The results are in for March and it’s official, renting a one-bedroom apartment in Downtown Austin is now more expensive than renting a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles. The good news is these high rents don’t expand across all of Austin but there is no doubt that rising rents downtown will expand to the surrounding areas over time. The average one-bedroom apartment in downtown Austin is now $1,913 (source) vs. $1,814 (source) for Los Angeles.
Of course you don’t have to live in downtown Austin but I can tell you that one of my main draws for us moving here was being able to walk everywhere, once you move outside of downtown you’ll likely be driving everywhere you go which yields many similarities to LA. Also given that fact that Forbes rated Austin as #4 in the US for “Cities with the Worst Gridlock” and that means that living outside of downtown means you’ll spend a lot of time in traffic.
The good news here is both Austin and LA are still a lot cheaper than San Francisco or New York City where the cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $3,400 and $3,000 respectively. Still, the recent price increases make downtown Austin more expensive than Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta and even San Jose which sits in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
I absolutely love it here and think moving our startup from LA to Austin is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Austin has an incredible vibrant and growing startup community and I absolutely love the fact that I can walk from our apartment to our office and to any meeting that we have around town. There was actually a time not too long ago where I had to wipe spiderwebs off my car in order to get into it so yes, like NYC you really don’t need a car here and many of my friends don’t have one.
The same cannot be said of Los Angeles where not having a car literally maroons you on your own island. It used to take us an hour to drive to a meeting, then an hour to drive back, which means that meeting someone for coffee meant taking off half the day. Now we have coffee meetings on our way to work which typically means walking 5-10 minutes to the coffee shop and then 5-10 minutes from the coffee shop to our office after the meeting. Couple this with living two blocks from the largest Whole Foods in the US and I can honestly say that are lives are much better here than they were in LA.
Still, there’s no ocean, no mountains, and you can’t drive anywhere to go skiing on the weekends which are definitely three things that we miss. There’s no doubt that Austin is growing and it’s also one of the most cost-effective cities to run a company for many reasons. Still, if you’re moving downtown don’t expect to save money unless you’re moving from SF or NYC.