They're are advantages and disadvantages to both styles of living. Some people will simply not live in an apartment. Other people cannot or will not pay all the deposits. Everyone's needs are unique. There are many things offered by apartments that you cant find in a duplex in Austin and vice versa.

Austin Apartment Positives:
Mostly maintenance free
Much lower move in and good incentives (specials)
Less expensive rent  (that is starting to change)
Often newer and nicer, more contemporary
Many more amenities pools, Jacuzzis, resident parties, etc
Lower utility bills
Pet friendly
Have 1 bedrooms
Flexible lease terms

Austin Apartment Negatives:
No yard
No garage (many have garages... they are extra)
Neighbors on top of you, the crazy ones... not the nice ones
Harder to qualify
Not exactly a home

Duplexes in Austin Positives:
Yard (that's huge)
Garage (that's huge)
Storage
Privacy
"Can" be easier to qualify in
Homey

Duplexes in Austin Negatives:
Expensive to move in...high deposits, usually no specials
Higher utility bills, older HVAC
Higher pet deposits
If not professionally managed...be afraid ...very afraid!
12 month leases usually required
0 amenities

So now you know...think about it and call HomePlace Apartment Search at 512-258-5200

2009 UPDATE:
No one can tell whats best for you. But having leased many a duplex anything under $1200 to $1500  range you will find apartments to be much nicer.

Austin Apartments vs Duplexes in Austin Texas

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