Austin, TX Neighborhood guides

Austin’s Best Neighborhoods for Renters

Austin is one of the most culturally and economically diverse cities in the entire U.S., and it’s only getting better. Besides being one of the country’s most booming cultural hubs, an excellent place for prosperous employment and one of the safest urban hotspots in the U.S., the cost of living in Texas’ capital is also lower than most cities in its category. 

Meanwhile, high incomes, low taxes, great public transportation, and a thriving music and arts scene will make any renter happy to live here. So, if you want to enjoy the perks that the greenest town in Texas has to offer, here’s a breakdown of its most popular neighborhoods for renters, which are just as diverse as the local community itself: 

Downtown Austin 

 

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  • Number of large apartment buildings: 48
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 5,565
  • Average rent: $2,668
  • Average apartment size: 968 square feet
  • Median age: 35.7
  • Share of renters: 45%

As is the case with many big cities, the most sought-after neighborhood in Austin is the bustling downtown area. And, why wouldn’t renters want to live here? Downtown Austin is as lively on a Tuesday as it is on a Saturday, and as one of the biggest cultural hubs in the U.S., there are plenty of job opportunities that anyone would want to live near. It should come as no surprise then that residents living in the core of the job hub earn a higher income than those in most of Austin’s popular places. 

Of course, all of these perks do come at a cost, and rents in the neighborhood are higher than the national average. Also, if you want to enjoy the high life by moving to a luxury apartment, you’re going to have to shell out a pretty penny for it because these units go for $2,736 on average. Still, living close to award-winning restaurants, museums, diverse art galleries and the best shopping spots in the city is worth it — especially if you want to snatch up a place with a view in one of the neighborhood’s many high-rise apartment buildings.

Mueller 

 

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  • Number of large apartment buildings: 153
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 4,360
  • Average rent: $1,449
  • Average apartment size: 843 square feet
  • Median age: 33.7
  • Share of renters: 58%

If you’re looking for a master-planned community where you can have some peace and quiet — but still be relatively close to the heart of the action — Mueller’s the place for you. This brilliantly designed neighborhood is the result of years of redevelopment that completely changed the face of the old airport area. The award-winning urban village has everything you could possibly need nearby. Plenty of parks and recreational areas, great restaurants, and a dedicated retail area are all a stone’s throw away from where you’d be living. Plus, it’s only three miles from the downtown area. 

Meanwhile, if you’re planning to or already have kids, Mueller is also a great place for families. In particular, the parks, children’s hospital and good schools make it the perfect location for young families looking for a balance between a great neighborhood and a fair price — apartments here go for less than the national average. 

South Lamar

 

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  • Number of large apartment buildings: 424
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 11,059
  • Average rent: $1,645
  • Average apartment size: 800 square feet
  • Median age: 32.6
  • Share of renters: 60%

South Lamar seems to have it all. It’s full of trendy restaurants, bars and art galleries, and is only two blocks away from the Greenbelt. Even so, it still has a residential feel, which makes it a great place to call home. Plus, it’s as safe as urban neighborhoods can be with a community feel among residents. Moreover, great markets and grocery stores are within walkable distance, and commutes are shorter than average in the area. While South Lamar isn’t as quiet as other neighborhoods in the city and is mostly a young professional hotspot, it does have plenty of great schools that parents swear by, making it a good home for families, as well.

However, because it’s close to both the Greenbelt and the downtown area, rents are higher than average in this vibrant neighborhood. But, they’re still much lower than in other central places like Downtown Austin or Hyde Park, so the price is worth it, especially if you’re a young professional. 

Wells Branch 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 420
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 7,324
  • Average rent: $1,211
  • Average apartment size: 846 square feet
  • Median age: 34.2
  • Share of renters: 66%

Wells Branch is the third-most-popular Austin neighborhood for a reason: the suburb offers a great mix between urban living and small-town quiet, with great schools to boot. Parks are abundant in the area, with the largest one running straight through the middle of the suburb, so you’ll be close to a green space wherever you choose to live here. What’s more, the skate park and swimming pools make it the perfect spot both for young renters and families, while the spacious dog parks ensure any furry friends are healthy and happy. 

Wells Branch also comes with lower-than-average apartment rents, so if you’re looking for a deal, this is the perfect spot for you. And, because the apartment buildings in the area are low-rise, you’ll enjoy clear skies and plenty of sun on your walks through this quiet, yet lively suburb. 

Hyde Park

 

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  • Number of large apartment buildings: 193
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 8,897
  • Average rent: $2,123
  • Average apartment size: 895 square feet
  • Median age: 25.3
  • Share of renters: 78%

This young and vibrant neighborhood mixes the best of both worlds. It’s just north of the university campus, which means it’s the place to live for upper-level students and young professionals alike, and that you’ll enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while dwelling among socially conscious people. But, Hyde Park is also a quiet area with a small-town feel, so you won’t be bothered by noisy streets or too-loud neighbors. 

The youngest neighborhood in Austin, Hyde Park doesn’t have as many green areas as suburbs further from the city core, but its historic buildings and beautiful streets make it a delight to stroll through. Combine this with the area’s trendy, independent cafes and restaurants, and you have the makings of a near-perfect neighborhood. Of course, everything that makes Hyde Park such an amazing place to live also makes it one of the priciest neighborhoods in the city its rents are well above the national average, with apartments going for $2,123 on average. 

South Congress (SoCo)

 

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  • Number of large apartment buildings: 908
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 18,882
  • Average rent: $1,476
  • Average apartment size: 818 square feet
  • Median age: 34
  • Share of renters: 57%

South Congress is the shopping and entertainment heart of Austin. If you’re thinking of moving to Austin and you’re the type of person who thrives living in the middle of the action, then this is your best choice. In fact, SoCo is one of the most active neighborhoods in the state, filled to the brim with creative restaurants, live music venues and plenty of local retailers, each with their own unique personality. Of course, while a bustling neighborhood such as South Congress is a dream for many young urbanites, it’s also become known as a home base for tourists, so it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a quiet community. 

However, if you live for concerts and like dressing with thrift shop flair, SoCo is for you. The young, bustling neighborhood also has an unobstructed view of the Texas State Capitol, and its rental prices are about the same as the national average, with apartments renting for $1,475.

Onion Creek

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 324
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 6,735
  • Average rent: $1,221
  • Average apartment size: 870 square feet
  • Median age: 30.7
  • Share of renters: 44%

Onion Creek is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Austin because it’s quiet, well-managed and home to the only golf community in southeast Austin. The neighborhood lies south of the Onion Creek Greenbelt, and while it’s not the most walkable of residential areas, there are plenty of stores that are just a short drive away. Homes in the neighborhood are spacious, and because of its distance from the core of the city, they also come at a lower price than usual, going for $1,221 on average. 

Add a pool and a local park to the in-demand Onion Creek Club, and you’ve got the makings of a great family neighborhood (especially for golf lovers), just 10 miles from downtown Austin. 

Balcones Woods

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 834
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 10,158
  • Average rent: $1,297
  • Average apartment size: 841 square feet
  • Median age: 40
  • Share of renters: 46%

If you’re looking for a neighborhood with a tight-knit community and a life of its own, Balcones Woods should be at the top of your list. This small, but lively community is known for its active local life. Residents are engaged in interest clubs and the neighborhood association organizes activities for most of major holidays. Moreover, while the area has a quiet feel to it, it’s also located in the heart of northwest Austin, so it’s close to some of the best shopping and dining districts in the city, as well as the biggest tech employers. 

Overall, Balcones Woods is a great place to move for both single, young professionals and families. It’s friendly and close to everything the big city has to offer, and with an average rent of $1,297, it’s prices are well below the national average.

North Lamar 

 

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  • Number of large apartment buildings: 530
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 9,597
  • Average rent: $1,105
  • Average apartment size: 805 square feet
  • Median age: 30.9
  • Share of renters: 62%

If affordability is your main concern, North Lamar is the most inexpensive of Austin’s most popular neighborhoods for renters, with apartments going for $1,105 on average. This tiny neighborhood is only 15 minutes from the heart of the city and comes with fantastic Asian shops and food, and plenty of other diverse mom-and-pop businesses. Though a major highway and thoroughfare border it, it’s still surprisingly quiet. 

Living in one of Austin’s cheapest neighborhoods comes with its drawbacks, though. The southern border of the neighborhood is considered unsafe at times, while parks and cultural centers are in short supply. But, if you’re looking for a great deal and don’t mind living in a shabby area, residents will tell you that it’s worth it and the neighborhood has its charm.

Barton Hills 

 

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  • Number of large apartment buildings: 864
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 18,650
  • Average rent: $1,625
  • Average apartment size: 858 square feet
  • Median age: 37.6
  • Share of renters: 44%

Last, but not least, Barton Hills is the place to live if you’re a nature lover but still want to be close to Austin’s core. This sought-after neighborhood is located right next to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and Zilker Park, home to the famous Austin City Limits and SXSW festivals. Besides the roaring cultural life, the neighborhood is also within close proximity of any shops and restaurants you might want to visit, as well as plenty of museums and art galleries. If you’re not one for driving, Barton Hills is also well-connected through public transportation. 

To top it off, the area is wildly praised by its residents, who recommend it not only for its vibrant local life, but also for its safety and great schools. Residents here have the highest incomes of Austin’s most popular neighborhoods, so high-end apartments abound while rentals go for $1,625 on average.

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About the author

Irina Lupa

Irina Lupa is a creative writer for RENTCafé, where she covers market trends and topics relevant to today’s renters. Before developing a passion for real estate, she focused on fields ranging from automotive electronics to digital business development, digging into tech news from a critical perspective. Irina holds a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication. You can connect with Irina via email.

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