Single men and women can’t afford to buy a home in Austin, according to study

It’s not news that homes in Austin cost a pretty penny. In fact, we just reported on a recent study revealing Austinites have to make at least $52,578 to afford a home in the city.

Another new study from Property Shark reveals it’s even harder to buy a home in Austin if you’re buying one alone — that is, if you’re unmarried or otherwise unattached (or if you don’t have a friend or family member to go halfsies with on a new home).

The Austin skyline as seen looking northwest from the Lakeshore area showing the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake August 31, 2016. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Austin skyline as seen looking northwest from the Lakeshore area showing the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake August 31, 2016.

The organizers of the study gathered information on home prices and rents across the 50 largest cities in the United States and compared that information to the average incomes of men and women in the city. Then the study used the housing industry “rule” of spending no more than 30 percent of income on either mortgage payments or rent to determine whether single men and women could afford a home in each city.

It resulted in what Property Shark called a “rather bleak picture of the urban housing market,” with women disproportionately affected due to the fact that women earn significantly less than men,  making it more difficult for women to afford living alone.

However, the study revealed that neither gender can afford to buy a home in Austin, one of 14 cities that have priced out single men and women completely. It’s bad news for renters, too — the study showed neither gender can afford to rent their own one-bedroom apartment in Austin either, according to the 30 percent rule (though we’re aware that many Austinites break this rule).

Image via Property Shark
Image via Property Shark

Austin was the only Texas city on the list to have completely rendered single men and women unable to buy a home, but Fort Worth and Houston were among the nine cities with the biggest difference in average income between genders, making it easier for men to buy homes than women.

So what are the best U.S. cities to find an affordable home? Atlanta, Las Vegas and the three largest cities in Arizona – Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa – are good for both genders, the study says. For women buying homes, Detroit comes in first place, with homeowners spending only 4 percent of their income on monthly payments, followed by Witchita, Kan. and Indianapolis, Ind. Arlington, Texas is sixth on the list of most affordable cities for women.

If there’s any good news in all of this, it’s that rental rates are stabilizing in Austin, providing relief for those who rent apartments. The average monthly apartment rent in Austin is about $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,300 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Austin is the nation’s best capital city to live in, according to online list


Shortly after Austin was named the “best place to live in America” by U.S. News and World Report, the city has landed atop another list of best places to live.

The Austin skyline as seen looking northwest from the Lakeshore area showing the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake August 31, 2016. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Austin skyline as seen looking northwest from the Lakeshore area showing the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake August 31, 2016.

Austin is the nation’s best state capital to live in, according to WalletHub. Their online study compared all 50 capital cities in America and graded them based off of 42 key indicators of affordability, economic strength, quality of education and health, and overall living standards.

More: Why you see so many moving trucks in Austin, according to new report

Those key indicators included things like cost of living, K–12 school-system quality and the number of attractions in the city.

Austin ranked 1st in two categories, the highest number of millennial newcomers (guilty) and lowest premature death rate; and ranked fourth for highest median household income (adjusted for cost of living) and ranked third for “most attractions.” The only two capitals to beat Austin in that last category were Honolulu and Boston, which…OK, that’s fair. One has the beach and the other’s got Fenway Park.

More: Why do readers think Austin is the best place to live – or not?

Austin also ranked 6th in the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher. (It’s also a great place for single ladies to find a man with a Bachelor’s degree that’s marriage material, according to one study.)

Funnily enough, Austin didn’t even make the highlights on the “most affordable housing” category. Apparently, it costs a little bit of money to afford a house here, and housing becomes even less affordable when you’re single, according to a new study.



How much money do you need to make to afford a home in the Austin area?

We’ve all heard before how expensive it is to buy a home in Austin. A new ranking reveals just how much buyers might need to make for a slice of Texas capital property.

A house on Garden Street is for sale on Thursday November 19, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
A house on Garden Street for sale on November 19, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Business Insider recently ranked the Austin-Round Rock metro area at No. 22 on its list of most expensive housing markets in America. The list ranks the metro areas by the estimated salary needed to purchase a home. In Austin, that magic number is $52,578.

Here’s how the listmakers crunched the numbers, according to Business Insider:

Using NAR’s data on housing affordability, we gathered a list of the US metro areas where the minimum salary required to qualify for a mortgage, with 20% down, is the highest. NAR assumes a mortgage rate of 3.9% for all areas, with the monthly principle and interest payment limited to 25% of income.

According to the National Association of Realtors, in the final three months of 2016 the median home price in Austin sat at more than a quarter of a million dollars — $287,600.

Home prices are even hitting new peak levels in the majority of metro areas nationwide, according to the association.

The American-Statesman reported last month that experts expect 2017 to be a strong year for the Austin-area housing market. Steady job growth and continued demand for homes factor into the high home prices.

Also worth noting: The Austin-Round Rock area is the only metro from Texas on the list. The median home price in the three bigger Lone Star metros are lower than in Austin. In the San Antonio-New Braunfels area, the price sits at $206,300; the Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land area comes in at $224,500; and the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area goes for $230,600.

If you haven’t hit the $52,578 salary mark yet, there’s good news. In early February, we also reported that rental rates are stabilizing, providing some relief to apartment dwellers.

Texas 3rd in number of hate groups, with handful near Austin, Southern Poverty Law Center finds

Photo by Larry Kolvoord AMERICAN-STATESMAN..11/11/06....NAZI RALLY.....Members of the national Scialist Movement (Nazis) march through the State Capitol Building at the conclusion of their rally on the south steps of the Capitol Saturday, November 11, 2006. About 20 Nazis demonstrated against illegal immigration including Charles Wilson, center, saluting Hitler as he walks through the rotunda. Police took the Nazis through the rotunda and through the Capitol annex to a basement parking lot to keep them from having contact with counter protestors.
In this file photo from November 2006, Neo-Nazi supporters march through the State Capitol to protest against illegal immigration. Larry Kolvoord AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2006

Texas has as many as 55 hate groups, including several in Central Texas, as the nation saw the number of such groups rise in 2016 for the second year in a row, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center tally released Wednesday.

A census report by the nonprofit group, which has spent decades monitoring hate groups and extremists in the United States, said the number of hate groups operating in 2016 rose to 917, which was up from 892 the previous year.

Texas placed third among the top five states with the most hate groups in 2016:

  1. California: 79
  2. Florida: 63
  3. Texas: 55
  4. New York: 47
  5. Pennsylvania: 40

The SPLC published an interactive map of the hate groups under its watch. A handful of groups operate in Central Texas, according to the map, including:

  • The Daily Stormer, which the SPLC lists as a neo-Nazi group
  • Power of Prophecy, a fundamentalist Christian group the SPLC has accused of being anti-Semitic
  • Southern National Congress, which is listed by the SPLC as a neo-Confederate group
  • the Nation of Islam, which the SPLC considers to be a black separatist group

The SPLC report cited Donald Trump’s successful bid for the White House as a factor in energizing radical right-wing groups and fostering anti-Muslim speech and vandalism.

“The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States,” a statement from the SPLC on Wednesday said.

“The growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries,” the statement said.

The SPLC also said it measured a “near-tripling” of anti-Muslim hate groups, from 34 such groups in 2015 to 101 last year.

Austin metro area makes ‘most unauthorized immigrants’ ranking

The number of unauthorized immigrants in the Austin-Round Rock metro area sits around 100,000, based on 2014 American Community Survey data. This places Texas’ capital city at the bottom of a list compiled by Pew Research Center of the top 20 metro areas with the most unauthorized immigrants.

The term “unauthorized immigrants” includes both people who overstay their visas and those who enter the country illegally.

The nonpartisan fact tank notes that “individual metro areas do not differ in rank from those immediately below them.” This means there is little statistical difference between the No. 19-ranked Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., area and Austin-Round Rock.

The center analyzed 155 metro areas with foreign-born populations of at least 20,000 people.

The Pew Research Center also points out that almost 25 percent of foreign-born U.S. residents are unauthorized immigrants. In Austin, these people make up about 34 percent of the city’s immigrant population, or about 5 percent of the total population of the city.

Two other Texas metros made the list. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area ranked third and is home to about 575,000 unauthorized immigrants. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area ranked fourth with 475,000 unauthorized immigrants. In both areas, these populations make up about 37 percent of the total immigrant population.

RELATED: Get complete coverage of ‘sanctuary city’ legislation

The subject of illegal immigration has reached a new level of conflict between civil rights groups and government agencies since President Donald Trump’s election. Trump has proposed building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and imposing tax on Mexican imports to pay for it. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has pressed the legislature to make ending ‘sanctuary cities’ an emergency item. The governor has also cut funding in Travis County following newly-elected Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s policy to limit the sheriff’s office’s cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Austin tops a romantic list — and this one will make you blush

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! How likely are you to use or receive an eggplant emoji in a message via phone or social media? According to dating service Match, the answer might be disappointing, surprising and technically unprintable. See if you can suss it out.

Stock photo via
Stock photo via

What’s the best way to unzip this? In a news release for their 7th annual “Singles In America” survey, Match revealed that Austin is the No. 1 city for a certain kind of photo. Think Brett Favre. Think Kanye West. Think rhyming. Did I mention the eggplant? The dating service says that Austin is the top city for men sending images of the amateur smut variety, and also the city where “women are least likely to hate” such pictures.

Good talk, guys.

READ: Feel the love with these Austin-centric Valentine’s date ideas

Match also included plenty of other dating statistics for the capital of Texas that don’t require euphemistic gymnastics. Among the Austin-centric highlights to ponder over your overpriced romantic oysters this week:

• Biggest turn-ons include your date being an entrepreneur, working for a startup and not liking to use social media. Self-parody is sexy.

• Biggest turn-offs include your date complaining on Facebook (sorry, readers), undergoing lots of job changes and taking selfies (eggplant variety presumably not included).

• The most popular place to flirt is the grocery store, but the most successful place to flirt is the gym. Bad news for people who feel their sexiest standing next to uncooked chicken cutlets. Good news for people who don’t look like uncooked chicken cutlets when they work out.

PHOTOS: Say ‘I love you’ with these Valentine’s Day treats

The study, according to the news release, looked at the dating habits of more than 5,000 U.S. singles from the ages of 18 to 70, including all ethnicities and sexual orientations. On that note: The statistics included seemed rather heteronormative to me, but maybe your take on the “most common things men think when women offer to split the bill” is not to spray Topo Chico on your screen while reflexily screaming “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY.”

Why do readers think Austin is the best place to live – or not?

To almost no one’s surprise, Austin was named “the best city to live in” by U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday. And why not? There’s a growing tech industry, a bustling restaurant and bar scene, and the city is filled with outdoor activity options from trails to water recreation.

But as many locals and new residents are quick to notice, living in Austin can come with growing pains. And our keen readers were quick to point out that Austin can be both fun and frustrating.

Some people agreed with the news, even if there a few concessions to make.

Others weren’t on board with the latest ranking. Traffic, gentrification and cost of living were cited as reasons Austin’s “Best City” title wasn’t exactly on point.

And while Austin enjoys sunny days the majority of the year, there’s no denying the city gets hot in the summer.

A few readers referenced Austin’s blue-dot-in-a-red-state reputation.

But some people just miss the “old” Austin.

Austin’s neighbor to the north also chimed in.

But of course, there were plenty of people who would like to keep the city to themselves.

Check out a full breakdown of the city’s stats on U.S News & World Report’s website.

Worldwide survey ranks Austin one of the most expensive cities to move to

If you have money, want to move somewhere hip and spend time stuck in traffic, then come on down to Austin! A study from online moving platform Movinga ranks Austin No. 25 on a list of most expensive cities to move to, which includes more cosmopolitan destinations such as New York, San Francisco and Tokyo.

The Austin skyline as seen looking east over the Mopac highway Wednesday morning as fog and mist rise over Lady Bird Lake April 20, 2016. (RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
The Austin skyline as seen looking east over the MoPac highway Wednesday morning as fog and mist rise over Lady Bird Lake April 20, 2016. (RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The ranking is based on the first month’s moving costs, which Movinga places at $1,533.39 in Austin. That’s more than the cost for cities like Berlin, Germany and Vienna, Austria. Movinga says they calculated this figure from the average distance of a move, 155 miles for one person. It doesn’t get much better after that expensive honeymoon period, though. An average Austin-area monthly rent of $871.76 bumps Austin up to the 22nd most expensive place to live in the world on this list.

RELATED: Check out Austin’s “most obnoxiously rich suburb”

If you’re now feeling antsy about moving here, don’t despair. Transportation around Austin only costs an average of about $40 a month, according to Movinga, which is less than the cost of getting around Lagos, Nigeria.

READ: Austin, San Antonio tie for No. 1 most overvalued housing market 

Honestly, driving to and from work everyday probably costs more than two $20 tabs for gas, but if you like to bike and walk to work everyday, then our guess is that $40 or less is totally doable.

[h/t CultureMap Austin]

Texas 9th least educated state, has 2nd lowest number of high school diplomas, according to analysis

According to recent analysis by personal finance site WalletHub, Texas has the 2nd lowest percentage of high school diploma holders of any state in the U.S. The only state to have fewer is California.

A school bus makes a stop at 11301 Farrah Lane to drop children off at their stop When a school bus is stopped with its lights flashing, drivers in all lanes must stop unless they are on the other side of a median. AISD law enforcement officials review the violation video and license plate images for approval prior to a citation being issued.  RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

If that doesn’t sound like great news, here’s more.

As is shown in WalletHub’s “Most and Least Educated States” list, compiled using analysis of measurements like graduation rates and racial and gender gaps in degree attainment, Texas isn’t holding its own when it comes to education is several other areas as well.

Although the state ranked 18th on the “quality of education and attainment gap” sublist, which considered factors like the quality of a state’s public school system and the number of people enrolled in top universities in the state, it came in at No. 42 on the “educational attainment” sublist. This list measured the percentage of adults older than 25 who had a high school, college and graduate degree.

Based on how Texas ranked on both these individual lists, WalletHub ranked the state as the 9th overall least-educated state.

READ: Texas schools and districts got their letter grades from state

25 Texas-inspired resolutions you can actually keep in 2017

If you’re like most people, those New Year’s resolutions made back on Jan. 1 probably aren’t doing so well now.

Photo by Matthew Odam
Photo by Matthew Odam

Never worry. Part of making a resolution you can actually stick to is making sure they’re attainable. And what could be easier than being your best Texan self in 2017?

Here’s a list of 25 totally doable resolutions inspired by the Lone Star State:


Visit all of the stops on Matthew Odam’s barbecue tour

Learn how to make the perfect pecan pie

Become a regular at a taco truck

Eat Tex-Mex food along the border or down in south Texas

Try crawfish and oysters in a coastal town or city

FILE - In this March 6, 2013, file photo, John Potter, a member of the San Antonio Living History Association, patrols the Alamo in San Antonio, during a pre-dawn memorial ceremony to remember the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and those who fell on both sides. The San Antonio Missions in Texas have been awarded world heritage status by the U.N.'s cultural body.UNESCO's World Heritage Committee approved the listing Sunday, July 5, 2015, of the five Spanish Roman Catholic sites built in the 18th century in and around what is now the city of San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Photo by Eric Gay/AP


See the West Texas stars at night

Visit a state (or national) park

Make the Texan pilgrimage to the Alamo

Take a vacation along the gulf coast

Tour the state capitol while the 85th Legislature is in session


Sisters Zoe Lujano, 2, left, and Dulce Villanueva, 8, get a ride in the Pet Pony Rides in Kidstown after buying new cowgirl hats Saturday afternoon. Rodeo Austin opened it's doors Saturday afternoon March 12, 2016 at the Travis County Expo Center for a two-week stay featuring live music, carnival rides, livestock show and pro rodeo. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Photo by Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman


Check out a show at a Texas dancehall

Check out a local rodeo (like Austin’s!)  

Go to a music festival

Watch more movies with Texas ties

Go to a professional sports team home game (Texas has teams in the NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS, NFL, NHL)

April 10, 2016 - Jasmine Ramirez, of Waxahachie, far right, wearing a banana costume, raises his arms as he crosses the finish line during the 39th Austin American-Statesman CAP10K race held in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, April 10, 2016. RODOLFO GONZALEZ /AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman


Fish the Texas gulf coast

Run the Statesman Cap10K (or other races of varying distances)

Swim in a natural spring

Learn how to dance to country music

(Responsibly) drink at a Texas “boozery”

03 OCTOBER 2013: Sheree Naugle, of Round Rock, tries on boots as she looks for a pair of Frye boots to wear for her Bruce Sprinsteen Girl Guitar cover band at Allens Boots on South Congress Avenue in Austin, on Thursday, October 2, 2013. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman


Grow your hair out and get Willie Nelson braids

Buy a pair of cowboy boots that won’t fall apart

Challenge yourself by wearing shorts in the winter every day you possibly can

Attend some of the best universities in the country

Register to vote, update your address and vote in every election near you