How to find a sublet or short-term housing in Austin, Texas

Marjorie on

Austin city skyline.Take a vibrant live music scene, mix it with a flourishing tech industry, and the unusual mix of city living at southern speed and you’ve got Austin. The city’s become a virtual magnet for young people and families who want to relocate. Austin turns up on a huge number of "best 10" lists: most recently earning honors for being one of the healthiest, greenest, most creative and best cities for singles around. With such appeal, it's no wonder that Forbes just named it the #1 fastest growing city in the U.S.

Thinking of making the move to the self-proclaimed "Live music capital of the world?" Well, Austin's an amazing city to call home, but the real estate market's never been tougher for renters, so to help you with the search for a short-term stay while you find your perfect home, Moveline talked to a few people who have made the long distance move to Austin themselves and to a few experts in the short-term rental business.

Here’s what the locals had to say:

Valerie Bauhofer, a long-time Austinite, describes her city as a university town "filled with visiting faculty, students, legislators (it’s the state capital), music fans, race fans and sports enthusiasts."

When asked what neighborhoods are the best for people moving to Austin, Kirsten Stoddard, a blogger, web designer and publicist who lives there, listed:

  • Downtown
  • South Congress
  • South Lamar
  • Travis Heights
  • Hyde Park
  • West Lake Hills
  • The East Side (above Cesar Chavez)

Her warning for newcomers: "I lived in LA for 6 years and the traffic here rivals the traffic in LA."

Beyond the bad traffic, Austin’s booming popularity also means that real estate (especially for rentals) has gotten pricier in the last decade, and its available supply of sublets and furnished apartments for rent on a short-term basis is much thinner than most other cities.
To make matters worse, Austin-based realtors won’t be much worse when it comes to finding short-term furnished housing; 6 months is the minimum lease length that most will handle and very, very seldom will any of the units be furnished.

So, my intrepid apartment hunter, if you're looking for a short stay, you are pretty much on your own. Here's where to start:

The faithful sublet standbys: Airbnb and Craigslist lists a bungalow in "the hip zipcode 78704" (the SoCo District) that the owner describes as "itsy-bitz" (500 square feet) nestled behind the owner’s hair salon. There’s room enough for a 42 inch flat-screen tv and you, for $1775 per month.

On we found a listing for a share in a three-bedroom house in Hyde Park. The present tenant is moving to Dallas for a new job so he wants to sublet his room in a "cozy duplex" for $650 per month.

And if you have to find a place before the move, we always recommend They have 7400 local "lookers" who will check out any real estate listing you find and report back to you for a $59 fee.

Still, sublets are rare in Austin. Three sources we found are intended primarily for academics but are available to others as well. These are excellent options if you are bringing your family with you and need a few bedrooms and maybe a crib., founded in 2000 by the wife of a professor who realized just how difficult it was to find homes for travelling academics, lists "a quaint, tidy home in Hyde Park with a large fenced-in backyard with 2 bedrooms, a ten minute ride from the University of Texas", available for the summer of 2013 for $2000 per month. lists a 4000 sqare foot two story contemporary in Highland Park that borders the Bright Leaf Preserve for $4200; the length of the lease is "somewhat flexible."

Another reliable source is’s Housing Guide which lists shares and sublets. Recent listings included a suite in a single family home for $600 per month and a two-bedroom garage apartment 1.5 miles from campus for $2000 per month. Since University of Texas is centrally-located and minutes away from downtown, there are plenty of professionals and non-students who live nearby. Locals tell us that as long as you avoid the West Campus neighborhood, you'll be fairly safe from noisy parties and college shenanigans.

Corporate housing and furnished apartments

As in most cities, these are probably going to be the priciest choice of all. CHBO (the initials stand for Corporate Housing By Owners) has been matching property owners with short-term renters since 2005. The company has 21 properties in Austin; one which is especially appealing is a Hancock Guest Cottage, a rustic looking stone two-bedroom house in Hyde Park, near the University and downtown. For $3500 per month the cottage includes a sunroom that overlooks a garden with native Texas plants, a pond and a barbecue area. posts a duplex two-bedroom apartment with 2 baths in Northwest Austin for $1950-$2250 per month; has a listing for a one-bedroom at 404 Rio Grande, four miles from the center of the city that offers grocery delivery and valet dry cleaning for $119 per day and, one of the other giants of the corporate accommodations industry, lists a one-bedroom at the AMLI South Shore on Lady Bird Lake with 9 foot ceilings, balconies and patios, two pools and a roof top deck for $144 per night.

Looking for a roommate?

Four nation-wide websites will match you up with a roommate in Austin:,,, and ("our actual human Scam Busters use their actual eyeballs and organic brains to review all roommate submissions. Many get tossed in the trash")

…all are ready to help with your search.

…or just a place to stay while you house hunt

Since sublets are scarce, vacation rentals are probably your best option for Austin. Not too expensive, and there are lots of choices in this category.

One of the largest of the vacation rental companies, is headquartered in Austin and has hundreds of offerings in the area. One that’s a mile from Zilker Park is a 3-bedroom, 1000 square foot house built in the 1930’s, furnished in "urban design style" with a patio and grill in back and a $3299 per month price tag.

Another Austin-based vacation rental option that has gotten good marks on Yelp is Their short-term possibilities include Hancock Guest Nest and Hancock Modern. The first is "pure studio Zen" with a full kitchen and laundry for $1700 per month in the Hyde Park neighborhood; the second is in central Austin, described as "urban living with a breath of fresh air" with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths that were all "designer refreshed" three years ago for $4500 per month.

And finally, can put you in a one bedroom apartment in a 12-unit Spanish colonial style condo in the Judges Hill neighborhood, a few blocks from downtown and the University of Texas. A Fireplace and terrace is included for $2250 per month. offers a Hyde Park bungalow built in 1915 and renovated in 2010 with two bedrooms and within walking distance of city and UT bus stops. The rent: $99-$120 per night.

Moving to Austin? Let Moveline help. We'll get you guaranteed quotes from the top Austin movers, and assign you a Move Captain to manage your move.