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 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.

Austin renters see a tight squeeze with limited availability, says new report

Housing crunch

Many looking to rent an apartment in Austin might be having a hard time — and for those wondering why, Rent Cafe offers an answer in its end-of-the-year report on Texas' most-competitive rental markets.

In Austin, renters are mainly staying put, renewing their leases into 2023. According to Rent Cafe, nearly 60 percent of renters and apartment dwellers opted to stay where they were. That's creating a tight squeeze for would-be renters; for every available apartment, there are, on average, 12 renters vying to live there.

Rent Cafe also indicates that apartments in Austin fill up within 30 days and the overall apartment market finds itself at about 95 percent occupancy.

That's great news for rental property owners, even as it's likely causing stress for those looking to find new digs and aren't interested in home ownership.

Turns out, though, that Austin isn't actually the most competitive rental market in the state. That honor goes to El Paso, where there are 15 renters looking for every available unit. And available apartments in Sun City stay vacant for only 28 days.

In Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth, would-be renters are also finding things difficult. In Austin, 12 prospective renters are vying for every available unit, and those units stay vacant, on average, for only a month before someone else signs a lease.

In Dallas, there are 14 renters for every available unit, and those who spy a vacant apartment better grab it fast. Rent Cafe says the units in Big D stay vacant for only about 30 days, which is also the story in neighboring Fort Worth, where 13 prospective renters compete for every available unit.

So, why can't Texans find apartments in Texas? Blame supply and demand. There are more people looking to rent than are places to rent. Even though Austin increased its share of rental units by nearly three percent this year and Houston upped its supply by two percent, it's still not enough.

"Markets in Texas continued to attract out-of-state renters looking for better job opportunities and a more affordable lifestyle," read a summary of Rent Cafe's report.

The bright side to all of this? We're not Miami. The Florida city topped Rent Cafe's list of most-competitive markets, where 32 prospective renters are competing for every available unit.

Looks like the moral of the story is, Houstonians should be prepared to sign on the dotted line once they find that spot they love.

ejs9/Getty Images

Austin rent prices drop for first time since start of pandemic, report shows

Room for rent

Austin renters could soon see relief in monthly rates, according to a recent study by Apartment List, a research firm that studies rent prices across the U.S.

Overall, rent in Austin is still up about 24.7 percent since the start of the pandemic. But, in November, prices went down by about 1.2 percent, compared to a 1 percent decrease nationally. That's the first sign of a decrease since the start of the pandemic, according to Rob Warnock, a senior research associate for Apartment List.

Warnock said the decrease may be because of a broader macro-policy that the Federal Reserve has been implementing — and he said the market could cool off more.

"This isn't a storyline we've been able to say since 2020, which was really when there were plenty of other concerns on people's minds. So we're finally seeing some relief," Warnock said. "We expect it's probably going to continue to cool here as we're in the winter season. Fewer people move. There's typically less demand in the housing market right now."

Apartment List also recently provided rent data to the federal government to help adjust the fair market rent medians used to calculate things like Section 8 housing voucher amounts. Because of that work, Austinites on Section 8 could see an increase of around $150 added to the value of their vouchers for a one-bedroom apartment in 2023.


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

Photo courtesy of Northshore

Austin must-dos and amenities abound at ultra-luxe Northshore apartments

Welcome Home

Austin has a nearly limitless list of ways to go out on the town, every day and night of the week. But the Live Music Capital of the World also has an impressive luxury living scene that makes it just as alluring to stay in.

For next-level living right downtown, all signs point to Northshore, a luxe high-rise apartment complex with a sleek, modern mood. Here are 10 reasons why you'll want to call it home.

Luxe is standard in every apartment home
The one-, two-, and three-bedroom floorplans all boast spa-inspired bathrooms, large walk-in closets, Nest thermostats, open-concept kitchens with granite or quartz countertops, engineered hardwood flooring, and floor-to-ceiling windows that capitalize on panoramic lake, Hill Country, and skyline views.

The pool has vacation vibes
Surrounded by cabanas and sunbeds, the infinity-edge pool and deck are a dream — and your ticket to a day-cay anytime. Located on the eighth floor and overlooking Lady Bird Lake, this resort-style zone also boasts an outdoor fire pit and fireplace complete with gorgeous sunset (or anytime) views.

You can work out with a view
In addition to the poolscape, you can break a sweat while overlooking the lake at the 24-hour Technogym fitness club.

You can also easily WFH
Working from home is easy with three conference rooms, an iMac business center, and two private lounges for any biz meetings — or when you just need a change of scenery from that remote workstation in your apartment.

2nd Street is your next-door neighbor
Only a block away is the 2nd Street District, one of Austin’s top destinations for authentic community spirit in the form of live music, award-winning local fare, and indie boutiques.

One of Time’s Greatest Places is also next door
The 500,000 books are just the beginning at the six-story, LEED-certified Austin Public Library. There’s also an art gallery, an event space, a rooftop butterfly garden, a series of group-study rooms, the Cookbook Cafe, and more. And, yes, the library made Time’s esteemed list of World’s Greatest Places in 2018.

Mother Nature is never far
Northshore is near the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail as well as Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park, so you’re never far from finding some green space and channeling Mother Nature — even in the heart of the city.

Dinner is served, right downstairs
You don’t even have to leave home base to pick up dinner. Northshore’s ground level boasts ATX Cocina’s modern Mexican cuisine along with beloved taco joint Torchy’s, with even more eateries and retailers on the way.

You can have a Moody moment
The state-of-the-art Austin City Limits at The Moody Theater is within walking distance, which means easy access to its 100-plus concerts and live events every year, with no parking required.

The community amenities are endless
In addition to all the above, Northshore has 24-hour concierge services, pet-friendly facilities with a pet spa, valet dry cleaning, a private screening room, options for reserved and private garages, multiple grilling stations, and more.

Explore Northshore via virtual tour here, and schedule an in-person tour at northshoreaustin.com.

Cool off in the infinity-edge pool on the eighth floor.

Northshore apartments Austin
Photo courtesy of Northshore
Cool off in the infinity-edge pool on the eighth floor.
Courtesy of Wan Bridge

New build-to-rent development opens doors in booming Austin suburb

No for-sale signs

A Houston real estate developer that specializes in build-to-rent homes has entered the Austin market with a 48-duplex community in Georgetown.

The developer, Wan Bridge Group, says the three- to four-bedroom, two-story duplexes are going up at Georgetown Heights, which is sandwiched between I-35 to the southeast and Lakeway Drive to the northwest. The rental duplexes, along Northwood Drive, range from 1,496 to 2,580 square feet.

Monthly rents start at $2,375. Some residents already have moved into Georgetown Heights. A ribbon-cutting ceremony recently was held at Georgetown Heights, where construction kicked off last September.

“Residents can expect all the Wan Bridge trademark qualities like modern, thoughtful designs, high-quality finishes, excellent service from our property management service, and 24/7 maintenance,” Ting Qiao, CEO of Wan Bridge, says in a news release.

Qiao tells CultureMap that seven more Wan Bridge build-to-rent communities are in the pipeline for the Austin area.

Each home at Georgetown Heights features energy-efficient appliances, a two-car garage, a private yard, a “smart home” package, and an open floor plan. Property maintenance includes lawn care and pest control services, replacement of filters and lightbulbs.

Georgetown Heights helps meet the demand for housing in fast-growing Georgetown.

From 2010 to 2020, the population of the Williamson County suburb soared by nearly 42 percent. With a growth rate of 10.5 percent from July 2021 to July 2022, Georgetown ranked as the country’s fastest-growing city with at least 50,000 residents.

Founded in 2016, Wan Bridge already operates two rental communities in Dallas-Fort Worth and 11 rental communities in the Houston metro area (including one community that’s under construction).

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Dip your toes into these 7 Austin pools with passes, snacks, and summer events

Wet Hot Austin Summer

Memorial Day is here, which means so are the days of sitting in a lounge chair and sweating while looking unreasonably fabulous. Whether it's to beat the summer heat or to show off a new swimsuit, Austinites may have more options than they think to take a swim at the many pools around town. Even if you haven't committed to an overnight stay, most hotels offer day passes, and some even offer other deals or poolside programming.

One great way to find passes not just to pools around town, but also to spas and other hotel amenities, is to browse ResortPass. (Not sponsored, just cool.) There are 26 Austin options on the site right now.

But we wanted to let you know what's going on beyond the pass — who will set you up for a great meal, who lets you drink out of a coconut, and whose views (or lack thereof) provide the best ambiance for your day off. Some of our choices aren't even on the platform.

Go grab your sandals, and save us a towel.

Greater Austin YMCA
Let's start with the less glamorous before we break out the poolside fashion. The YMCA is a family staple for a reason, and if your goal is just to get in the water regularly throughout the summer, especially with kids, it's a great place to start. There are "interactive hours" at the outdoor pools (more fun than swimming laps) at the East Communities, Hays Communities, Northwest Family, Southwest Family, and Springs Family YMCAs, as well as the YMCA at Camp Moody. The Y is semi-affordable; It would probably be cheaper to visit a hotel pool once or twice, but a Y membership includes a month of access, guest passes, and much more, and may replace your gym membership for the summer. $69 per month, with age and household discounts. austinymca.org

Hotel Van Zandt
If your pool visit doesn't include spritz and giggles, why are you even there? Hotel Van Zandt is opening up its stylish rooftop pool for the "Spritz & Giggles Poolside Happy Hour & Sunset Swim" event series. Every Monday through Thursday, visitors can enjoy $8 frozen Aperol spritzes, $8 specialty cocktails, and a special pool menu with items like a refreshing green salad, pork belly al pastor tacos, and a spicy fried chicken sandwich. Geraldine's, the main restaurant, is right inside for even better drinks, expanded bites, and sometimes live music. Starting at $48 per day for adults, $15 for kids. hotelvanzandt.com

Carpenter Hotel
If one day at the Carpenter Hotel pool is just not enough, the hotel has now added monthly passes. In addition to unlimited access to the secluded pool in the Zilker neighborhood, a pass gets a $30 discount for the new monthly BBQ Pool Parties (bringing attendance down to $25). That will include a great spread of less commonly seen barbecue items like grilled bay scallops, mushroom skewers, elotes, deviled potato salad, and more. Monthly pass holders also get to bring one child under 8 for free. $40 daily, $200 monthly. Both Monday through Thursday. carpenterhotel.com

South Congress Hotel
The South Congress Hotel is right in the middle of where many Austinites want to be on a summer day, if it weren't so dang hot. This rooftop pool solves that problem in style, with daily pool passes every day of the week, as well as cabana rentals. Café No Sé supplies poolside drinks and snacks, and downstairs, Austin's Best New Restaurant Maie Day offers a hearty meal after a day of napping in the sun. Cabanas can be rented for four people and include self-parking, bottled water, and a bottle of champagne or bucket of High Noon. Days for $40 and cabanas for $300 on weekdays; days for $75 and cabanas for $400 on weekends. southcongresshotel.com

Hotel Viata
Hotel Viata is a bit of a sleeper hotel among Austin boutiques, as it's located a little beyond West Lake Hills. Still, if you want a taste of Italy, the drive to this retreat will be worth it. Not to mention, with the extra room these downtown hotels can't offer, a pool pass includes access to a hot tub, fire pits, and great views of the hills around the city. Pool passes are available, but if you want to see it for free before you spend, wait for June 10; The hotel invites guests 21 and up to check out the pool for free at the "Summer Festa in Piscina" party, with a "Taste of Italy" add-on ($55) for Aperol Spritz, limoncello lemon drops, and negronis all day. $45 per day for adults, $25 for children. resortpass.com

Wax Myrtle's
This rooftop bar and pool is known for its never-ending events calendar, and of course that energy extends to poolside entertainment. There will be live music on the weekends, plus live DJ sets on Saturday nights, alongside whatever other programming happens to be going on inside. Even if it's a do-nothing day, these large, over-the-top drinks will give you a delicious challenge. The "Boot Scootin Fruity" mixes rum, an aperitivo, hibiscus, and lime in a cowboy hat punch bowl ($90); the luxe "Mojito 75" combines Moët & Chandon with rum and mojito must-haves in a disco ball ($230); and an unnamed cocktail is worth trying just to enjoy it from a real coconut. Starting at $15 for adults, $10 for children, and more for daybeds and cabanas. waxmyrtles.com

Austin Motel
Perhaps one of the best known pools in Austin for its retro vibes, fun events, and accessibility to on-foot wanderers is the Austin Motel. This is a great, less expensive choice that's probably more fun for casual pool revelers who would feel a little put out by having to dress up and behave in a more luxe hotel setting. There are also frequent poolside events at this motel, like the free "Bounce Motel" series with live DJs, or the body-positive "Chunky Dunk." The pool is offers daily passes every day, even when there's nothing on the calendar. $25 on weekdays, $45 on weekends, or $600 in three-and-a-half-month "waves." austinmotel.com

Carpenter Hotel pool

Photo by Andrea Calo

Austinites don't need to stay at a hotel to be invited to the pool. (Pictured: The Carpenter Hotel)

6 Austin museums are offering free admission for military families all summer long

spread the museum love

Half a dozen Austin museums are honoring active-duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20 through September 4, 2023.

Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.

Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.

Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members – including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.

There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states two million have had a parent deployed since 2001.

"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the website says. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."

Among Austin's participating museums, the Blanton Museum of Art recently held its grand opening celebration to debut their new grounds, complete with a new large mural by Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera.

“As a museum that has long been at the forefront of collecting work by artists of Latin American descent, as well as the place where Ellsworth Kelly realized his last great work of art, entering the collection at this moment marks a high point in my long career," Herrera said.

Here's a look at all the museums in Austin that participate in the Blue Star Museums initiative.

For those looking to take a drive around Central Texas, the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum and Taylor's Moody Museum are also participants in the Blue Star Museums initiative.

More information about Blue Star Museums and a full list of participants can be found on arts.gov.

Awe-inspiring new exhibit debuts at the Alamo with sneak peek


Ask first-time visitors about their experience at the Alamo, and you're likely to hear a frequent refrain. Guests accustomed to hearing about the mission's heroic history are surprised that the grounds are so small. But that's slowly changing with ambitious plans to bring the site's original footprint back to life.

Starting May 25, visitors will get a sneak peek at the complex's newest structure, the Mission Gate and Lunette exhibit, before it officially opens in 2024. Funded in part by a $3 million donation from the Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation, the exhibition gives guests a broader understanding of the Alamo's scale.

The historical recreation was crafted by lauded San Antonio artist Carlos Cortés. A third-generation concrete faux bois artisan, his work is featured throughout the city, most notably on the River Walk, where his fantastical The Grotto greets thousands of Museum Reach visitors each year.

The life-size sculpture stands in for the original main gate of the fort at the southern boundary of the complex. Cannons and placards scattered throughout give crucial context to the structure. Though early renderings show the beams and spiked fence with more verisimilitude, the forms currently stand in ghostly concrete — inviting quiet contemplation.

When the exhibit is finished next year, guests will be more fully immersed in the hallowed grounds, which extend far beyond the walls of the iconic Church and Long Barrack. Coupled with the upcoming Alamo Visitor Center and Museum and the recently debuted Ralston Family Collections Center, it will turn the grounds into one of Texas' most awe-inspiring historical sites.

"We are deeply grateful to the Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation for their support of the Alamo and our ongoing efforts to preserve this important piece of Texas history," said Dr. Kate Rogers, Executive Director of the Alamo Trust, Inc., via a release. "Their generosity will allow us to continue to educate and inspire visitors from around the world, ensuring that the legacy of the Alamo lives on for generations to come."

Alamo Mission Gate and Lunette exhibit

Photo courtesy of the Alamo.

The Mission Gate and Lunette exhibit gives visitors an understanding of the original ground's scale.