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Here's What Spencer Cronk Can Afford To Rent On A $4,500-A-Month Allowance

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Welcome to Austin, Spencer.

We’re a vibrant city nestled in the Texas Hill Country that combines tech-minded innovation with the laid-back feel of a college town. And – you may or may not have heard – we’re always trying to keep it weird. You may or may not have also heard, we’re a pretty big deal these days, and it’s easy to understand why.

Austin combines plenty of beautiful, natural amenities – like Barton Springs Pool, the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail and Mount Bonnell – with an unmistakably cosmopolitan vibe that includes world-class restaurants (even our barbecue is world renown), a booming craft beer scene and plenty of Central Texas sun. Oh, and did we mention we’re also the Live Music Capital of the World?

Trust us, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy live music and everything else, but first let’s get you situated in one of the hottest rental markets in the country.

With a budget of $4,500 a month there are plenty of options all over the city – from a funky condo in East Austin to a secluded shack in South Austin to a sleek condo with a grackle’s-eye view of Austin’s bustling downtown. Let’s get started!

Live among the live oaks in Travis Heights ($3,600/month)

Credit Zillow

This quirky, 1,300-square-foot "slice of suburbia in the middle of it all" is perfect if you’re looking for a uniquely SoCo lifestyle in Travis Heights. Wanna take a dip in Big Stacy Pool, grab a slice of pizza at Homeslice, shop at some of the funky shops along Congress Avenue? It’s all just a short walk away! With beautiful, tree-lined streets, Travis Heights boasts some of Austin’s most historic homes – and highest property values, with some homes valued as high as $500 per square foot. It’s also home to Travis Heights Elementary School, one Austin ISD’s most economically segregated schools.

Credit Zillow

'LOCATION.STYLE.FUNCTION' at this 'free-standing condo' ($2,950)

If there's one thing Austinites love, it's condos

East Austin has boomed in the last decade and a half, and this two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath, two-story "free-standing condo" is within walking or driving distance to all the newest and hottest bars, restaurants and coffee shops in town that have transformed East Austin into the place to be.

All that growth along places like Raineyand East 12th streets is also representative of something that is uniquely Austin: It’s the only fast-growing city with a declining African-American population.

Credit Zillow

Lakefront views just minutes from Mount Bonnell ($4,500/month)

Minutes from the cool waters of Lake Austin, this chalet can be your sanctuary from City Hall. The property’s breathtaking views and decidedly lakeside vibe will melt away even the most stubborn of stresses after a long day of executive session. For $4,500 a month, this 2,600-square-foot, ranch-style pad is well below the market rate for other lakefront homes in West Austin – just ask Mayor Adler, who owns two properties across the lake.

This coveted neighborhood is home to Austin’s wealthiest power brokers and speaks to the concentration of wealth in Austin, which, according to a 2015 analysis, is the worst in the country.

Credit Zillow

Go off the beaten path with this MoPac-adjacent dream home ($4,200)

By now you’ve heard of Austin’s infamous traffic, but this fully integrated smart-home, complete with Nest thermostats and smartphone-enabled lighting, will make you forget your car-bound commute to City Hall everyday.

Plus, you’ll have a front-row seat to a new chapter of Austin’s storied relationship with MoPac.

Credit Trulia

Downtown digs ($6,499/month)

While this penthouse is a bit more than your housing allowance, it’s an absolute steal if you’re looking for walkability to some of Austin’s most iconic music venues, trendiest bars and restaurants, and your new stomping grounds: Austin City Hall!

If you’re willing to supplement your allowance with some of your salary, you should have more than enough to afford this downtown gem overlooking City Hall. Keep in mind, you wouldn't be the only Austinite to get out of his or her comfort zone when it comes to housing costs: Forty-seven percent of Austin’s renters spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent, according to numbers from a 2016 Census Bureau analysis.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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