Austin rents jump 38% year on year, second-fastest gain in U.S.

Landlords blame rising taxes and the cost of insurance, labor and building supplies

Austin Apartment Association's Emily Blair (Austin Apartment Association, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
Austin Apartment Association's Emily Blair (Austin Apartment Association, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)

Austin racked up the second-highest rent increases in the country through April, behind Portland, Oregon, according to real estate data firm Redfin.

In the previous month, the Texas capital was first on Redfin’s list, with a 40 percent year-on- year gain.

Austin landlords attribute rising Austin rents to higher property taxes and the cost of insurance, labor and building supplies, which have been affected by supply chain disruptions, according to Emily Blair, executive vice president at the Austin Apartment Association.

“It’s a false belief that renters don’t pay property taxes. They absolutely do and that’s all part of their rent,” Blair said.

Insurance costs are up as much as 40 percent year over year, while apartment managers need to offer more competitive salaries and benefits for employees, she said.

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Meanwhile, inflation and supply chain disruptions have wreaked havoc on housing markets on a massive scale. As a result, the costs of building supplies such as shingles, flooring, paint and appliances have gone skyward.

“Our industry, just like everyone else, is really feeling that inflation pressure and it’s definitely being seen through a major increase in operational expenses,” Blair says.

About 90 cents of every dollar paid in rent to a landlord goes back into covering the costs to pay for, operate and maintain the property, according to the Austin Apartment Association.

Still, many Austin residents attribute the rising rents to people moving to Texas from other states.

“It’s where New York and California people are going to come, and so the rents are just going to keep rising and it’s going to force a lot of people here to have to leave,” local resident Bailey Pollak told CBS Austin.

[CBS Austin] — Maddy Sperling