Austin Apartment Rental Market Takes Off

(Austin is one of the hottest markets in the country for apartment rentals. And downtown Austin is particularly hot. We asked Marcelinda Hardy to share a bit about living in downtown Austin. -MoveForFree)

Austin hasn’t seen an interest in apartment rentals this high in more than 21 years. A local expert, Charles Heimsath of Capitol Market Research, has been tracking the number of people renting apartment in the city for more than two decades, and he has never seen the rate of apartment dwellers reach such a high. In fact, downtown is seeing a rental occupancy rate of almost 97 percent, nearly equal to the citywide rate of 97.8 percent, according to Capitol Market Research

Austin Rental Boom Not So Good for Renters

While this means great things for the city, it may not be such good news for the residents of Austin. Just like in all markets, when the demand is high, the prices start to soar. Since June 2011, the average rent has hit a record of $953 per month.

The city is trying to accommodate the need for apartments by constructing more than 10,000 units, but the need still outweighs the supply. This means that many people are starting to feel the financial strain the market is having on renting. It’s no surprise that many living in apartments are doing so because they can’t afford to buy a home.

Why Apartment Living Is in High Demand

With this boom in apartment life, you may wonder what created such a stir for it. It’s the city of course. Austin has seen a great bounce back from the recession. With job growth comes people seeking those jobs – to the tune of 50,000 people a year actually.

What Austin Is Doing about It

The city didn’t expect apartment life to explode as it has in the past couple of years, and with the recession causing a slowdown in apartment construction, it’s only understandable why there’s an issue with supply right now. Austin has taken aggressive steps to rectify the problem, so people can continue to join the city of growth and prosperity.

Capital Market Research found that there are 10,604 apartments currently being built. The planning commission has 8,800 apartments planned for the next several years.

What to Do About Renting in Austin

With all of the new construction and anticipation of more, many wonder if there will end up being an oversupply of apartments causing trouble for the selling market. Many experts refute this fear stating that the Austin population will continue to rise just as it has been.

Relief from rising rent costs isn’t expect to happen until well into 2013, and the city may not catch up to the demand until as late as 2015.

So, what should you do if you’re looking to move to Austin? Start saving money and look online for affordable rent. You may have to find places a bit further from downtown, or you may have to settle more a smaller place, but it’ll be worth it if you end up getting an apartment you can afford.

(Marcelina Hardy lives at The Austonian condos in downtown Austin. She seeks to inform people that when searching for rentals, Austin downtown condos for sale can be a viable alternative.)