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Austin Rent Comparison: What $1,500 Gets You

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a column that explores what one can rent for a set dollar amount in various Austin neighborhoods. Is one person's studio another person's alley flat? Let's find out! Today's price: $1,500

It comes as no surprise that a "teeny tiny studio" (hey, they said it) in the brand-new Corazon apartments would come in at the top of the price range. The self-aware description of the 503-square-foot apartment, positioned at hip East Austin ground zero, was a fun surprise, though. "If you're going to overpay because Austin is super gentrified and expensive—you might as well overpay for the best," reads the Craigslist description. With concrete or wood-styled floors, in-unit washer/dryers, granite-and-stainless kitchens, a rooftop deck with stunning views, and an all-breed dog approval program through Austin Pets Alive, it definitely sets a bar. Of course, the nightlife below and years of construction to come on Saltillo Plaza, across the street, could get on the nerves. That's what earplugs are for, one supposes.

Of course, as Tower of Power taught us, "what is hip" can change from time to time. Not too long ago, the most sought-after type of post-college/pre-family rental was an older house—preferably in South Austin—with lots of character, wooden floors, a scruffy yard and porch or patio, maybe a couple of roommates. You can still come by that in the 78704; this bungalow replaces the descriptor "old" with "retro" but offers the requisite floors, Deco-style bathroom, chill backyard, and plenty of quirk. No dogs, though, what? The cat policy might be a bit looser, if photos are any indication.

Renters seeking more swank a stone's throw from a Dillards would do well to check out these luxury apartments in the Arboretum area. Appointed with up-to-the-minute fixtures and features, these units are part of a community formed around upscale shopping, fine dining, and its shared outdoor kitchen—poolside, of course.

Staying north but moving east turns up a nice 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath house for $1,430/month. With an entrance that brings to mind Tony Soprano's Jersey home (not necessarily a bad thing), it skews more country/classic on the inside. Recently remodeled, with wood floors, large living areas, a big laundry room, and a garage, it looks to pack a lot of suburban-style bang for the buck—maybe due to its Rundberg-adjacent location, or maybe just because it's in an area that's not on a lot of radars.

Compare, for instance, this Tarrytown 1BR, which doubtless benefits from its retro charm and that of its traditionally monied-but-modest neighborhood. For $1,275, you get some classic features: wood-style floors, exposed brick walls, cute vintage bathroom tiles, and a general sort of aspiring-1950s-actress vibe—plus the compound accepts dogs with no breed restrictions. But, yeah, a lot of the appeal is in the address. And that's okay.