Austin Rent Report

Austin rents aren't rising as fast as you think, says new report

Austin rents aren't rising as fast as you think, says new report

South Shore District Austin apartment rent patio downtown skyline Riverside
Austin rent prices are steady right now. South Shore District/Facebook

Last week, Abodo released its midyear rent report, detailing rental price trends throughout the country during the first six months of 2017. Nationally, rents remained fairly steady from January to July — despite falling through March, the nation’s average one-bedroom rent eventually returned to $1,016, exactly where it was in January. As usual, cities like San Francisco and New York topped the list for highest median rent, with one-bedrooms going for $3,240 and $2,919, respectively.

But what about Texas? At $871, Texas’ average one-bedroom rent for the first half of 2017 was significantly lower than the national average. It changed an average of 1.12 percent over the year’s first six months, decreasing from $848 in January to a low of $829 in February, before steadily climbing to a high of $905 in July.

No Texas cities were included on the list of the nation’s highest rents, although one — Houston — saw some of the greatest average rent growth over the first half of the year, with rents growing an average of 3.8 percent per month. (They’re currently $1,053 in the Bayou City.) Two cities — Lubbock and El Paso — experienced some of the greatest average rental drops in the first half of 2017, with rents falling an average of 2.6 percent and 2.3 percent per month.

Rapidly expanding Austin, which saw its population grow 3 percent between 2015 and 2016, is no stranger to high rents. In recent years, exponential growth and constant development have sent rents soaring. But in the first half of 2017, things leveled off a bit.

Rent is still high, for Texas standards. The median one-bedroom price currently sits at $1,124, and a two-bedroom goes for $1,407 per month. But the first six months of 2017 were relatively steady.

From January to May, one-bedrooms actually decreased from $1,132 to $1,109, before ticking upward in June and July. Two-bedrooms fell from $1,430 in February to $1,401 in June, before creeping upward again in July. On the average, rents for one-bedrooms decreased .11 percent per month, and two-bedrooms fell an average of .28 percent.

Stability at a higher-than-state-average price point might be an indication that development in Austin is doing a good job of keeping up with — and perhaps even outpacing — demand. But rent prices could fluctuate mightily between July and August, when college students at the University of Texas return from summer break and lock down rentals for the academic year.