Knowing that I have to give notice at my one-room apartment at the end of November (and then be out by the end of January), I'm excited about being able to window-shop... yet horrified by some of the prices in areas where I want to live. For instance, my own tiny (380 sq ft) apartment, rented for $545 in June of 2010, is now listed on Craig's List for $910 (I'm currently paying $700). White college kids finally figured out a couple of years ago that "The East Side," especially this close to the UT campus, isn't "scary." Alas.
One thing that I noticed when searching online in areas that I'm interested in: Because of the extreme influx of out-of-staters to Austin in the past couple of years who have double the money to spend on rent, many of the formerly "funky" Austin places are now being upgraded --- meaning "stainless steel appliances and granite countertops," as highlighted on every generic "house-hunting show" on basic cable. Oh yeah, plus the "open-concept floor plans." Everything that techies from California like. With that defunkification comes the doubling/tripling in prices.
I personally prefer a turquoise or pink 1950s bathroom or kitchen. Or a 1930s clawfoot tub. And I could give a shit about "granite countertops." (What's that sparkly stuff embedded in the '50s counters? I think it's prettier.) Appliances? Please. I want a stove and a refrigerator and some cabinets. That's the extent of my kitchen requirements.
But in the midst of all of the dismaying stainless-steel depressing shit, I did find something today on Craig's List to give me some hope a few months from now... In the area where I wanted to live. A "1930s duplex" with a backyard. 2 bedrooms, $900, 800 sq ft... If there's something like this out there now, perhaps there will also be something like this at the end of November. This is exactly the type of place where I'd like to be living next year.