Feeling the pain

Startling study shows how many Austinites struggle to afford rent

Startling study shows how many Austinites struggle to afford rent

Austin skyline lake
Rent is a burden for many Austin residents. Photo by Katie Friel

When it comes to paying rent, many Austinites carry a pretty big burden, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by listings site Apartment List, shows almost half of renters in Austin — 49.3 percent — struggled to pay rent in 2018. The analysis is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Apartment List found 26.1 percent of Austin renters face a “moderate” burden, while the burden is “severe” for 23.2 percent. The website defines a cost-burdened household as one where rent eats up more than 30 percent of household income. A severe cost burden means a household spends at least half of its income on rent.

Median monthly rent in Austin grew 28 percent from 2008 to 2018, the report says, while median annual income for renters grew 23 percent during the same period. In 2018, the median monthly rent in Austin was $1,307, with the median annual income for renters at $51,442. 

Among the country’s 100 largest metro areas, 49.7 percent of renters were cost-burdened in 2018.

In Texas, the study indicates 50.4 percent of San Antonio renters were burdened last year, while only 47.2 percent of renters in Dallas-Fort Worth were burdened. Like Austin, Houston stood at 49.3 percent.