Go West, Young Fam: Renters Are Leaving Austin For Denver And Seattle Because It's Unaffordable.

Aug 15, 2017

Nearly two-thirds of Austin renters looking to settle down somewhere else are largely doing so because of affordability, according to a new report from the research firm Apartment List. While the 65 percent of city renters leaving isn't all that different from the national average of 64 percent, the reason they're leaving should be a concern.

“You know, long-term Austin renters who have seen prices rise through the roof over the last decade may realize that, if they hope to purchase a home, they might want to relocate somewhere more affordable,” said Sydney Bennet, a research associate with Apartment List. 

Affordability topped the list of reasons for 35 percent of renters leaving Austin, according to Apartment List, which compiled national apartment listing search data for the analysis. 

Austin Herrmann moves furniture into a rental property in West Campus.
Credit Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

While Austin has long had a hot rental market, with an influx of young professionals and a tighter housing supply, more than half of Austin households are renters.

But, when renters actually leave Austin, the first place they go may surprise you.

“The most common destination within Texas is to Houston, where prices are a little bit more affordable,” said Bennet.

According to Apartment List, Houston has the third lowest renter-relocation rate in the nation, while No. 1 on that list is San Antonio.

For those Austin renters leaving Texas, it seems they’re mostly heading west.

“Denver was the top pick, followed by Seattle and Miami," Bennet said. "Denver and Seattle both have hot job markets and a lot of younger renters moving there. So, it’s likely that people would be moving there for a different job opportunity.”

But the Austin rental market is far from dead. The city’s mix of culture and opportunity is still drawing people.

“Austin was the top pick for renters in Cleveland, Ohio, which I would say is a little bit surprising,” Bennet said.