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Cost of Living in Houston, TX 2023

January 23, 2023
Are you planning to move to Houston? Get the scoop on the cost of living in Houston, what to expect, and how to budget accordingly.

Houston's position as a thriving metropolis makes it a desirable place to live, work, and play. As the country's fourth-largest city, Houston boasts a healthy job market and plenty of recreation and nightlife.

Living in Houston is also relatively inexpensive compared to cities like Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco.

There's a neighborhood for every lifestyle in Houston, whether you love art and culture or want a quiet reprieve from urban living. It’s no wonder Houston ranks as one of the best places to live in Texas.

Read on and learn more about the cost of living in Houston, so that you can start planning your big move and budget accordingly.

What Is the Cost of Living in Houston?

Although Texas is known for having everything bigger, it’s great to hear that living in Houston does not require a hefty paycheck.

The average cost of living in Houston is 4.5% lower than the national average.

Cost of LivingHoustonTexasU.S.
Median Home Cost$220,000$243,600$291,700

Remember these figures only provide an average across the state. After all, the cost of living can vary across the state of Texas.

Highest Cost of Living in Houston

The Houston suburb with the highest cost of living is Piney Point Village, known for being the wealthiest place in the state. The average cost of living in Piney Point Village is 229.3% higher than the national average.

Cost of LivingPiney Point VillageTexasU.S.
Median Home Cost$2,439,300$243,600$291,700

Lowest Cost of Living in Houston

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Pasadena. The average cost of living in Pasadena is 8.8% lower than the national average.

Cost of LivingPasadenaTexasU.S.
Median Home Cost$187,200$243,600$291,700

Houston Housing Costs

The good news is the Cost of Living Index found that living in Houston is cheaper than the national average. Like anywhere you live, housing will prove your most considerable expense. Here's more information about how Houston measures up.

Houston's year-over-year rent growth has increased by 3.6% compared to last year's average. While this might seem high, it still falls well below the national average of 4% and the state average of 4.8%.

Currently, the median rent for a one-bedroom in Houston is $1,062 per month. A median two-bedroom will set you back $1,273 a month. These figures are also compatible with living in other Texan cities like Dallas.

If you're hoping to purchase a home eventually, Houston is also experiencing a steady increase in real estate prices. You can expect to pay a median sales price of $220,000 for a single-family home.

Houston Transportation Costs

Houston is a car town. However, you can still get around with ride-shares, walking, or public transportation. The less you can rely on your car, the more you can keep your budget down.

The MIT Living Wage Calculator estimates a single adult will spend approximately $5,509 per year on transportation as a single adult. A family of three (two working adults and a child) increases transportation costs to $12,709 a year.

When car culture is the norm, you'll need to plan accordingly for gas. Houston fuel prices are relatively affordable. They see fluctuations of around $4.10 a gallon.

Houston Food Costs

Houston is known as a food town, so plan accordingly. A single full-time working adult who cooks their meals and snacks spends around $3,351 a year on food. Keep in mind this is for a relatively no-frills diet.

To get an idea of food prices, check on the basis. According to Numbeo, loaf of bread will run $2.74 around the city, a gallon of milk will cost $3.60, and a dozen eggs will cost you $3.15.

Downtown Houston is known as a “food desert,” as big grocers are not readily available. Plan to spend more on grocery delivery or to make a run to a nearby neighborhood.

It’ll cost at least $16.50 at an inexpensive restaurant. If you want to splurge at a mid-range restaurant on a three-course dinner for two, you'll need at least $75.

Houston Healthcare Costs

MIT's Living Wage Calculator uses the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to estimate typical health expenditure. Harris County residents can expect to pay $2,549 per year for a single full-time working adult and $8,707 a year for a family of three.

Houston Utilities

A basic utility bill anywhere you live should include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage. If you live in a 915 sq. ft. apartment, you should expect to pay around $164.90 per month in Houston.

Keep in mind that Texas isn't known for its mild summers. You should expect to pay more to power your air conditioner from May to August when temperatures rise.

Additionally, the internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) will increase the total monthly cost of utilities by approximately $73.91 That’ll bring your total to $238.81 per month.

 Young man riding bike with baby carriage attached on paved trail in Houston park (view of river and skyline of downtown Houston)

Houston Fitness and Entertainment

Houston's mild climate in fall, winter, and spring offers more opportunities to bike, jog, and get fit outdoors. Summers are tougher to spend the day in the heat. If you're a gym-goer and need a place to cool down while working out, you'll pay around $43.13 on monthly membership fees.

Houston is a cultural town and boasts its own Museum District. Factor in a larger budget if you plan to visit the city's 19 museums and 9-mile museum district. Movie-goers will pay around $12 per ticket. Remember to factor in more if you plan to hit the concession stand for snacks and drinks.

Hermann Park is home to a golf course and the Houston Zoo. The park is a family-friendly place to spend the day learning more about the 6,000 animals and 900 species at the zoo.

Free Things to do Around Houston

During the summer months, the Miller Outdoor Theatre hosts free performances, flicks, and music in Houston's Museum District. Stop by The Menil Collection for free and see pieces from around the world, including works by Andy Warhol and Picasso. You can also go kayaking on the Armand Bayou Paddling Trail.

Houston offers plenty of free green space to relax outdoors or get fit. Go jogging, biking, or walk the dog in Buffalo Bayou Park, the Hike and Bike Trail, or Brays Bayou Park. Memorial Park's 1,466 acres offer plenty of room for fantastic golf.

Other Expenses to Consider in Houston

There are some other expenses to consider when living in Houston. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about frigid winters and icy wear and tear on your car when you live in Houston. However, heat can be a major issue during the summer months.

In addition to planning for a spike in utilities with air conditioning, most Texans need a pool to cool off. Swimming pools are common in apartment complexes throughout the metro area.

You're also just an hour's drive from Galveston and the beach, where you can cool off, stroll the Pier, and get a break from living in an urban area.

Texas State Taxes

If you're interested in owning a home, Houston's property taxes will likely prove higher at around 2% to 3% on up.

However, Texas doesn’t have any state or local personal income taxes, which can save you a bundle come tax time.

Sales tax may surprise you but can be offset by the lack of income taxes. Currently, the minimum combined 2022 sales tax rate for Houston, Texas, is 8.25%.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Houston?

Not sure how much you need to earn in Houston to live comfortably? The recommended household income for a one-bedroom in Houston is about $42,760 per year. To live comfortably in a two-bedroom apartment, you’ll need to earn at least $51,520 per year.

However, keep in mind that the "living wage" indicates how much money you need to live above the poverty threshold. In Houston, the basic living wage is $14.26 per hour for a full-time employed single individual.

The living wage doesn’t include any extras like eating out at restaurants, going to the movies, or taking a day trip. It also doesn’t consider any savings for an emergency fund or retirement.

The estimated median household income in Houston at the end of 2022 was around $53,,600 per year. If you're not sure how much you need to make living comfortable in Houston, consider your salary compared to the median rent prices.

If you can't find the salary you want in Houston, there are also other options to consider. Having a roommate will dramatically lower your costs and offer more flexibility for indulgences and nightlife.

Not sure how much rent you can afford? Try using our rent calculator.

This is a picture of several aircraft, parked at their gates, waiting for passengers and flight times at Houston airport - cost of living in Houston

Biggest Employers Around Houston

Houston residents enjoy a promising job market. However, the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down its growth trajectory. The job market attracts newcomers looking for opportunities and job growth around the metro area.

Newcomers are welcome in Houston. There’s a less competitive job market than in other metropolitan cities. Walmart, Memorial Hermann Health System, H-E-B, McDonald's, Houston Methodist, and United Airlines are among the city's biggest employers.

Houston is also home to a growing aerospace market, which includes Boeing Space Exploration, Houston Spaceport, Johnson Space Center, Space Center Houston, and more.

Final Thoughts

Houston offers something for everyone. You’ll find a relatively mild climate, a growing job market, and plenty of food and culture to choose from.

Ready to pack up and move to Space City? Find your next Houston apartment on Apartment List.

FAQs: Cost of Living in Houston in 2023

How expensive is an apartment in Houston?

Houston rents are still relatively affordable for a big city. A one-bedroom apartment in Houston costs $1,062. A two-bedroom apartment in Houston costs $1,273.

What is the cheapest rent in Houston?

The cheapest rent in Houston is a one-bedroom apartment. You’ll spend an average of $1,062 for a one-bedroom apartment in Houston.

How expensive is it to live in Houston?

A one-bedroom apartment in Houston averages $1,069. A two-bedroom apartment in Houston costs $1,282.

Single adults living in Houston will spend an average of $5,509 a year on transportation. A family of three will spend around $12,709 annually on transportation. Single adults will spend an average of $3,351 each year on food in Houston. A family of three with one child will spend an average of $7,645 a year on food.

Is Houston cheaper than Dallas?

Houston is currently cheaper than Dallas. A one-bedroom apartment in Houston is $1,062, and a one-bedroom apartment in Dallas is $1,201. A two-bedroom apartment in Houston is $1,273, and a two-bedroom apartment in Dallas is $1,436.

Is Houston cheaper than San Antonio?

San Antonio is slightly less expensive than Houston. A one-bedroom apartment in Houston is $1,201, and a one-bedroom apartment in San Antonio is $1,052. A two-bedroom apartment in Houston is $1,436, and a two-bedroom apartment in San Antonio is $1,300.

How far is Houston from Dallas?

Houston is 239.2 miles from Dallas via I-45 S. It takes 3 hours and 53 minutes to drive between Houston and Dallas. You can also take the Greyhound between Dallas and Houston, which takes 4 hours and 10 minutes.

How far is Houston from San Antonio?

Houston is 196.8 miles from Houston, San Antonio via I-10 E. It takes about 3 hours and 17 minutes to drive from Houston to San Antonio. You can also take the Greyhound bus from Houston to San Antonio. It will take around 3 hours and 35 minutes to get between the two cities by bus.

How far is Houston from Austin?

Houston is 162.1 miles from Austin via US-290 E. It takes about 2 hours and 52 minutes to drive from Houston to Austin. You can also take the Megabus from Houston to Austin, which takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.

What is the population of Houston?

Accoring to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Houston is 2,288,250. The entire state of Texas has over 29,145,505 people.

What is a good salary in Houston?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Houston is $56,019. It’s also possible to live comfortably in Houston if you only spend 30% of your take-home pay on rent. If you rent a one-bedroom apartment in Houston for $1,062, you need a salary of $42,480 to live comfortably. For a two-bedroom apartment that costs $1,273, you’ll need a salary of at least $50,920.

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Susan Finch
Susan is an accomplished freelance writer whose passion for rental real estate, travel, and digital marketing has been the driving force behind her nearly 15-year career. Throughout her professional journey, Susan has become a seasoned veteran in creating compelling and informative content focused on the tenant/landlord relationship. Read More
Tristian Brown
Tristian Brown is a Senior Content Marketing Associate at Apartment List, where he manages high-quality content that helps modern renters find the perfect home. He brings an immense wealth of knowledge to the team, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and European Management from the University of San Diego and EM Strasbourg Business School. Read More
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