INTRODUCTION TO HOUSING IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
In the past decade, Austin, Texas has experienced continuous growth in the housing market. The affordability of the Austin area is remarkable when it comes to other cities with comparable populations, infrastructures, and quality of life. Despite the growth the city has experienced, Austin still ranks among one of the most affordable large metropolitan cities to live, work, play, raise a family, and do business (www.austinrelocationguide.com). Being home to a top tier university, a booming tech industry, and a favorable business climate, Austin has continuous been a top ranked location for families and singles to relocate. In general, Texas’ low tax burden and competitive regulatory environment tends to generate low aggregate costs (www.austinchamber.com). However, prices in central Austin have skyrocketed as a result of its growing economic allure. The average home price in the Austin metro area is over $250,000, which is over the national median of approximately $190,000. Austin is one of the Texas’ more expensive home-buying market.
What do you need to secure housing?
When renting an apartment or house, it is important to be familiar with the leasing terms. These terms will detail certain fees a landlord applies depending on the location and situation. The amounts may vary per circumstance, but it is important to know which apply to a specific agreement. It is important to speak with the landlord on any terms that are unclear and to have a comprehensive idea on exactly how much the entire transaction will costs per month, yearly, and in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
Terms to Know:
Deposit: Is a security fee that is paid to the landlord in terms of a fixed amount of money. Deposit is refundable at the end of your stay tenure, provided the house or apartment is left in good condition. Average amount for deposits is $50 to $300 (or in some cases one month’s rent).
Application Fee: A fixed amount ranging from $25 per person to $75 per person. This is a non-refundable amount even if you have paid it already and then cancelled the booking. The application fee purpose is to assess the rental application.
Administrative Fee: Selective apartment owners levy this charge on the renters. It is a non-refundable amount ranging from $50 to $200. Everyone who is renting the apartment contributes to this fee. The refund policy is similar to the application fee.
Pet Charges: Varies from apartment to apartment. Can range from $3 to $30 per month per pet. Some places do not accept pets, or only accept small pets.
Wait List Charge: Some popular apartment complexes do not have available apartments, but renters can put their name on a wait-list to be called once an apartment become available. A wait list charge is an amount that needs to be given to the apartment to lock a place on a wait list. It is a non-refundable amount.
Booking Charges: The total cost that you end up paying at the time of booking stacks up as follows: Deposit + Application Fee (per person) + Admin Fee + Pet Charges (per pet). In certain cases, the apartment may also ask for the first month’s rent.
Social Security Number (SSN): If you are a US resident you need to have a Social Security number rent an apartment. If you are a foreigner looking to secure housing, there are other forms of ID you can present to rent a home and/or apartment
Credit Score: It is a number that depicts a person’s creditworthiness based on past financial history. If you have an impressive credit score the amount for deposit significantly decreases. Some apartments may have a minimum threshold credit score to make you an eligible renter. If a person does not have credit history in the United States could be required to pay an extra deposit or secure a guarantor.
Number of Tenants: The max number of people who can stay in an apartment is mostly mentioned in the apartment guidelines. Generally, 2 occupants s are allowed per room (1 bedrom – max 2 occupants, 2 bedroom – max 4 occupants) in the apartment.
Often, to save rental costs, students accommodate guests for permanent basis without informing the apartment management. This may lead to cancellation of the lease agreement. However, you can accommodate guests for temporary basis without any issues.
Lease Duration: In formal leasing agreements, rental periods typically break down accordingly:
- One-year lease
- Six-month lease
- Three-month lease
- Month-to-month lease
Usually a longer leasing period will significantly drop your monthly rent amount. Abandoning a lease can mean serious financial and legal consequences.
Guarantor: In certain cases, the landlord/housing management may require a lease guarantor which acts as a third party to help provide security in terms of the rental. You can get concession in deposits if you have a guarantor.
Lock-In Period: A minimum fixed amount of time before which if the rental agreement is broken, then the tenant won’t get refunds on deposit. The lock-in period varies and is mentioned clearly in the lease agreement.
Agreement Document Requirements: Following are the documents required to process the rental agreement:
- Photo U.S.identification: State driver’s license/Identification card, Passport, Passport Card, Certificate of citizenship, Department of Defense Identification card and other Government Issue identification card.
- Other valid U.S. forms of identification: Birth certificate, social security card, resident card, nonimmigrant visa (business, work, student)
- Other valid foreigner forms of identification: Foreign passport, matricula consular, international driving license
- Paystubs (in certain cases)
- Bank Statement (in certain cases)
- Credit Score (in certain cases)
The agreement needs to be attested (digitally signed or hand-signed soft copy) along with the verification documents for each of the boarders mentioned on the lease agreement.
Rent and Utility Pricing
- For 1 bed 1 bath — $800-$1300
- For 2 bed 2 bath — $1200-$2500
- For 3 bed (2 or 3 bath) — $2700–$3000
- Studio — $1000-$1500
- Deposit Range (1 months rent) — $100-$500
In summary, be prepared to pay some of the above listed expenses up front, before you can acquire a place to live. Acceptable forms of payments vary, but cash is not allowed, nor should it be used. Money orders and cashier checks are a safer method of payment. For more information on money orders and cashiers checks see: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/money-order-cashiers-check-how-to-decide/
POPULAR NEIGHBORHOODS IN AUSTIN
Housing in these popular neighborhoods are often in high demand, and therefore short supply, making them more expensive than in some surrounding neighborhoods.
Prices are an average and vary depending on size, number of bedrooms and amenities. Median family income is the total income from all people in the family, residing together. All figures are approximate.
Click on the Neighborhood name to see a map of the neighborhood, and click here for a general map of central and downtown neighborhoods.
• Average rent: $1,071.00
• Average home price: $530,473.00
• Median family income: $69,500.00
• Average rent: $1,098.00
• Average home price: $713,900.00
• Median family income: 74,700.00
• Barton Hills
• Average rent: $1,152.00
• Average home price: $855,102.00
• Median family income: $61,200.00
• Average rent: $1,183.00
• Average home price: $570,330.00
• Median family income: $75,900.00
• Average rent: $1,183.00
• Average home price: $278/per square foot
• Median family income: $39,000.00 – 65,000.00
• Avery Ranch
• Average rent: $1,241.00
• Average home price: $309,914.00
• Median family income: $35,000.00 – 50,000.00
• Hyde Park
• Average rent: $1,461.00
• Average home listing price: $514,976.00
• Median family income: $75,000.00 – 95,000.00
• East Austin
• Average rent: $1,854.00
• Average home listing price: $565,970.00
• Median family income: $38,000.00 – 52,000.00
• Average rent: $1,870.00
• Average home price: $689,716.00
• Median family income: $69,800.00
• Average rent: $2,021.00
• Average home price: $718,322.00
• Median family income: $60,000.00
• Average rent: $2,381.00
• Average home price: $841,484
• Median family income: $65, 400.00
• Average rent: $2,381.00
• Average home price: $445/per square foot
• Median family income: $94,400.00
• Travis Heights
• Average rent: $2,419.00
• Average home listing price: $355/square foot
• Median family income: $73,500.00
• Central Austin
• Average rent: $2,623.00
• Average home listing price: $841,484
• Median family income: $93,546.00
POPULAR COMMUNITIES NEAR AUSTIN
• Round Rock, TX
• Average rent: $1,116.00
• Average home price: $253,600.00
• Median family income: $70,952.00
• Kyle, TX
• Average rent: $1,131.00
• Average home price: $191,000.00
• Median family income: $75,182.00
• Buda, TX
• Average rent: $1,134.00
• Average home price: $245,800.00
• Median family income: $69,685.00
• Bee Cave, TX
• Average rent: $1,154.00
• Average home price: $535,000.00
• Median family income: $95,924.00
• Cedar Park, TX
• Average rent: $1,156.00
• Average home price: $294,958.00
• Median family income: $79,323.00
• Pflugerville, TX
• Average rent: $1,164.00
• Average home price: $298,995.00
• Median family income: $73,629.00
• Leander, TX
• Average rent: $1,262.00
• Average home price: $222,400.00
• Median family income: $75,983.00
• Manor, TX
• Average rent: $1,495.00
• Average home price: $178,000.00
• Median family income: $70,029.00
• West Lake Hills, TX
• Average rent: $1,728.00
• Average home price: $1,445,000.00
• Median family income: $118,892.00
• Rollingwood, TX
• Average rent: $2,318.00
• Average home price: $1,775,000.00
• Median family income: $176,250.00
When acquiring housing, often times a neighborhood or apartment will have additional fees for utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. In other cases, a family or individual will have to find their own utility services.
If you do not have a letter from a previous utilities provider, most companies will require a deposit before utilities begin. The City of Austin’s deposit is $200 with additional start-up fees.
The deposit is returned after one year or can be credited to the utility account
The City of Austin provides electricity, water and trash pick-up and is the most common utility provider. You can reach them directly or via Austin Energy.
City of Austin Utilities
(512) 494-9400; (888) 340-6465
Texas Gas Service is the most common utility provider for gas. Many homes and apartments have gas heating.
Texas Gas Service
Below are some contacts for other utility companies in Austin and the surrounding areas.
888-286-6700, Customer Service866-322-8667, Gas Emergency
Bastrop Power & Light
Cielo Wind Power
512- 487-3900; 800-368-3749
Georgetown Utilities Systems
Green Mountain Energy
Pedernales Electric Cooperative
San Marcos Electric Utility
Texas Solar Power Company
Residential Telephone, Internet and Cable Services
The following companies offer telephone, Internet and cable services separately or as a package.
New service: 888-294-8433
Time Warner Cable/Spectrum