Friday, February 24, 2017

How Many Hours Do Austinites Have to Work to Pay Rent?

Wondering how many hours you have to work to afford an apartment in Austin?  Culturemap reports on a study by SmartAsset that examines how many hours you have to work to make rent in the country's fifteen biggest cities.

Turns out Austinites work 59.8 hours each month to make the $1,047 median gross rent.  This number was determined by looking at the average hours worked weekly, average weeks worked yearly, median annual income for individuals, and the median monthly gross rent, as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau.  

While Austin’s estimated hourly wage is $17.52, our rent is also the highest of any Texas city in the report.  Dallas residents only make $14 an hour, but their rent is $863, meaning they have to work 61.7 hours to pay rent.  Renters in Houston make $13.91 an hour and have to work 62.8 hours a month to pay $873 in rent.  San Antonio is has the lowest rent in the state, but it also has the lowest wage, so workers have to work the most hours to pay for their rent.  San Antonio renters make $13.53 per hour and have to work 63.3 hours to pay their $856 in rent.  

The study also found that big cities in general cost more to live in than more rural areas as evidenced by the fact that in the two cities where you have to work the least number of hours to afford rent, Indianapolis and Columbus, residents are still working 53.8 hours to make rent.  

At the other end, Los Angeles residents are working 87.7 hours at $13.78 to afford rent.  

Trying to reduce the number of hours you need to work to make rent?  We can help you find a great new apartment that fits in your budget!  Give Austin Apartment Specialists a call today at 512-241-1111!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Plaza Saltillo Moving Forward

The Plaza Saltillo development in East Austin is set to move forward, but with dramatically lowered allowed heights for the office building portion, the Austin Monitor reports.

Endeavor Real Estate Group, the developer of the site owned by Capital Metro, requested a variance to have a 125 foot high office tower.  However, city council only granted a 70 foot high limit.

Councilmember Pio Renteria, who represents the district that the project is located in, said he wants more time for Endeavor and the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Planning team to come to an agreement that would bring a minimum of 141 affordable housing apartments to the project that comprises about half a mile of land from IH-35 to Comal Street between East 4th and 5th streets.  The project will be a Transit-oriented development because the MetroRail’s Red Line is in the middle of the development.

The planning team maintains that Endeavor isn’t complying with its original promise to designate 25 percent of the 800 apartments as affordable and that the project wouldn’t exceed 60 feet in height.  The current plan is for 15 percent of the apartments to be rented as affordable.  They also would have the office portion be 125 feet and then the rest of the project would be a little bit more than 60 feet tall.

Capital Metro asked the developer to make a bigger office building so the area would have a lot of people during the day to frequent the retail on the first floor.  The agency said that only allowing the building to be built to 70 feet would cost CapMetro $36 million in rent income and the city $22 million in property taxes over the 99-year lease that Endeavor is subject to.

Are you looking to find an apartment in East Austin?  Apartment Specialists South Austin can help!  Give us a call today at 512-912-8000 to find your dream apartment in East Austin or anywhere in the city!  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Austin's Economic Growth Forecast

Building ATX reports that the annual economic forecast by AngelouEconomics predicts that in the next year, the economy’s growth will slow somewhat compared to previous years.

Over the next two years, 100,000 new people are expected to make Austin their home and employment will increase by over 3 percent through 2018.

While Angelou predicts a slight slowdown in the economy’s meteoric rise, he sees it as a good thing that will allow the “housing and labor markets to catch up with demand.”

Trade, transportation, and utilities will see over 1,000 new jobs, the biggest job growth of any industry in 2017 and 2018.

However, Austin will continue to be held back by our lack of affordable real estate, both for housing and commercial space for businesses.  Home prices have gone up by seven to eight percent annually over the last three years and Austin’s office space averages $34.83 per square foot and industrial space averages $9.27 per square foot.

Austin has the 7th worst traffic congestion in the US which holds back economic growth.  The report said that money must be put into an assortment of transportation infrastructure to solve this problem.

The report also cautions if affordability and transportation issues aren’t solved, Austin’s economic development could fall dramatically.

Need help finding an apartment that fits into your budget?  Give Austin Apartment Specialists a call today at 512-241-1111 and we’ll find your dream apartment right away!  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The First Draft of CodeNEXT is Revealed to Austinites

The first draft of CodeNEXT, the overhaul of Austin’s Land Development Code, has been presented to the City Council, the Austin Monitor reports.  

The previous code was huge and hard to navigate for both homeowners and developers.  It had over 400 ways that zoning regulations could be combined, between zoning districts and special overlay districts.  The hope with the new code rewrite is to make it much easier to know what can be built and where around Austin.  

CodeNEXT also plans to follow the Imagine Austin plan, a roadmap for the next 30 years that hopes to put the brakes on a long tradition of creating sprawl with new development in favor of an Austin that is compact and easily traversed by foot, bike, and via public transportation to cut down on the car culture.    

The draft breaks Austin into six zones that it calls transects, which are: natural, rural, suburban, general urban, urban center, and urban core.  Those designations are then divided even more into subcategories to suggest how urban they are to set forth what kind of development can be built there.

The city wants to push affordable housing as well and the code hopes to streamline up Austin’s efforts to provide affordable housing.  

CodeNEXT will continue to follow environmental protections that Council has passed in the past such as Save Our Springs and water and tree protections.

The company who consulted on CodeNEXT encouraged people to be patient and to provide constructive criticism rather than completely dismissing the changes.  However both those who want to see Austin become more urban and those who oppose development were unhappy with the new code.

The former president of the Austin Neighborhoods Council, which is generally against development for fear of ruining the character of Austin neighborhoods, said that she worried that areas that are zoned for single-family homes would be allowed to be developed for commercial uses.  The city’s Planning and Zoning Department said that new commercial uses aren’t allowed in any of the zones.

A founding member of AURA, an urbanist group whose opinion is often opposite of the ANC’s on development, was disappointed with the code as well, primarily with the fact that it continues to maintain existing neighborhood plans and does not simplify code at all.
The city wants to hear opinions from all Austinites will use that public input to tweak the code.  Tonight, Wednesday February 1st, an open house is being held from 4-6pm at the Palmer Events Center to allow the public to get to know the CodeNEXT draft.
Next steps will be a proposed zoning map in April, followed by a response from the Land Development Code Advisory Group in June, which will then be used to create a second draft in August.  The City Council will get a first reading of the proposed Code in December that they will adopt, but they won’t approve it until its final reading in April 2018.

Looking to make your home in Austin?  Give Austin Apartment Specialists South Austin a call today at 512-912-8000 to find your dream apartment right away!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Crestview Neighborhood of Austin Texas

It’s been over three years since we took a look at the Clarksville neighborhood of Austin, Texas.  As with so much of the city, a lot has changed in that area since then, so we thought it would be a great time to revisit this Central Austin neighborhood.

Clarksville is bordered by West Lynn to the east, Loop One/Mopac to the west, 10th Street to the south, and Waterston to the north and is west of downtown.  Clarksville is a historic district that was first founded as a freedomtown, an area settled by emancipated African-American slaves after the Civil War.

Children who reside in Clarksville go to Austin ISD schools.  For Kindergarten through fifth grade, children go to Mathews Elementary.  For sixth through eighth, they go to O’Henry Middle School and for grades nine through twelve, they attend Austin High School.

Clarksville’s location just a mile west of downtown makes it an ideal place to call home and commute quickly to many Austin employers.  EverlyWell is located in the Seaholm Power Plant redevelopment on Cesar Chavez and is looking to revolutionize the health industry by creating at-home testing kits for ailments such as food allergies, thyroid function, and more.  

Effective Spend offers a complete portfolio of digital marketing services including paid search, search engine optimization, analytics and more from their offices on South Congress about 3 miles from Clarksville.

When you live in Clarksville, restaurants and entertainment are close as well.  Nightcap is on West 6th and specializes in dessert and cocktails with fun names so you can finish your night off on a high note. They also have a killer brunch and dinner dishes like salmon, grilled hanger steak, and even braised octopus.  

Lucky’s Puccias and Pizzeria serves pizza and italian wood-fired sandwiches (puccias) on homemade bread, from its digs on West 5th.  They also have great meat, cheese, bread, and olive plates for appetizers and Tiramisu for dessert!  

When it's time to shop, there are several boutiques in the area to be sure you and your home are outfitted in style.  Found is located in an adorable converted house with a pink door just off West 5th.  They have high end designer labels like DVF, Nicole Miller, and Paige, plus Champagne call buttons in the dressing room!  A great place to go shopping with friends for clothes and accessories.  

Billy Reid has luxurious high-end men and women’s clothing and accessories with staff that gives you a personal shopping experience.  Tailoring is available as well so you will feel like a million bucks when you leave with your purchases.

Ready to make the move to Clarksville?  Give Austin Apartment Specialists a call today at 512-241-1111 to find your dream apartment today!  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Food and Music Festival Coming to Austin

An exciting new food and music festival will happen in May, the Austin American Statesman reports.  Started by Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Fun Fun Fun Fest co-founder James Moody, and Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland, a food festival, the event hopes to capture the laid back nature of Austin.

The name of the event is meant to conjure up thoughts of a potluck dinner coupled with the fire that Franklin cooks his barbecue over and will have lots of food and music events all weekend with around 35 chefs at eight to ten different places around Austin.

The festival creators want attendees to be able to attend all the events or to attend just one or two events a day if that’s their preference, so they will be offering a comprehensive and an a la carte option.  Then attendees could spend the rest of their time exploring the city and restaurants not included in Hot Luck if they choose the a la carte option.

The goal is laid back meals and events that feel like an evening hanging out with friends, not a tasting dinner at a fancy restaurant.  The food will be eclectic and not barbecue focused, even though it is curated by Austin’s smoked meats guru.

The music will be similarly diverse, including something for everyone.  Although prices and other details haven’t been announced yet, tickets are set to go on sale at the end of next month and will include weekend packages and a la carte options.  The festival is scheduled for May 18th through 21st.  

Are you a foodie or a music fan?  We can find you apartments that are near the hottest restaurants and coolest music venues.  Just give Apartment Specialists South Austin a call today at 512-912-8000 to find your perfect new home!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Crestview Apartments Break Ground

A new apartment building is breaking grown near the Crestview MetroRail Station, according to a press release from the developer, Trammel Crow.

The community will be called Crestview Commons and have four stories containing 353 units with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms ranging from 642 to 1,405 square feet.  Apartments will be available for pre-leasing in January 2018.

Amenities for residents include a conference room, resident lounge, entertaining kitchen, a clubroom on the top floor with downtown views, and a fitness center.  Outdoors, there will be a resort style pool with sunbathing shelves, water features, fire pits, and grills, and a 7,000 square foot dog park.  The project will also be a green one and is trying to get LEED certification.

Crestview Commons will enjoy all the amenities of the Crestview neighborhood, which includes the mixed use development adjacent to Crestview Station. That development has restaurants like Black Star Co-op, a pub with delicious food and craft beers that pays its workers a living wage, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, which serves baja style tacos, and Fat Cats, an all-organic vegan coffee shop and bakery.  For shopping, there’s Midtown Grocery and Cafe, an upscale local grocery and cafe with local, natural, and organic products.

Crestview Commons will be located convenient to Mopac, I-35, North Lamar, and 183 so it will be easy to get around, and stressful commutes will be a thing of the past when you take the MetroRail to get to work or play.

Ready to find a better place to live in Austin?  Whether it’s Crestview or anywhere else in town, Austin Apartment Specialists has the lowdown on all the apartments in the ATX!  Give us a call today at 512-241-1111 to find your dream apartment!