🏠 Got $2K (or $13K!) for rent? Here's what you might find in Austin
- 6 min read

🏠 Got $2K (or $13K!) for rent? Here's what you might find in Austin

Plus, Tuesday is your last day to vote in the Texas Primary.

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Introduction

👋 Welcome to a new week, Austin.

Condolences if you've had to renew your lease recently. On the other hand, rent prices are going down. We've got more on that below.

Plus, tomorrow, March 5, is your last day to vote in the Texas Primary. Read on for more on why it's an important election and a tidbit on our favorite spring blooms.


Rent is going down. But what options are out there?

You've probably noticed rents aren't as heartbreakingly high as they once were. (They're now just heartachingly high.)

It's true. Austin rent has been slowly declining over the past year and a half. 

At the start of this month, prices were down about 6.7% compared to February 2023, according to data from Apartment List.

About the data: Apartment List’s rent estimates are based off of the median rent paid for new leases in a given market. It is calculated by combining data from the U.S. census and trends from its own listing data. Read more on their methodology here (I promise it's actually low-key fascinating).

So why is this happening? 

Short answer: Austin built a lot of apartments.

Between 2020 and 2022, Austin had more new apartments built (29,115 new units) than any other U.S. city, according to RentCafe. Another estimated 12,600+ units opened in 2023. 

That rapid increase in housing (a trend seen across the country) has resulted in cheaper rent for a number of metro areas, including Austin. 

Still, rents are much higher than they were just five years ago when the word pandemic was just a movie title or board game to most of us.

Between February 2019 and February 2024, Austin saw rent increase by 18%, which is lower than increases seen in Dallas (20%) and El Paso (35%). Although, rent prices remain highest in Austin compared to other Texas cities. 

In the U.S., more new apartments are expected to come online in 2024 than have been seen in decades, Rob Warnock, senior research associate at Apartment List, told us. This will be especially true for areas like Austin that have been friendlier to new construction. Thus, barring a rapid increase in demand, we’ll likely see rents continue to slowly decline.

So what is the median rent in Austin right now? 

According to Apartment List, a one-bedroom goes for around $1,304, a two-bedroom for $1,587 and the overall median rent price (regardless of bedroom count) is $1,472

We peeked Zillow to see what kind of listings were available at those price points. 

Be smart: It’s important to note that Apartment List’s rent estimates reflect prices paid by renters, not list prices, which can often be higher. Because they use data from the U.S. Census, their estimates also include rents for units that are not often listed on sites like Zillow (and are often cheaper, for example, rent controlled units or public housing). It’s also important to note that in our casual scroll of Zillow, there were a number of fully furnished, luxury rentals intended for short-term stays and not reflective of the data used by Apartment List.

One-bedroom: One-bedroom apartments within a $10 range of the $1,304 median (or cheaper!) are mostly clustered just south of Hyde Park and in the West Campus area, i.e. student housing. Too old to hang with the youth? You’re looking at something north of Highway 183 or at a few properties scattered along Highway 71 in the south. 

But, if you’ve got the cash to spend, the most expensive Austin one-bedroom listed on Zillow is at the Austin Proper Residences in downtown. A mere $6,500 will get you 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, a sweet view of Lady Bird Lake and on-call tailors and pet-sitters, among other amenities. 

Two-bedroom: Once again, on Zillow you’ll find over 1,000 units above Apartment List’s median price. Most within the median price range are clustered at or above Highway 183 in the north or at or below Highway 71 in the south.

On the cheap end, you’ll find more student housing or, if you want more space, look in South Manchaca for something like this 2-bedroom house. If you’re looking to splurge, how does a $13,275 luxury apartment downtown sound? Or maybe $9,800 for a fully furnished house in Clarksville that looks a bit like Cruella de Vil designed the interiors? (We're not judging. We're just questioning the use of that much black.)

Overall: If we open the search to include any-sized listing, we’re still left with tons of luxury listings far above Apartment List’s $1,472 overall median price. ($70K 30th floor penthouse apartment atop the Four Seasons hotel, anyone?). Apartments that do fall at or below the median price (just 913 out of 3,874 listings) are far more evenly spread across the city. You just might pay $1,300 for a studio apartment south of Oltorf St.

But you’d still be getting more bang for your buck than I got when paying $1,400 for a room the size of a Texas closet in SoHo. So we can always be thankful we're not in New York City, I guess.

-Cat DeLaura, reporter


Temperature: 80 degrees     Sun: Behind Clouds     What to Expect: Thunderstorms in the Afternoon

Dust off the umbrella as rain and storms are expected to move in during the afternoon. Some of the storms could be strong but don’t expect widespread severe weather. High temperatures will be on either side of 80 degrees.

Mary’s Tip: Take advantage of Mother Nature’s free water and set all your plants outside for a well-deserved drink.


Why your vote might matter more on March 5 than in November.

Fun fact: Almost none of the Texas congressional and legislative races — where we select the people who represent us in Washington and Austin — are competitive come November. So the March 5 primary is a really big deal.

Tell me more. Lawmakers redrew the state’s political maps during the 2021 redistricting cycle to make the districts safely Republican or Democrat. The GOP-led Legislature does that every 10 years to protect their majority (as many Republican majorities do in other red states, too, and Democratic majorities do in blue states).

In other words: In GOP-leaning districts, whoever wins the primary is all but certain to win the general election.

Cayla Harris with the Hearst Texas Bureau gets into the Primary nitty gritty here. And the League of Women Voters has a great sample ballot to get you prepped for the polls.


Hello, first Texas mountain laurel of the season

Purple blooms on a Texas mountain laurel tree.
Cat DeLaura/Austin Daily

Hi. It's Cat here. 👋 If you saw me on the edge of a road dancing last week, it's probably because I had just discovered a flowering Texas mountain laurel.

This is my favorite time of year in Texas, and mountain laurels are my favorite blooms of the spring. (Probably has something to do with the way their syrupy, grape juice scented blooms remind me of childhood and make me forget about all my worries. IYKYK.)

Did you know that their seeds, known as mescalbeans (no relation to the smokey drink), are poisonous AND were consumed during Native American ceremonies because of their powerful psychoactive properties?

Do you have a favorite flower whose appearance marks the arrival of spring for you? Send us pics and tell us why you love them. We want to hear and share the love.


Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura and Mary Wasson.