Austin earns costly ranking among least affordable U.S. cities for single renters
If you’re single and hunting for a place to live in Austin, renting may cost you dearly.
A recent report from the RentHop website shows that among the 50 U.S. cities with the biggest populations, the Capital City grabs the No. 28 spot among cities with the least affordable rent for singles. In Austin, a studio apartment commands median rent of $1,452 a month, representing 23.3 percent of the average income of $74,655 for a single person.
Local renters with a one-bedroom apartment are likely paying even more and may want to downsize to a studio, as Apartment List says studio apartments tend to be cheaper than one-bedroom apartments by about 5 percent.
“Studio apartments are usually ideal for a single renter in urban areas with high rental price tags. Opting for a cozy studio versus one-bedroom apartment could save you tons of money,” Apartment List says. “Of course, with those savings come sacrifices of space and privacy.”
While rents in Austin are on the rise, Wichita, Kansas, tops the RentHop list of affordable digs for a single person, with median monthly rent of just $500 for a studio apartment. There, a single person with an average income would need to spend just 13.6 percent of their income to live alone.
An apartment down the road from Austin won’t save you much, either, as San Antonio earned a No. 13 spot on the list. There, median monthly rent is $1,088, accounting for slightly more than 27.1 percent of the average income for a single person ($48,136).
Additionally, San Antonio notches a dubious second-place finish among the cities witnessing the biggest year-over-year spike in median monthly rent for a studio apartment in 2021. The increase in San Antonio was nearly 21 percent, just behind No. 1 Boston.
And in the Dallas area, Fort Worth appears at No. 15 on the list of the least affordable rent for singles. In Fort Worth, the median monthly rent for a studio apartment is $1,264, with singles typically spending 27 percent of their average income ($56,140) to live alone, according to RentHop.
Dallas is not far behind, landing at No. 17 for the least affordable studios. In Big D, median monthly rent for a studio apartment is $1,427, consuming nearly 26.5 percent of the average income of $64,734 for a single person, the report says.
Surprisingly, Houston appears at No. 9 in the ranking of the cities with the least affordable studio apartments. There, median monthly rent is $1,449, gobbling up a little over 28 percent of the average income for a single person ($62,003).
Arlington ranks first in Texas and 10th in the nation for the most affordable studio apartments. RentHop cites median monthly rent of only $790, with singles in Arlington spending a 19 percent share of their average income ($49,828) on rent.
For its Singles Index, RentHop combed through about 1.2 million studio listings on RentHop in 2020 and 2021, and paired that with income data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The RentHop Singles Index deviates considerably from a ranking published in January 2021 by Apartment Guide of the U.S. cities with the most affordable studio apartments.
To come up with its ranking, Apartment Guide looked at the average price of a studio apartment in cities with a population of more than 100,000 (a broader group than the RentHop report). Then, Apartment Guide ranked the cities with the highest percentage of studios that are cheaper than the city’s average.
On Apartment Guide’s list, Portland, Oregon, landed at No. 1 for the most affordable studio apartments. The highest-ranking Texas city was Carrollton, at No. 5.