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Co-op housing could be one way to handle Austin's affordability crisis

Experts say interest in cooperative housing in the Austin area is growing.

AUSTIN, Texas — As housing costs soar in Austin, a cooperative housing developer and coach for the City of Austin say that interest in cooperative housing is increasing.

Cooperative housing is where several residents live together collaboratively, sharing rent and other resources. 

“We do shared meals, three times a week, and we have a shared pantry also,” said co-op resident Daniel Kaufman.

He has been living in co-op housing for 10 years and said it’s a great way to live affordably. 

“Rents in Austin have gone up a lot. My friends have talked to me about it, and when we pull resources and share the master lease, we can make it work a little more affordably,” he said. 

According to rental platform Zumper, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Austin is just about $1,700, up 16% from last year. But at Kaufman’s house, prices are much lower.

“The cheapest room is $660, and the most expensive one is $1,320,” said Kaufman. 

Co-op housing developer and coach with the City of Austin Ryan Nill said it’s a sustainable way of living.

“So when you have 10 people living together, and they’re buying bulk food, that’s one way. Also, instead of renting out 15 different bedrooms singly, they have the master lease and so they have scale in the lease,” said Nill. 

Nill said he’s seeing interest grow in co-op housing. Money aside, Kaufman said it’s a less lonely way of living. 

“Being here at the co-op, even without making plans or intentionally getting social interaction, I get it just because people are around,” said Kaufman. 

For a list of co-op housing available in the area, click here.


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