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Rent report: How Austin compares to other US cities

Let’s look at the numbers, people

Bright orange sign with white lettering that says “Lease Today” on tall building.
Buildings and rent, going up fast
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Austin tenants are well aware of the fact that rents across the city have been increasing rapidly over the past few years. Looked at month to month, however, rents have decreased slightly or remained flat since January.

Apartment List, a rental site that uses median rent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and its own listing data for its reports, puts Austin median rent for February at $1,192 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,470 for a two-bedroom, meaning the month-over-month change was flat.

However, when looked at year-over-year, Austin rents have increased by 3.3 percent since February 2019—that’s a relatively modest rise, but it is higher than the national rent increase for the same period, which is 1.6 percent, as well as the state average of 1.7 percent.

That doesn’t mean it’s the city with the highest rent in Texas, however. That honor goes to Plano, Texas, with a two-bedroom median of $1,474—$4 over the Austin median. Median rent in Texas cities drops a bit after the first two, with Arlington ($1,260), Fort Worth ($1,150), and Dallas ($1,140) rounding out the top five.

Where rent is rising faster

Interestingly, Austin is part of a phenomenon that is seeing rents grow faster across the Southwest rather than on the east and west coasts (which could be because rents are so astronomical in the country’s biggest cities that renters are tapped out, but we digress). Austin places sixth among the 10 large U.S. cities with the fastest rent growth since the same period the previous year.

How Austin compares to cities with the highest rents

The US cities that consistently have the highest rents—San Francisco and New York City—showed a slowdown year-over-year (though rents still rose, just not as quickly), with New York’s rising between 1 percent and 2 percent and San Francisco’s flat. Chartwise (and IRL, one supposes), the amount of rent drops dramatically after those two. Nevertheless, they all rose somewhat—Austin’s and Phoenix’s increases being the most precipitous.

Bottom line

Austin rent, while still not as high as that in many cities, is still rising faster than that of most.