From food to music to the economy, there are a lot of reasons people love living in Greater Austin. For renters looking for cheap cities near Austin, check out these five Hill Country communities.
As the motto goes, “Keep Austin Weird.” But what’s not weird are the rent prices in Central Texas. While the region has seen some of the nation’s largest population growth over the last decade, rent prices around Austin remain relatively affordable.
Whether you’ve come to Austin for the music, the food scene, the university or the high-tech job market, finding an affordable place to live is within reach. No matter which Texas Hill Country county you reside in, there are rents to keep you in your budget.
Below are the top five cheap cities near Austin for renters. The rent for an average two-bedroom apartment determines the ranking. And all come in below two grand a month.
- Average 2-BR rent: $2,062
- Rent change since 2021: +57.9%
Thanks to a 200 percent increase in population since 2000, Cedar Park sits as the second-largest suburb of Austin. That population increase mirrored a rise in Cedar Park incomes by 28 percent and a 29 percent job growth. One study estimates another 52 percent job rate increase in the near future. It’s a small wonder that Cedar Park is one of the top 10 best small cities in America.
One large draw to Cedar Park is its world-class minor league sports scene. While a triple-A baseball team plays up the road in Round Rock, Cedar Park is home to two high-level minor league indoor teams. Both the Austin Spurs of the G-League and the Texas Stars of the AHL — the NBA and NHL’s top-tier minor leagues, respectively — play at Cedar Park’s H-E-B Center. The 8,700-seat facility also holds major concerts and fighting events.
Cedar Park is the top cheap city for renters near Austin northwest of the city. Despite a near 60 percent leap from a year ago during the pandemic rent fall, average two-bedroom rents here sit just north of two grand a month.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,903
- Rent change since 2021: +38.3%
The pfabulous city with the pfunny name. Pflugerville, with its silent “P,” is for its first settler Harry Plfuger, Sr. But it’s come a long way from a population of one. These days, Pflugerville was the third-fastest growing city in the nation just prior to the pandemic. And the growth has been staggering.
As recently as 1980, Pflugerville’s residents numbered just 745. By the turn of the millennium, the population had increased by 2,000 percent. As of today, the city has boomed by more than 275 percent since 2000 and 8,000 percent in the last 40 years to the north of 65,000.
Despite all that increase, Pflugerville rarely feels crowded. Part of that reason is its abundance of green space. The city offers nearly 30 parks, over 500 acres of open space and 40 miles of hiking and biking trail. On the east end of town is Lake Pflugerville and the eponymous park that surrounds it. The recreation area features fishing, swimming, kayaking and windsurfing on the reservoir and playgrounds, athletic fields, boat launches and a beach onshore. Single-family homes and apartment complexes are adjacent to the park.
Counter to an ever-increasing need for housing, rental prices are relatively affordable. Even with an increase in rents of nearly 40 percent since last year, rents for an average two-bedroom apartment still come in less than two grand a month.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,855
- Rent change since 2021: +43.4%
The second-largest city in the region, Round Rock has let it be known it’s not just a suburb, but a “super suburb.” The city of 120,000 refers to itself as an independent city, a destination all its own and not an Austin bedroom community. That’s all true. Round Rock is a Texas satellite city, similar to Plano in North Dallas or Arlington, VA.
If Austin is hip and chill, Round Rock is its hard-working little brother. Just a half-hour north of Austin in Williamson County, it’s a regional retail, economic and commuter hub. The city had quickly become a haven for high-tech companies and buzzy start-ups. The most famous, of course, is Dell Technologies, whose massive headquarters sits at the junction of I-35 and Route 45. The city is also a prime location for the clean energy, manufacturing, healthcare technology and life sciences industries.
Round Rock residents bring home a median household income of $86,121, and a lower cost of living than its weird neighbor. No wonder Round Rock is both one of the nation’s coolest suburbs and America’s second-best place to live. An average of $1,855 a month will lease you a two-bedroom apartment. That’s more than a 43 percent increase from a year ago, mid-pandemic.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,802
- Rent change since 2021: +35.3%
Surprisingly, the second-cheapest city near Austin is in fact Austin itself. An arts, culture, music, education, beer, food and government town, it’s extremely popular with young people. Despite everything Austin offers, rent for a two-bedroom apartment runs just $1.802 monthly on average.
Austinites note they just have more fun than other cities. The city is home to the colossal University of Texas, one of the largest in the nation. It’s also known around the world for its South By Southwest and Austin City Limits music festivals. And its ever-present progressive and hip “Keep Austin Weird” attitude young people differently than other cities in Texas.
But it’s not just the lifestyle drawing people to Austin. It’s also a highly-livable city for locals in the job market. It’s ranked as one of the top cities in the nation for current job seekers and future job growth. One initiative powering all that is the “Keep Austin Green” initiative. For the efforts, it’s been named “The Greenest City in America.” And as the state capital, it offers a robust infrastructure and well-maintained roads. Maybe it’s all those reasons why it holds the title of the best place to live in America.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,207
- Rent change since 2021: +11.2%
If you’re looking for the top cheap city near Austin for renters, look a bit outside the city environs. The city of San Marcos lies about 40 minutes down I-35 from downtown. And that far south, it’s under an hour into San Antonio, as well. But with a little distance comes a quieter, more suburban vibe and lower cost of living and rents. The cheapest city near Austin offers an average lease of just $1,207 a month. That’s up 11.2 percent from a year ago, the smallest increase in the metro.
San Marcos is a growing city of nearly 68,000. That’s double the population as recently as the turn of the millennium. That’s attributed to its location, low cost of living and amenities. It’s also the home of Texas State University. It’s been ranked as one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities and one of its Most Exciting Small Cities.
The city is also awash with beautiful places to get outdoors. San Marcos offers several parks and green spaces near The Square downtown and TSU, among them Sewell, Rio Vista, Bicentennial and Stokes parks. These ring the city’s Blanco and San Marcos rivers, rising from San Marcos Springs.
Find an apartment near Austin
The music, the food, the industry, the livability. There are many, many reasons to want to live in Greater Austin. But if you’re moving to the region or looking for a local change, there are some spots that are more affordable than others. Explore other cheap cities near Austin and more right now on rent.com.
The rent information included in this summary is based on a calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Rent.com as of February 2022. Rent prices are for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.