Austin rent prices declined this past year, data shows

Austin rent prices have been on the decline since last year, according to a June 11 report by

In the study, analysts evaluated property rent prices for studio, one and two-bedroom apartments from May 2023 to May 2024 across the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the nation. According to the findings, the national average rent this year was less than last year’s for the 10th month in a row. Although rates dropped, they are still 21.5% higher than pre-pandemic prices.

The data also showed Austin had the largest national decline, with rent prices falling by 9.3%. Nashville and San Antonio followed the city in the ranking.

Jake Wegmann, associate professor of community and regional planning, said the decrease is related to an apartment construction surge in the Greater Austin area. He said since there are more available apartments with similar offerings, landlords reduce prices to attract renters, helping low-income earners secure housing.

“Even people at the bottom, from what I’ve seen, are getting some relief from this new situation,” Wegmann said. “It may not be enough to solve everything for them, but … any relief is welcome.”

According to the report, the current median price for an Austin zero to two-bedroom apartment is $1,484 per month. Hardhik Sripuram, a sophomore international business major, said he signed a lease between $1,400 to $1,500 for a West Campus apartment. Although the lease is expensive, it is justified, he said.

“(Austin) is a college town, so you can only expect (prices) to be so low,” Sripuram said. “If it was a little bit lower, it’d probably be better for everyone’s pockets, but judging that it’s UT, I can’t expect it to be any lower.”

Justin Lanir, co-leader of the UT Tenants Union, said he doesn’t expect the drop in rent prices to significantly affect students because rent is already expensive. Lanir, a public affairs graduate student, attributes student housing unaffordability to unfair pricing by private equity firms, who own the complexes.

In an email, Lanir said that during the same period as the report, online data showed decade-low rent drops in the greater Austin area, and West Campus apartment complexes such as 26 West, Rambler and Villas on Rio all increased their rates.

“Every year there’s going to be a new crop of students that are going to want to fill in all these apartment buildings near UT,” Lanir said. “I don’t want to say (student housing companies) can charge whatever they want, but they can charge pretty exorbitant amounts for students to live in these places, regardless of what’s happening in the market at large.”

Rachana Kommineni, a junior informatics major, said she paid around $1,400 per month for an apartment, despite limited unit features.

“I had no window, I had a very small bathroom (and) barely any space to walk,” Kommineni said. “I was next to the hallway, next to the trash … I liked the location, but … I should not have got such a bad room for such an expensive price.”

Wegmann said Austin rent prices aren’t affordable for everyone, but data shows improved prices. He said now is a good time to rent in the city.

“It’s a good time to look for an apartment, and people who do (search for one) should bargain (and) should ask a lot of questions,” Wegmann said. “They should definitely not … sign the first lease that they are offered. They should comparison-shop and they should get themselves the best deal they can.”

Originally published June 24, 2024, in The Daily Texan
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Photo by Charlie Partheymuller

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