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SE Austin apartment fire calls attention to tight housing market

A sign warns apartment residents who have not signed a new lease that it's time to move. (Photo: CBS Austin)

An apartment fire off East Riverside calls attention to Austin's tight housing market. No one was injured but the fire at the University Estates Apartments left three units uninhabitable.

This is a bad time to be looking for an apartment especially in an area that's popular with college students. If anyone is leaving their apartment right now, there's already someone signed up to take their place.

With the fall semester just around the corner nearby apartments are just hitting the busy season. Year-long leases end July 31st and new residents are waiting to move in. But University Estates complex will be starting the new school year three apartments short making Austin's tight apartment market even tighter.

John Gutierrez, an agent with Apartment Specialists, has been keeping an eye on the market. He's noticed all the new construction but says it's just not enough. “You see apartments going up every month and yet people are still complaining about how crowded it is, how tight it is, how hard it is to find an apartment," he says.

And for people caught in a bind the problem is even worse. Gutierrez notes, “If you've only got five days to your move-in date you're basically picking through the apartments someone has looked at and decided for whatever reason they're not going to go with it."

That's not to say apartments aren't available. They are. But Gutierrez explains, “You're going to be able to find an apartment in just about any neighborhood you want. There's always going to be availability. There's just the question, 'Are you going to get it for the price you want?'"

Chances are you're not going to like the answer.

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