Cheap in the Space City: Why Houston is Surprisingly Affordable

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House prices throughout the United States have risen rapidly over the last decade, although prices in Houston seem cheaper than in other states.

No income tax, low sales tax, and risk of flooding are factors for cheaper housing in Houston. Houston also has more affordable groceries, where you can get more than a third compared to other states.

Aarial view of houses in Houston Texas USA. Top of homes with swimming pool and outdoor parking lots - Texas View

What Makes Houston Cheap?

Houston is cheap because Texas, the state where it lies, is cheap overall. This is because it’s a state with no income taxes. Also, its cost of living is generally a lot less than in other states.

A prime example is that groceries in Houston would be 42% cheaper than in New York. On the same basis, living in New York would cost you twice as much as it would if you were living in Texas.

While other cities in Texas are also cheap, like Austin and Dallas, Houston is still the most affordable. Not to mention, it’s also the biggest, that’s why living there is quite a bargain.

Flag of Houston with rain drops - Texas View

It’s Prone to Floods

80,311 properties are at risk of being affected by flooding in the upcoming 30 years. This number makes up 31% of all the properties in Houston, which is a pretty large percentage if you’re talking about living safely.

It’s worth mentioning that the risk is more about posing a challenge to day-to-day life in the city’s community and less about the city’s destruction.

Perhaps this is why if you compare two similar apartments, the one in Houston would be much cheaper to rent or buy than the one in New York.

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There Are No Zoning Laws

Houston is one of the few cities with no zoning laws, typically used to govern land use. Instead, they use a complex system of codes to regulate real estate development. Still, these codes don’t put restrictions on or dictate land use.

For this reason, housing can easily be available in abundance. With an extensive supply to meet any level of demand, the housing market is one of the cheapest.

Does this mean that you should be considering moving to Houston, Texas?

Houston Texas Skyline During Sunset

Should You Consider Moving to Houston?

Before moving to a new city, you must consider more than just the prices there. This is why this section is dedicated to the pros and cons of Houston, Texas. After learning both, you’ll be able to decide whether this move would be the right one for you or not.

Pros of Living in Houston, Texas

Let’s discuss some of the points that make Houston, Texas, one of the best places to live in the USA:

1. Job Market

Houston is known for its booming oil and gas, manufacturing, aerospace, and health care industries. You can expect to find plenty of job opportunities in the energy sector alone.

From 2016 to 2022, the median household income in Houston was $53.6K. Let’s remind you that this is pure income, as this city knows no income tax.

2. Cost of living

As we’ve mentioned, Houston’s living cost is quite cheap. You can rent a 2-bedroom apartment for as low as $1,277 to around $1,797 monthly.

Not to mention, there are plenty of attractions, many of which are free. For example, you can see a free movie screening at Market Square Park or attend a free classical music show, ballet show, or Shakespeare play at Miller Outdoor Theater.

3. Great Food

Not only are there many attractions but also many places to eat great food. You can find diverse options, from New American and European cuisines in bistros to Tex-Mex dishes at El Tiempo Cantina.

Around Montrose, you’ll find plenty of food places, arty culture, and fun nightlife experiences.

Houston Texas USA Skyline 1 - Texas View

Cons of Living in Houston, Texas

Now that we’ve covered the good let’s look at the aspects of Houston living that could put you off:

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1. Unpredictable Weather

Besides having a relatively humid climate, Houston is also known for its abundance of bugs. This includes mosquitoes and wasps. But the most off-putting one is that it’s also known for snakes  —known to thrive in humid weather.

Not to mention, this weather is why so many floods happen in Houston, making it a problematic city to live in.

2. Traffic

If you live in Houston, you’ll have to get used to traffic jams. Worse yet, you’ll have to adapt to the subpar public transportation available if you don’t own a car.

3. High Internet Costs

Staying connected online in Houston would cost you around $30 each month. This is relatively pricey compared to other seemingly more expensive places like New York.

4. Property and Sales Taxes

While the price of apartments and rentals isn’t extremely high, Houston imposes quite hefty property taxes —around 1.9%— and sales taxes.

Most of your purchases would come with an 8.25% sales tax, which is pretty high compared to other places around the country.

Downtown Houston - Texas View

Houston FAQs

What’s the population distribution like in Houston?

Houston is known for its cultural diversity, and the Census Bureau shows that 44.5% of the people there are Latino or Hispanic, 24.1% are white, 22.8% are African American or Black, 7% are mixed race, 6.9% are Asian, and 0.3% are Alaska natives or American Indian.

What are the major attractions in Houston?

The downtown area in Houston is quite compact and crowded with attractions. Starting with the Theater District that houses the Houston Grand Opera and moving to the Johnson Space Center, Houston Zoo, and Downtown Aquarium. The beach is also an excellent place to spend a humid day. There’s plenty to enjoy around the city.

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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
Author at Texas View | Texas View

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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