Is it better to rent or buy in Austin in 2023?

If you’re considering a move, it may be difficult to decide whether to rent or to buy a home in Austin in 2023. For folks with an impressive tool collection who find tracking a leak from a bedroom ceiling to its source challenging, homeownership can be delightful. Same for someone who prefers putting up wallpaper on a weekend to hiking around Barton Creek Greenbelt. There’s instant gratification in mowing the lawn, trimming the edges along the driveway and sidewalk and scissoring off errant shrub branches.

For those who sink every extra dollar into high quality hiking boots, camping gear, kayaks, paddles and mountain bikes, the weekends beckon them outdoors. Their minds drift all week from work to the Homestead Trail, Inks Lake State Park and San Marcos River. Living outside is mighty appealing, but they need a place out of the weather to lay their heads most nights.

These may offer some of the lifestyle reasons whether or not to own a house. Current financial position is a big one, along with location, income and long-term investment objectives. If you own or rent, you have to pay something every month. There are responsibilities for maintenance and appearance for both tenants and owners.

Renting or Buying in Austin in 2023

The Austin market is very active in both houses for sale and places to rent. Around 4,000 houses may be on the market at any given time, with 10,000 or so apartments and houses listed for rent. The median rent is $2,300per month, meaning half of rents are lower than that and half are higher.

Why Rent in Austin in 2023?

The main advantages of renting include flexibility to move or buy, a landlord or property manager to call when something breaks, and minimal maintenance and repair expenses and obligations, thus, much more free time. While you know your monthly rent payment each month for the term, usually one year, of a lease, it can go up, even beyond your means. One may need to move unexpectedly if the owner decides to sell a rental property. And the property may not be upgraded or maintained to your standards.

Home ownership provides living stability, tax deductions and a way to build equity. There may be pride of ownership as well, but all the repair, upkeep, renovations and maintenance fall into the owner’s lap and bank account. It can be an expensive undertaking, especially for the non-do-it-yourself-inclined, so a robust repair and maintenance budget may need to be in the cards.

Why Buy in Austin in 2023?

The Austin market offers houses in all price ranges, and the appeal of the region is very strong. Homes rising in value, quickly or slowly, is the most likely scenario. Depending on a buyer’s price point and tolerance for mortgage interest, some choose to rent while waiting out the current financial climate. Newcomers with a stable career slot may rent for a year or two while figuring out the best location relative to schools, commuting, recreation and neighborhood vibes.

People who rent may have more free time, and can enjoy weekends traveling, hiking, taking in concerts and wine tastings while homeowner counterparts are painting the trim or crawling around looking for the source of that water leak. Renters can invest their extra money in other ways than homeownership, some of which might yield as much or more than home equity over the long run.

There’s no “better than” between renting and owning a home. Lifestyle plays a huge role, and for the single or dual-income-no-kids, sociable, energized, contemporary, active folks, being tied down with house responsibilities may be as unappealing as warm beer and cleaning gutters. For the well-heeled home buyer and the DIY homeowner, purchasing a house makes good sense.

As Pete Seeger wrote in 1959 in his song “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, to everything there is a season. He notes “a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance,” and “a time to plant, a time to reap.” Well, there is definitely “at time to rent” and “a time to own” for most people.

The renting comes often in young and older ages, while the energy, reliable income and optimism of home ownership and raising a family may fall mostly in the middle decades of life. Some renters become homeowners to discover they love it, and others find it burdensome and confining. Most homeowners find a balance among the repair and maintenance projects for the do-it-yourself route and the paid contractor avenue.

So, deciding whether to rent or buy in Austin in 2023 rests with each person’s lifestyle, stability, personal goals and pocketbook. There is no better-than-plan, but more likely a time to rent and a time to buy, a time to sell and a time to sigh, a time to roam and a time to make Austin your home.

If you have any questions about whether it’s best to rent or buy in Austin in 2023, please reach out to Habitat Hunters.