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Cost of Living in Austin, TX [2024]

February 9, 2024
Considering a move to Austin? Find out more about the cost of living in Austin, from housing and groceries to transportation, and more!

It’s no secret that Austin is a booming city known for its incredible live music venues and outstanding food. Austin offers a unique blend of tech culture and outdoorsy types who enjoy the city’s parks, river access, hiking, and biking. Of course, you can’t forget about the Congress Bridge Bats, the largest urban bat colony in the country, consisting of somewhere around 1.5 million winged creatures.

The city is so widely known for its quirky and fascinating qualities, which is why the city’s slogan has been “Keep Austin Weird” for the last twenty years. According to US News & World Report, this weirdness presents itself in charm, as Austin was ranked No. 1 Best Place to Live by US News & World Report in 2019.

Whether you’re looking to move to Austin to be a part of the tech scene, enjoy nature, or some combination of both, you’ll want to get a good idea of what the costs will look like. Let’s take a closer look at the cost of living in Austin to better understand how much you need to live there.

Austin, TX Cost of Living Guide

What is the Cost of Living in Austin, TX?

According to, the cost of living in Austin, TX is currently 1% higher than the national average, which is great news for those for whom affordability is a key factor in a location.

Let's look at a few different ways to think about cost of living in realistic terms so you can have a better sense of how much you can afford in Austin.

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Austin, TX?

According to the Census, the median income in Austin is currently $86,556, which is no surprise since their tech sector offers a lot of great job opportunities. But how much do you really need to live there? The MIT Living Wage calculator says that a single adult would need to make $18.15 an hour to live in Texas, while two parents with two kids would each need to earn $20.22.

We can also work backward from the cost of rent to figure out what a comfortable salary would be in Austin. If we use a standard budgeting rule that says rent should be no more than 30% of your income before taxes, and we refer to Apartment List rent report data to get a current average rent of $1,687 for a 2-bedroom apartment, then we can determine that you would need to earn about $5,624 a month or a little over $67,000 a year to live in Austin.

This recommended salary is for a very basic lifestyle while in Austin. Suppose you know that you will have many additional living costs, including dining, entertainment, etc. In that case, you’ll need to anticipate these needs and search for a higher salary, a less expensive apartment, or in a perfect world, both.

Thankfully, the typical annual salaries for common professions in Austin are highly competitive. The three highest typical annual salaries belong to Management, Computer and Mathematical, and Architecture and Engineering positions, respectively.

How Much is Rent in Austin, TX?

According to the latest Rent Report on Austin, the median rent index is $1,386 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,687 for a two-bedroom. Overall, the city's year-over-year rent price has fallen 6.1% over the past year.

Austin is comparable to another tech hub, Denver, Colorado, with slightly less expensive housing costs. Denver’s median rent index is $1,339 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,732 for a two-bedroom. Another famous tech city is Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is even more expensive than Austin and Denver. Cambridge's median rent index is $2,402 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,902 for a two-bedroom.

 Downtown Austin Sunset on 5th Street

How Much Is Housing in Austin, TX?

The Austin housing market is also seeing steady growth, with median home prices currently at $551,200. These prices fall between competing areas like Denver, with a median price index of $534,100, and Cambridge at $937,500.

How Much Is Transportation in Austin, TX?

Austin’s official public transportation operator is the Capital Metro Bus System, which covers 535-square miles in its service area. Capital Metro Bus System, or CapMetro, spans across 1,600 bus stops with 82 routes throughout Central Texas.

Tickets for CapMetro, including MetroRapid limited-stop, MetroFlyer, MetroExpress, and University of Texas Shuttle routes, can be purchased individually at $2.50 for day passes and $7 for commuter services. You can buy local day passes, or commuter passes online.

In addition to the CapMetro, Austin also offers a MetroRail, which crosses a 32-mile line from Leander to the Convention Center near downtown Austin. MetroRail operates every day except Sundays from 7 am until 1:30 or 2:30 am. You can also purchase tickets for MetroRail online, which has a $7 per day pass.

While public transportation in Austin is highly dependable, other modes of transportation are available, such as ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. Additional transportation methods include taxis, car rentals, and chauffeur services, although these tend to be costly in comparison.

If you're a single adult with no children, you'll spend about $5,477 for transportation in Austin over a year. A family of four, including two working adults and two children, will pay $14,484 for transportation in one year.

If you're a remote worker, you won't have to worry about transportation costs that much and luckily, Austin is one of our best cities for remote workers.

Authentic Texas barbecue served during SXSW in Austin

How Much Are Food Costs in Austin, TX?

Austin offers countless dining options, from hip gastropubs to family-friendly spots and upscale restaurants. Eating out in Austin will cost an average of $21 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant. A three-course dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant will run $100 without alcohol or dessert.

If you're a single adult without children, you can expect to pay at least $3,926 on food per year. If you're a family of four with two working adults and two children, you can expect to pay $11,564 per year for food.

You can anticipate around the national average or slightly below for food items regarding grocery market pricing. For example, one gallon of regular milk will run you $4.05 in the grocery store, with the national average being $3.83.

How Much Is Healthcare in Austin, TX?

When planning your budget in Austin, you will also want to account for proper medical care. A single adult without children will pay around $3,058 for medical care over the year. Two working adults with two children will pay $9,409.

How Much Are Utilities in Austin?

According to Apartment List renter data, the average cost of utilities per month in Austin is $230.27, which is lower than the national average of $253.14. This covers electric, gas/fuel, and water. Adding on the Internet with 60 Mbps or more with unlimited data, cable/ADSL will cost you an extra $71.08 for a total of $301.35 each month.

While winters in Austin remain temperate for the most part, the coldest days of the year falling in January with an average overnight temperature of 40°, summers are known for being very hot and humid. August is the hottest month, where the average daytime high is typically 95.6°.

You can find out more information about how much utilities will cost in an apartment before you move.

 Austin city downtown skyline cityscape of Texas USA at sunset

Austin Fitness and Entertainment

If you plan to keep fit, you’ll want to consider club membership costs. The monthly fee for a fitness club membership for one adult is $51.74.

Otherwise, when weather permits, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of Austin outdoors. Enjoy hiking trails across the city like Lady Bird Lake Trail, Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, or Twin Falls.

There is plenty of entertainment throughout the city, and a seat at the local cinema will cost you $13 without snacks or drinks. You can also save a few bucks by checking out one of the seven public parks in Austin, including Mueller Lake Park, Mayfield Park, Nature Preserve, or Zilker Metropolitan Park.

Other Expenses to Consider in Austin

Texas is known for being a tax-friendly state because it does not collect any income tax. Homebuyers also benefit further as the state does not have property taxes.

Unfortunately for renters, Austin's tax is higher than the national average of 7.12%. Austin’s sales tax is currently 8.25%, which combines the state, county, and city rates.

Aside from taxes, anyone moving out of state will need to consider costs associated with cross-country movers, storage, hotels, and transportation. These moves also often require additional fees such as apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other add-ons.

Furnishing your home is another considerable expense, which can add up quickly. Thankfully, you can easily find tips and tricks on decorating your apartment on a budget.

Job Market in Austin

Although the cost of living can be high in Austin, thankfully, the job market matches accordingly. The unemployment rate in Austin is lower than the national average, currently at 2.7%, and the income rate is higher than the national average.

Austin has been nicknamed “Silicon Hills” as a reference to the tech hub it became in the early 1990s, playing on the more famously known Silicon Valley of Northern California. Google opened a headquarters in Austin in 2007, which became a major employment source for the city.

Aside from tech, many Austin residents are government employees, as there are state agency headquarters located throughout the town. The University of Texas is another major employment source for the city. With over 24,000 faculty and staff, UT is one of the largest public universities in the country.

Find Your Dream Apartment in Austin

If you are interested in moving to Austin, a city full of life, nature, and weirdness, Austin might be the place for you. Find which Austin neighborhood is best for you and learn how to apartment hunt in Austin. If Austin is not quite for you, learn about cities nearby Austin.

Register with Apartment List today and start checking out the thousands of available apartments to rent in Austin. For a more granular apartment search, try our sister site, Sunny that uses AI to find you the exact apartment you've been searching for in the Austin area.

FAQs: What to Know Before Moving to Austin in 2023

How expensive is an apartment in Austin?

A one bedroom apartment in Austin costs $1,483, and a two $1,805.

What is the cheapest rent in Austin?

Currently, the cheapest rent in Austin for a one-bedroom apartment. You’ll pay an average of $1,483 on rent.

How expensive is it to live in Austin?

The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Austin is $1,483. Public transportation fares start at $2.50 for a day pass with monthly rates available. Food costs about $3,351 a year in Austin, which includes meals and snacks. Eating out will cost an average of $17 for a meal at a low-cost restaurant for a single entree, or $75 for two at a mid-range restaurant.

How far is Austin from Houston?

Ausin is 162.3 miles away from Houston via I-10 W and State Hwy 71 W. It takes about 2 hours and 45-minutes to drive between Austin and Houston. There are also bus services between Austin and Houston.

How far is Austin from Dallas?

The distance between Austin and Dallas is 195 miles via I-35E and I-35 S. It takes a little over three hours to drive. Limited Amtrak and bus service is also available between Austin and Dallas.

How far is Austin from San Antonio?

Austin to San Antonio is 79.5 miles via I-35. It takes about an hour and a half to drive from Austin to San Antonio. Bus and Amtrak service is also available.

How far is Waco from Austin?

The distance between Austin to Waco is 102.2 miles via I-35N. It takes one hour and thirty-nine minutes to drive between the two cities. Bus and train service is also available between Austin and Waco.

What is the population of Austin?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Austin was 964,177 in 2022. The entire population of the state of Texas is 30,029,572.

What is a good salary in Austin?

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average salary for Austin residents is $78,96. However, to stick to the rule of spending only 30% on your monthly income on rent, you will need an income of $59,320 to live comfortably in a one bedroom apartment, which currently costs $1,483.

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Dr. Katherine Blake
Dr. Katherine Blake is a content editor with Apartment List, where she helps ensure our renter and rental management content is fresh and informed by the latest data. Read More
Emily Kho
Emily is a professionally trained writer who covers a wide range of topics associated with the rental market and real estate industry. With over a decade of professional writing experience, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a Bachelor of Science from the world-renowned William F. Read More

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