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Austin rents show seasonal slowdown

Yearly growth rate is among highest in nation, however

Red brick apartment building with large corner metal-walled decks
Condo apartments in Bouldin Creek
Dick Clark

What’s the state of Austin rent in the new year? It depends on what study you’re looking at.

Yes, January rent reports are in, and so far, things might be looking up (for renters, that is). Of course, winter is a slower time for both renting and buying homes in Austin, so it might be too early to get those hopes up too high (again, for renters—just switch it all around for landlords).

How high?

According to a report from real estate listings and research site Zumper, rents for Austin one-bedrooms remained flat, at $1,230, in January. Rent for two-bedroom units decreased 0.9 percent, to $1,520

Zumper’s report, which covers 100 U.S. cities and uses data aggregated from its active listings, ranked Austin as the 29th most expensive city to rent in last month—a notch down from December’s 30th place.

The report puts national median rent for one-bedrooms at $1,217, a drop of 0.4 percent, and shows two bedrooms decreasing 0.3 percent, to $1,460 for the month.

How fast?

Apartment List, a similar site, puts Austin median rent for January at $1,192 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,471 for a two-bedroom—a flat growth rate compared to the site’s December numbers. (Apartment List uses median rent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and its own listing data for its reports.)

Looked at year-over-year, rents in Austin are up 3.1 percent since January 2019, giving it the sixth-fastest growth rate among the nation’s large cities. According to AL, the national rent index grew by just 1.4 percent over the past year. Rents in Austin have been outpacing the national average for growth over the past six years, with a rate of 15.9 percent, compared to the national average of 11.3 percent.

In terms of national rent trends, Apartment List puts Austin fifth on its list of rent-growth rates in large American cities.

Zumper’s national index shows similar numbers for 2019, putting year-over-year rent across the country down 0.4 percent, to $1,217, for one-bedrooms and down 0.3 percent, to $1,460, for two-bedrooms over the past year.

Its report finds Austin rents, by comparison, increasing 0.8 percent for one-bedrooms and 1.3 percent for two-bedrooms since last year.

How the numbers add up month to month

Abodo, another national listings and rental research site, breaks down the numbers a little differently in its year-end report for 2019—getting granular with average monthly changes throughout last year, as well as year-over-year numbers for January 2020.

Its numbers show Austin’s 2019 average one-bedroom rent was $1,276 and increased an average of 0.57% every month. Its two-bedroom average for last year is $1,586, with an average monthly increase of 0.20 percent.

For 2020, Adobo puts average one-bedroom rent at $1,298, a 0.08 percent decrease from December, and two-bedroom rent at $1,589, or 0.06 percent less than last month’s average.