Rental Rumblings

New study reveals how much income Austinites spend on rent

New study reveals how much income Austinites spend on rent

South Shore District Austin apartment rent patio downtown skyline Riverside
Many Austinites are still burdened by the cost of rent. South Shore District/Facebook

A new report from Apartment List delves into how rising Austin rents affect local renters. The apartment listing website analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from 2005-2015 and found that a whopping 48 percent of Austin renters were cost-burdened in 2015, meaning they spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent. The median monthly rent was $1,131, while median monthly renter income was $3,769.

Believe it or not, that's below the 2015 national average of 50.9 percent. And while Austin has seen ups and downs in the past 10 years — in 2014 more than half of Austin renters were cost-burdened — the burden in Austin actually has decreased since 2005. Then, 49.2 percent of renters were cost-burdened; the median monthly renter income was $3,134 and the median monthly rent was $907. 

Apartment List notes that Austin has fared better than other cities in the U.S., thanks to strong income growth. In the decade studied, local rents increased by 24.8 percent, and our income growth was right behind at 20 percent.

The trend was seen across Texas too. "Texas metropolitan areas generally performed very well. Rental affordability has improved in [Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio] over the past decade, and the 2015 numbers are all well below the national average."

But we aren't out of the woods yet. "Despite the improvements, affordability continues to be a challenge for millions of renters. Even in relatively affordable metros, cost-burden rates are significantly higher than the nationwide average from 15 years ago."