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Is Austin rent relief in sight? Not so much.

Rates continue to rise in 2020

A three-story apartment complex with porches and balconies stacked in repeating rows and double gable roofs on top. The exterior walls are brick on the fist two floors and a yellow-beige stucco on the third.
Apartment prices are still on the rise in Austin

While the market for buying homes in Austin has been heated for the past several years and is expected to remain so, renting is proving an increasingly expensive option for residents who can’t or don’t want to buy. The city has been ranked among those building the most apartments across the nation and developers get permitted for new multifamily buildings at a steady rate, Austin’s rental market continues to be crunched—which means, of course, rising rates across the city.

According a just-released report from Zumper, an apartment-listing site that analyzes active listings that hit the market last month and aggregates them by city to calculate median asking rents, the price of one-bedroom units grew 0.8 percent, a median of $1,240, in January, while two bedroom units remained flat at $1,520. Year over year, that’s a 6 percent and a 4.1 percent increase, respectively.

Looking to the suburbs

While it might be worthwhile to look at the area suburbs for some relief—Austin did have the highest median rent in the metro area this month—rent in some of those areas is comparable. In Cedar Park median rent grew 1.8 percent last month, to $1,120, making it the second priciest city in the metro area. Georgetown was third, with median one-bedroom rent at $1,100.

The study ranks San Marcos ranked as the most affordable city, in the area, with one-bedrooms priced at a median of $900. Round Rock was the second least expensive, with rent at $1,020, and, with a median of $1,040, Kyle ranked third. Interestingly, however, Kyle’s rents rose fastest year over year, at around 7 percent. Austin, Leander, and Georgetown followed, with jumps of around 6.0 or just below since last year.

Rent Cafe, meanwhile, currently puts Austin’s overall average rent at $1,436 per month, a 5 percent year-over-year change. The site, which uses data from related company Yardi Matrix, put the average size of apartments in Austin at 865 square feet.

How prices compare nationally

Apartment List, a rental site that uses median rent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and its own listing data for its reports, released a report earlier this month that 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, according to the website, 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.