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What $1,500 rents in Austin and other Amazon HQ2 finalist cities

Local renters aren’t lacking for space, relatively speaking

A concrete Art Deco building that says "CIty of Austin Power Plant" with Austin skyline in background
Downtown’s Seaholm mixed-use redevelopment
Larry D. Moore/Wikipedia

When it comes to the 20 places still under consideration for Amazon’s new headquarters, it stands to reason that cities’ average rental rates might play a factor in the lives of a projected 50,000 employees.

Based on that metric, Austin appears to be in pretty good standing—if size does matter, that is.

Online rental marketplace Apartment List crunched the numbers on thousands of rentals across the country for a study titled “Where do renters get the most for their money?” In order to indulge in random speculation about what that might mean for an HQ2 bid, we took a look at how the study shakes out for Austin and its 19 rivals vying to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

The company’s HQ2 finalist list is heavy on eastern cities, both mid-sized and large. When it comes to square-footage bang for your buck, Austin holds its own with much smaller cities, per Apartment List’s findings. It’s also included in the study’s finding that “apartments are bigger in Texas,” naturally, although the capital city is on the smaller end of the spectrum.

In Austin proper, the average rental price per foot is $1.47 (in the overall metro, it’s $1.28 per square foot), meaning that $1,500 monthly bags 1,020 square feet of breathing room.

Apartments costing $1,500 in Dallas are also sized at 1,020 square feet; in Houston, it’s 1,220, and in San Antonio, $1,500 gets you a whopping 1,480 square feet. (Although only Austin and Dallas are on the HQ2 shortlist.)

In New York City, another finalist, that rent gets a paltry 350 square feet. Other HQ2 rivals include the remaining top five most expensive cities for renters in the country (alongside San Francisco)—Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C, where $1,500 rents less than 600 square feet, or just over half of Austin’s space.