Austin's been trendy now for a few years, leading to a constant increase in prices all the way around, ranging from food carts ($8 for crappy food from a cart? the original point was CHEAP crappy food) to rents.
I won't go too much into my paying $250 for a garage apartment in Hyde Park in the late '80s, or $310 for a Rainey Street duplex in the early '90s, or $825 for an 800-square-foot house on Poquito from 2000 to 2007.
Since I've been back from NYC (2010), I've lived in the same 375-sq-ft one-room apartment on the East Side (near Poquito). Started out in 2010 at $545. Just got a renewal notice today for $700. I've got until December 1 to decide whether I'm moving out by the end of my lease (January 30).
The thing is... I don't KNOW! I'm a temp. I have no steady ongoing source of income to show to any potential new landlord (who, in Texas, usually ask that you make 3 times your rent). And so I'm stuck where I am.
Years ago in Austin, prices weren't so prohibitive, and so people had more freedom of choice. You could always find a decent funky place to live on a low, random salary. Today, though, you're getting more and more strait-jacketed. If I take the soul-less executive-office job that pays decently, then I can afford a funky, formerly cheap place. If I decline the soul-less job, then all I can afford is a soul-less generic place on the outskirts of town.