AUSTIN, TX — It’s no secret that fast-growing Austin is increasingly unaffordable to many residents. As property values soar amid brisk commercial development, an untold number of residents have been displaced from their homes — forced to move to the outskirts of town or downsize to more modest dwellings where they can find affordability.
While it’s no panacea, city officials released an affordable housing map on Wednesday that outlines portions of the city where residents are able to find more affordable housing. These aren’t full-fledged homes, mind you, but "units" — part of the industry nomenclature referencing apartments.
Alas, solving the housing affordability for single-family homes is an eminently more complex issue that would require creation of affordability zones throughout the city that would freeze rates within those buffers — a laborious, complicated solution offering no immediate relief.
Related story: Austin Still Most Expensive City For Apartment Rents, But Leander, Cedar Park Not Far Behind
But there’s that affordable apartments map at least to help low-income people find reasonably priced units. The guide shows the location of some 8,000 apartments classified as affordable. According to city officials, the average rent for a typical family of four is $1,000 monthly.
Close, but that estimate is on the conservative side. According to a study by apartment finding firm Zumper late last year, the average rent is actually closer to $1,090 monthly. According to the firm’s Metro Report, Austin retained the top spot in the metro area in terms of most expensive cities in which to rent an apartment, with Leander and Cedar Park not far behind.
In terms of least-expensive cities in the region, researchers found people would have to go as far as San Marco to find the cheapest rents. There, the average rent is $890 and it’s 31 miles to the south — a pretty brutal daily commute for those working in Austin. The cities of Jollyville and Georgetown tied for the second-least expensive with rent at $950.
Wells Branch, Round Rock, & Buda all ranked third on the affordable scale, Zumper researchers found, with one bedroom apartments priced just under the $1,000 threshold at $990.
If you think the average apartment rent in Austin is high, consider the price to buy a home in the capital city. According to a recent report from RealtyAustin the average price for single-family home in Austin (are you sitting down?) is nearly $400,000 now — the first time home prices have reached such levels and a 9.6 percent increase from May 2016.
Check out the city’s affordable apartments database by clicking here.
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