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65 percent of Austin renters plan to leave, says survey

Guess where they’re going

The rental site ApartmentList released its annual survey of renters in 50 major U.S. metro areas today, and it finds that more than 65 percent of Austin renters say they want to move out of the Austin metro area.

And, no surprise, 35 percent of those cite the cost of living here as the factor most likely to drive them out.

While the percentage of Austin renters who are looking to jet is only slightly higher than the national average (64 percent), it’s still almost two-thirds of that population—not an insignificant portion.

The two-question survey (“Do you plan on settling down in another city?” and “What’s your biggest reason for leaving?”) covered 24,000 respondents nationwide.

Affordability was the reason 35 percent of Austin tenants reported they were planning to leave, while job availability was a close second at 32 percent. Surprisingly, only 12 percent cited commuting time as their driving reason for impending departure.

And in where are these restless renters considering moving? In descending order of preference: Denver, Seattle, and Miami.

In most cities, it’s jobs rather than housing that’s the big sticking point: 34 percent of renters across every locale say they want to move somewhere with better job prospects (say, San Francisco or Silicon Valley).

But the cost of living in their present cities is still the second most likely complaint, as 30 percent of tenants nationwide say they hope to move somewhere cheaper.

Austin seems to buck the national trend of Sunbelt renters’ current tendency to stay put; ApartmentList reports that renters living in the Midwest and on the coasts are more likely to desire a move.

Local renters also tend slightly toward those of their coastal cohort in that their primary driver for relocation is affordability rather than a lack of job opportunities—the latter being the main reason cited by fellow inlanders.

Of the Apartment List renters looking to move to new metros, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Atlanta are the most popular destinations.