cost-burdened renters: 21.9 percent

Houston

  • Overall share of cost-burdened renters: 49 percent
  • Share of moderately cost-burdened renters: 24.9 percent
  • Share of severely cost-burdened renters: 24.1 percent