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Austin
  • $850   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1127   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1705   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southwest US)

70% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
heatstroke, sunburn, your air conditioning bill, traffic jams, pollen, scorpions, fire ants, cockroaches
live music, stunning views, water recreation, bicycle trails, bicycle-friendly, museums 6
girls wearing oversized tshirts, rich liberals, what used to be the hood, overpriced shops, hipsters climbing on things, kids with teslas, organic hipsters, fighting off gentrification, single people with dogs, grackle alert, and rich drunk UT kids are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Austin roommate rundown:

Austin deserves its reputation for funky fabulousness, but new residents are usually shocked by the summer heat. There will be entire weeks that are 100+ degrees in the afternoon. Most spring and summer days remain warm until well after dark. This also means allergy season never ends, and expensive air conditioning is essential at least half the year.

If you live in Austin with multiple roommates, chances are excellent you'll run into UT students and "tech bros," which could be the same folks before and after graduation. Some resent the "tech bros" for driving the population growth which led to the rising rents which rendered Austin inhospitable to most of the "hippie artists" with less money living there before. Whatever your feeling on this issue, since Austin has become a high tech center populated with abundant computer science and engineering grads fresh from UT, it's not likely changing anytime soon.

But if you can afford it, since most of Austin rents and everybody knows it's not cheap, it's typical to have roommates at any age.

Bikes are extremely popular. Bike lanes exist around UT Austin and the middle of the city. Walking around downtown or the UT Austin campus is also popular. Public transport is not, and parking (for a car, not a bike) in the middle of town is expensive and hard to find. Moving around central Austin for most means walking, biking, or paying to park your car at least periodically.

Once upon a time, for most Austin residents, the favorite thing was live music at night, with chips and queso, plus a margarita or a Shiner. Austin has expanded so extremely in the last several years, a wider range of recreation is certainly available. But live music at night, with chips and queso, plus a margarita or a Shiner is still your best bet.

The rest of the Austin roommate lowdown:

  • college-town atmosphere, yet also the capital city of Texas, with just under a million people - The Texas State Capitol is extra famous for its pink granite exterior and being the largest state capitol in terms of square footage
  • Hand signals involving the index and pinky sticking up probably aren't advocating for Satan or heavy metal music. Here those usually mean you're a Texas Longhorn fan. Hook 'em Horns!
  • There are several hotter places in the US, but Austin is the southernmost state capital in the contiguous 48 states. SO MUCH bright sunshine is common all seasons here.
  • Summers are very hot and humid, winters are mild, with lots of rain in spring and fall. Most residents appreciate the lack of winter but new residents are usually shocked by the summer heat. Most indoor places have central air to cool you off, but it can be unexpectedly challenging to exist anywhere during summers where many days are 100+ degrees.
  • Another challenge associated with the weather is that allergy season never ends, as all seasons feature pollen.
  • The weather that's so awesome for producing an abundance of wildflowers also produces an abundance of wild insects, including scorpions, wasps, fire ants, spiders, and possibly truly excessive cockroaches. What sort of precautions you should take depend on exactly where in Austin (soil, sunlight, elevation, moisture) and in what style building, but you will likely have to deal with some creepy crawlies. You and your roommates should just go ahead and emotionally brace yourself for this creeping eventuality.
  • home to several universities, including Austin Community College, Concordia Lutheran College, Huston-Tillotson College, the Seminary of the Southwest, Southwestern University, Texas Health and Science University, the Acton School of Business, St. Edward's University, Southwest Texas State University and the largest campus of the University of Texas, one of the largest universities in the US
  • Austin is distinct from the rest of Texas in that it's considered a "liberal oasis" in an otherwise conservative state.
  • There is no state income tax.
  • Most people in Austin drive; and as a result, many surveys have ranked Austin the worst for Texas traffic jams. Bicycles are popular, especially commuting to the UT Austin campus or around the middle of the city (where parking is expensive and limited). If you can manage to walk, bike, or use the very limited Metro System in town at least some of the time, you'll likely be happier. Unless you're living and working/going to school downtown or near UT Austin you and/or your roommates will probably want a car.
  • In the last decade Austin has become a major center for high tech, including chip manufacturing and defense electronics - in part supplied by the thousands of engineering and computer science graduating every year from UT Austin. If you live in Austin with multiple roommates chances are excellent one will be a "tech bro."
  • The downtown skyline has dramatically changed in recent years with downtown growth and high rise construction. The central business district is now home to the tallest condo towers in the state.
  • Austin became popular as a place for artists to create due to its low cost of living . . . but that's not as true anymore, mostly due to the tech boom leading to a sharp rise in population growth which led to a sharp rise in typical rents. Some subsequently nicknamed Austin "Silicon Hills."
  • About 60% of Austin rents and since it has become more expensive in recent years, it's an extremely popular city for roommates. Most expensive neighborhoods in Austin for roommates include Downtown Austin, West Austin, Tarrytown, and Galindo. More affordable neighborhoods in Austin for roommates include Heritage Hills, Windsor Hills, and University Heights. Basically, the center of town tends to be more exciting and more expensive, while as you move outward it gets cheaper.
  • Some even commute all the way from San Antonio to save rent money.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Austin's:

  • South Congress: Popular shopping district, not only for its majestically unobstructed views of the Texas State Capitol but also its eccentric coffee shops, vintage stores, and food trucks.
  • "Live Music Capital of the World:" Many live music venues as well as the PBS series Austin City Limits. There is a virtually constant large live rock-country-blues music scene, much located within a walkable downtown.
  • South by Southwest: Yearly conglomeration of music and other media festivals, abbreviated as SXSW and colloquially referred to as "South By"
  • 6th Street: The downtown core hosts more bars than anywhere else in the US. If your roommates enjoy consuming alcohol in a "party hearty" atmosphere they'll need a ride home from 6th Street at least a few times.
  • Food Trucks: Not just for fast food or junk food (although you can get plenty of that too). Austin is well known for its Texas barbeque, Tex Mex, breakfast tacos, and queso. It's also home to an unusually large number of food trucks and a huge craft beer scene, with over 50 microbreweries.
  • Serious Outdoor Water Recreation: Available year round on the city's several lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake, Deep Eddy Pool, Zilker Park, and Auditorium Shores - more than 50 public pools and a 7 mile Barton Creek Greenbelt featuring limestone cliffs, dense greenery, and more water - not just swimming, but kayaking, cliff diving, paddle boarding, and tubing
  • Hippie Hollow Park: The only public park in Texas where clothing is officially optional.
  • The Austin FC: Austin's first major professional sports league
  • All the Museums: Lots of local museums to explore with your roommates including: Texas Memorial Museum, the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Thinkery, South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, the Mexic-Arte Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, The Contemporary Austin, the Elisabet Ney Museum, and the Harry Ransom Center
  • Austin Film Society: In part due to the influence of the UT Austin Radio-Television-Film department and its influence on several local film festivals, Austin has been the location for many movies. The Austin Film Society converted several airplane hangars into Austin Studios, used by many feature film and video projects.
  • The Austin Public Library system Central Library: SIX STORIES! It features indoor and outdoor event spaces, reading porches, a bicycle parking station, a cafe, an art gallery, and a "technology petting zoo" featuring next-generation gadgets.
  • Mexican Free-Tailed Bats: Over a million reside inside the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. Many residents gather to watch the bats emerge to hunt insects every sunset, until they migrate to Mexico in the winter. It's the largest urban bat colony in North America.

    No, they won't get tangled in your hair, IF you have a crewcut.

    (Anyone with longer hair should stay far away from the bridge!)

    (Just kidding!)

    (You and your hair can view bats safely, just ask locals to direct you to the best vantage point.)
  • Mount Bonnell: A large open area with about 100 steps leading up. Since it's the highest point in Austin, there's a spectacularly sweepingly unobstructed view of the whole city. However, at 775 feet, it's actually a tall hill.
  • HI, HOW ARE YOU: There's a friendly frog mural greeting all who pass by the corner of Guadalupe and 21st Street. Daniel Johnston, the artist, was a beloved singer-songwriter popular in the lo-fi and alternative music scenes for decades before dying in 2019. The mural, called "Jeremiah the Innocent Frog," was commissioned by the owner of the local record store (Sound Exchange) inside that building, and features the text, "HI, HOW ARE YOU." The building has changed hands multiple times since then, but the mural has been preserved. In 2018 the Mayor declared January 22 "Hi, How are You" Day for mental wellness. Fans still visit and pay their respects. You and your roommates can visit too.


Here's the City of Austin Household page, including info on utilities, trash and recycling, conserving water, and adopting pets.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.