Photo courtesy of Riata Austin

We all know what renters dream about when they’re not thinking about the logistics of owning a home: low rent prices with the perfect amount of space. In a city like Austin, that’s getting harder and harder to come by.

In fact, for renters who have a budget of $1,500 a month, the average apartment size they can get in Austin spans about 714 square feet. That’s according to a new study by apartment rental marketplace RentCafe. The study looked at data from their sister site, Yardi Matrix, to determine the average size and price per square foot for a $1,500 monthly budget in 200 of the largest American cities.

Austin is at the bottom of the list in the overall analysis of Texas cities with the smallest space for the price. In Killeen, which is only 70 miles north, renters can find apartments that span a whopping 1,095 square feet. San Antonio renters can similarly find apartments that are nearly 300 square feet larger for the same budget.

If you head to the Houston area, Pasadena residents get an average of 1,180 square feet of space for $1,500 a month, whereas renters searching for apartments in Houston proper will only get about 997 square feet.

Renters looking to live in Fort Worth or Dallas will notice a nearly 100 square foot difference between apartments, at 909 and 805 square feet, respectively. Residents can get the most bang for their buck in the suburbs with an average apartment size well into the 900-square-foot range. Mesquite residents, by far, get the most space, at 999 square feet, whereas renters in Garland and Arlington get an average of 937 and 928 square feet for the same budget.

Elsewhere in Texas, apartments in the Rio Grande Valley have the best price per square foot in the state. McAllen residents get the most space out of any other Texas city with an average apartment size of 1,471 square feet. Renters in Brownsville, which is 60 miles east on the border, can get a similarly sized apartment that’s 1,307 square feet for the same $1,500 a month budget.

Here’s how much space you can rent for $1,500 a month in other Texas cities:

  • Amarillo – 1,318 square feet
  • El Paso – 1,222 square feet
  • Lubbock – 1,218 square feet
  • Corpus Christi – 1,126 square feet
  • Grand Prairie – 873 square feet
  • Denton – 868 square feet
  • Irving – 848 square feet
  • McKinney – 809 square feet
  • Plano – 766 square feet
  • Frisco – 740 square feet

The full report can be found on rentcafe.com.

Photo courtesy of KVUE

Highly anticipated Austin skyscraper only half as tall as planned

not-so-tall order

What would have been the tallest skyscraper in the State of Texas has been cut in half to only 45 stories tall.

The Wilson Tower, which was first proposed in November 2022, was originally proposed to house 450 apartments, reach 1,035 feet in height, and break ground in the summer. Now five months later, the plans have been altered and the tower will only reach 45 stories.

The shortened plan comes three months after the tower failed to receive approval from the City of Austin's Design Commission to begin construction.

The denial from the commission, which was a nearly unanimous vote, required Wilson Capital, architect HKS Inc. and landscape architect Nudge Design to revise the project. The only board member who did not vote was Commissioner David Carroll. The rest of the board members stated that the skyscraper did not meet Austin's urban design standards.

Those standards included how the skyscraper would interact with the public and the floor-to-area ratio. The standard floor-to-area ratio is 8:1, and the developer requested 23:1.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash

Austin's apartment construction rate is the highest in the nation, says new report


If you think new apartment buildings have been popping up nonstop all around the city within the last couple of years, you’d be right. The Austin-Round Rock metro area is experiencing one of the biggest apartment construction booms in the nation, in an effort to alleviate an ongoing affordability crisis.

But while increasing multi-family housing is solving part of the problem, long term it keeps homeownership out of arm’s reach for younger Americans. That’s according to a new report from apartment rental “matchmaker” and marketplace Apartment List.

Austin has spent decades building more housing for its residents, and 2022 saw the highest number – 18.3 – of new unit permits being issued per thousand residents. Austin’s rate is three times larger than the average rate in 50 of the largest American metros.

The top five cities that had highest number of new unit permits issued per 1,000 residents in 2022 include:

  • No. 1 – Austin (18.3)
  • No. 2 – Raleigh, North Carolina (14.9)
  • No. 3 – Jacksonville (14.1)
  • No. 4 – Orlando (10.7)
  • No. 5 – Houston (10.5)

In Apartment List’s comparison charts, 2021 saw the biggest-ever leap in Austin-Round Rock area housing units permitted for the year, with 24,000 single-family permits and 26,000 multi-family permits issued.

2022 saw a dramatic decrease in both housing options with 3,000 fewer multi-family permits being issued for the year, and 4,000 fewer single-family home permits.

Furthermore, a majority of those housing permits issued last year were not in the city, but in the surrounding area. Only 43 percent of 2022’s housing unit permits were issued in Austin proper, which is a six percent increase over 2021. This spells out the struggle for affordability the inner city has experienced in recent years.

The year that had the most housing permits issued in Austin proper versus the surrounding area was 2013, at 57 percent. Those percentages have dwindled into the 40s since then, with 2021 being the lowest in the last decade.

Austin’s apartment construction boom has not shown signs of slowing, even with concerns about single-family home buying, according to the report. The city has topped the per-capita permit activity ranks for six consecutive years, and has never been outside the top three since 2006.

The full report can be found on apartmentlist.com.

Photo courtesy of TexasApartmentRentals.com

Austin rent prices increased nearly 10 percent from 2022, report finds


Apartment rent keeps going up in Texas, and in Austin the increase is nearly 10 percent more than last year, making it increasingly difficult to afford living in the city. That’s according to a new national rent report from online rental marketplace Zumper.

Despite rent increases showing a small slowdown month-over-month, overall prices are still on the high side from the previous year. For example, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Austin is $2,070 now, in March of 2023, which is a one percent increase from the previous month, but a nearly 10 percent increase from 2022 at 8.4 percent. The average rent for a one-bedroom is $1,670, which is a mere .60 percent increase month-over-month, but a whopping 7.7 percent increase from last year.

The report looked at rental data from more than one million active listings in the top 100 cities in the United States to determine the rankings. Zumper ranked Austin the No. 25 most expensive rental market across the nation in February of 2023, up two places from the last report.

The report attributes these recent rental increase trends to the nation's rising inflation rate and unpredictable economy. Though unemployment is low (less than 3.4 percent), potential homebuyers are being sidelined with increasing interest rates. This is causing more competition among renters all over the country.

“Many markets continue to either normalize or correct following the steep increases in rent seen in 2021 [and 2022] in the zero interest rate [and] QE environment we went through,” said Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades in the report. “With interest rates expected to rise further in 2023, we anticipate continued deceleration in rent rises as new household formation freezes or is at least postponed.”

Much further down the list from Austin is San Antonio, coming in as the No. 66 most expensive rental market, which is a three-place increase from a previous report. Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment stayed relatively flat over the last month, at $1,160, yet is still 7.4 percent higher than it was last year. Two-bedroom apartments saw a smaller year-over-year increase at 4.4 percent, with the average rent price at $1,430.

Several cities in the DFW metro area also made the list, as well as Houston (No. 51) and El Paso (No. 95). Most notably, Irving (No. 34) is experiencing a nearly 15 percent year-over-year rent increase for both one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The nine total Texas cities that made the list include:

  • No. 25 – Austin
  • No. 34 – Irving
  • No. 36 – Dallas
  • No. 40 – Plano
  • No. 51 – Houston
  • No. 55 – Fort Worth
  • No. 66 – San Antonio
  • No. 67 – Arlington
  • No. 95 – El Paso

The full data from Zumper’s National Rent Report can be found at zumper.com.

Photo courtesy of Northshore

Find these luxury Austin apartments in the heart of all the SXSW action

Welcome Home

Whether you’re visiting from out of town and considering making that big move or you’re a local looking to take life to the next level, you’ll find it all at Northshore.

And even better, this glamorous high-rise is right in the center of all the South by Southwest (SXSW) action.

The 38-floor luxury apartment building is already known for its stunning views overlooking Lady Bird Lake. But its location is desirable for several other reasons, chief among them being within walking distance — just a 12-minute stroll — to all SXSW activities at the Austin Convention Center.

Northshore also boasts easy access to all your downtown favorites, including ATX Cocina, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and dozens of other restaurants and entertainment possibilities.

Residents here enjoy a life of luxury, with Northshore’s eighth-floor amenity deck offering those aforementioned breathtaking views of Lady Bird Lake. Surrounded by cabanas and sunbeds, the infinity-edge pool and deck are a dream — and your ticket to a day-cay anytime.

Hang by the outdoor fire pit or one of the grilling stations and catch those gorgeous views, daytime or nighttime.

Every apartment home (whether it be a one-, two-, or three-bedroom floorplan) boasts modern interiors with floor-to-ceiling windows, generous walk-in closets, open-concept kitchens with premium granite or quartz countertops, and engineered hardwood flooring.

The apartments are pet-friendly, and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is just across the street for a nice trek with your furry best friend. Northshore also has its own in-house pet spa, so you can treat your pet to luxe pampering sessions.

While you’re at SXSW or one of its many late-night parties, you won’t need to worry about getting into the building or getting locked out if you lose your key. Northshore has a 24-hour concierge service that focuses on meeting your needs and making life as easy as possible.

Ready to see it all for yourself? Schedule an in-person or self-guided tour at northshoreaustin.com.

Northshore Austin apartments

Photo courtesy of Northshore

The high-rise overlooks Lady Bird Lake.

Photo courtesy of ECPR

545-acre development in Northwest Austin suburb gets county approval


It’s no secret that Austin’s rapid growth over the years has created a need for more housing, and one development company has headed west to accomplish this. Luxury real estate developer Areté Collective received approval from Burnet County for preliminary development plans for about 545 acres of Thomas Ranch lands in Spicewood, just northwest of Austin.

Located just half an hour from downtown Austin, Thomas Ranch is a 2,200-acre master-planned community that aims to provide “new and innovative housing options to the Greater Austin area,” according to Areté Collective CEO and co-founder Rebecca Buchan in a release. The initial plat, or property line maps, includes arrangements for 43 residential lots on nearly 27.5 acres of land, with the remaining acreage set aside for future development expansions on Thomas Ranch.

One of the milestone goals highlighted by Buchan is the collective's ability to make significant progress on the project after its acquisition just over a year ago. When it’s finished, Thomas Ranch will have 3,500 new housing units, a private club and golf course, schools, a resort hotel, and 250,000 square feet of commercial space for Austin businesses and restaurants in an anticipated walkable downtown district.

“We are committed to bringing a global expertise to collaborations with local leadership and business partners to benefit the local economy and community,” Buchan said in a statement.

Austinites will be able to take their pick from a variety of single- and multi-family homes, apartments, senior living, and affordable housing based at different price points. The ranch will also seek to provide residents with an “outdoor lifestyle” that displays the beauty of Lake Travis and the Hill Country, some of the most desirable Austin suburbs.

The final approval process for the Thomas Ranch development will begin later this year, after which the first sale of 450 private residential units will take place. More information about the development can be found at thomasranchtx.com.

An overview look at undeveloped Thomas Ranch

Photo courtesy of ECPR

Thomas Ranch will add 3,500 new housing units once the development is finished.

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2 Austin-area students advance to Scripps National Spelling Bee quarterfinals this week


The quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee start on Wednesday, May 31. But on Tuesday, May 30, two students from the Austin area made it through the preliminary round.

Twelve-year-old Tarini Nandakumar from Challenger School-Avery Ranch and 14-year old Shrethan Botla from Meridian World Middle School both had some pretty hard words to spell on Tuesday.

According to his biography on the bee's website, Botla ... started spelling in kindergarten, and his other hobbies include hanging out with friends and playing video games. He is also fascinated with medical science and hopes to be a doctor one day.

Nandakumar has previously competed in the bee in 2021, where she tied for 16th place, and 2022, where she tied for 49th place.

The bee's quarterfinals air from 7 am to 12 pm CST Wednesday on Ion Plus. The semifinals will air from 7 pm to 10 pm CST Wednesday on Ion, and the finals will air from 7 pm to 10 pm CST Thursday on Ion.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Pop culture provocateur Janelle Monáe brings her Age of Pleasure tour to Austin this fall

Lipstick lover

Janelle Monáe's upcoming Age of Pleasure album is already making headlines with her latest single (and music video) "Lipstick Lover." And thankfully for Austinites, we won't have to wait long after the album's release (June 9, via Atlantic Records) to watch it come to life on stage.

The critically acclaimed and award winning singer and actress will bring her Age of Pleasure Tour across North America later this year, with a 26-city lineup kicking off on August 30 at WAMU Theater in Seattle, WA. The Texas leg of her tour will include a stop in Dallas (October 9 at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory) before moving on to Houston's Bayou Music Center on October 10 and Austin's Moody Ampitheater on October 11.

Known worldwide for her inimitable style and visionary sound, Monáe is an eight time Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, producer, performer, and fashion icon. According to a release, she promises to light up your body, soul, and all of your senses with an unforgettable performance featuring songs off her latest album and classic hits from her discography.

Tickets for the tour go on sale Thursday, June 1, starting with a Verizon presale at 10 am local time; the exclusive presale via Verizon Up gives customers access to purchase presale tickets for select shows until Tuesday, June 6, at 10 pm. Additional presales will run throughout the week ahead of the general onsale beginning Wednesday, June 7 at 10 am on Ticketmaster.

The full list of tour dates is below:

Wed Aug 30 – Seattle, WA – WAMU Theater
Thu Aug 31 – Vancouver, BC – UBC - Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre
Sat Sep 02 – Portland, OR – RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater
Wed Sep 06 –Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
Thu Sep 07 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Sat Sep 09 – Kansas City, MO – The Midland Theatre
Mon Sep 11 – Minneapolis, MN – Armory
Wed Sep 13 – St. Louis, MO – Stifel Theatre
Thu Sep 14 – Chicago, IL – Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom
Sun Sep 17 – Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Mon Sep 18 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met
Wed Sep 20 – Montreal, QB – Mtelus
Thu Sep 21 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
Sun Sep 24 – Washington, DC – The Anthem*
Tue Sep 26 – New York City, NY – Radio City Music Hall
Thu Sep 28 – Brooklyn, NY – Kings Theatre
Mon Oct 02 – Charlotte, NC – Skyla Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tue Oct 03 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
Wed Oct 04 – Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing Company
Fri Oct 06 – Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre Atlanta
Mon Oct 09 – Dallas, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
Tue Oct 10 – Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center
Wed Oct 11 – Austin, TX – Moody Amphitheater
Sun Oct 15 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Financial Theatre
Tue Oct 17 – San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Wed Oct 18 – Inglewood, CA – YouTube Theater

* non-Live Nation date

Austin Airbnb prices are the 3rd most expensive in the U.S., report says


Summer has arrived, and so have the summer tourists. For visitors looking to stay within their budget while traveling to Austin, or those who are looking for a staycation in their home city, you might want to allocate a little more for lodging. A new study by business website ChamberofCommerce.org has revealed Austin has the third least affordable Airbnb prices in the country, and was the only Texas city to make the top 10.

For the last 12 months, the average rate for "all [Airbnb] property types" in the city was $373 per night. However, the study did mention a dramatic decline of nightly rates as of May 22 to $243. There are a total of 3,761 active listings around town, which means there are 606 Airbnbs per 100,000 Austinites.

Looking deeper into average rates, a one-bedroom listing will cost you about $127 per night, while a two-bedroom will set you back $203 a night. The study says the average nightly rate for a three-bedroom Airbnb is $297.

This isn't the first time Austin-area Airbnb prices have caught the eye of budget-conscious travelers. In April, a Forbes Advisor study discovered visitors pay an average surcharge of 33 percent for an Airbnb in the city. At the time of Forbes' study, Austin Airbnbs cost an average of $244 a night.

Overall, California dominated the top 10 in the Chamber of Commerce report with three cities total making the list, and Oxnard ranking ahead of Austin in first place.

The top 10 U.S. cities with the most expensive daily rates are:

  • No. 1 – Oxnard, California
  • No. 2 – Scottsdale, Arizona
  • No. 3 – Austin, Texas
  • No. 4 – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • No. 5 – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • No. 6 – Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • No. 7 – Nashville, Tennessee
  • No. 8 – San Diego, California
  • No. 9 – Santa Clarita, California
  • No. 10 – Miami, Florida
The next Texas city that appeared in the ranking after Austin was Houston (No. 27), with their average rate for any Airbnb type at $224. Over in San Antonio (No. 32), their average rates are even lower at $218 a night.

In a separate ranking of cities with the most Airbnb listings, Austin ranked No. 12. The report looked at over 160,000 Airbnb listings within the largest American cities, analyzing the average daily rate and the total number of listings per 100,000 city residents.