Austin is a booming city. It has grown by over 30% in the last decade and now boasts one of the most diverse and exciting arts scenes in the country. It is an odd mix of old-style cowboy culture and burgeoning creative counter-culture.
If you’re eying up a move to this unique city in Texas, then you might be wondering about the cost of living in Austin. This article is for you.
We’ll cover everything you’ll need to know and everything you need to budget for when moving to one of the most exciting and up-and-coming cities in America.
One of the more interesting real estate trends in Austin is that there are now more renters than homeowners, so it makes sense to look at this first. The cost of rent in Austin has increased slightly over the last year, but it still remains a fraction below the national average. The national average rent sits around $1,463; the Austin average rent is $1,431.
It’s important to remember that this is just an average, though, and it can be a bit deceptive. This is because of the huge disparity in rental prices between different areas of the city.
Renting a house or apartment in neighborhoods like West End and Market District in the sprawling urban downtown area can set you back as much as $2,000. If you were to look for somewhere on the northern edges of the city, however, you could find the rent as low as $1,000.
Neighborhoods in the city that lie firmly within the average rental price include Hyde Park, Travis Heights, East Riverside, and South Congress.
Prices for Home Buyers
Don’t be worried if you’re looking to purchase property in Austin, the surge in rental properties hasn’t put a damper on the prospects of snapping up a house for yourself.
Once again, though, the price of Austin real estate has risen quite sharply over the last year. In 2021, the cost of a house in Austin would’ve been around $557k. In 2022, it has now risen to as much as $686k, that’s over $300k above the national average of $349k.
While that may seem like a huge increase and a huge amount above the national average, it’s important to put it into context. It’s still well below the eye-watering levels of housing in New York or San Fransisco.
Much like the rent, the cost of buying a property in Austin very much depends on the area that you opt for. The most expensive properties are found in the city center but get a bit cheaper on the northern and eastern edges of Downtown.
If you want to find the most affordable homes in Austin, then you need to head out to the suburbs. The most affordable neighborhoods are Cedar Park, Pflugerville, and Round Rock.
One last thing to bear in mind when purchasing a property in Austin, the property tax rate is very high, one of the highest in the country, in fact. The rate of property tax in Texas is 2.06%.
If you’re looking to invest in property in Austin, but you’re not sure where to start, head over to ballardbuilt.com for more information.
Moving to Austin, or anywhere in Texas for that matter, means that you’ll be living somewhere with very long and very hot summers. It’s no surprise then that you’ll have a not inconsiderable air conditioning bill when living in Austin.
That being said, the rest of your utilities in Austin will be either below or on par with national averages, to it all evens out in the end. The average cost for your gas, water, garbage, and electricity will hover at around $146 dollars a month. This price is about 15% under the national average.
Internet connection should set you back somewhere in the region of $62, which is firmly within the national average for internet costs.
Groceries and Food
Austin has become something of a boomtown for its food culture in recent years. It now plays host to some of the country’s most exciting restaurants and has earned its reputation as a foodies city.
That doesn’t mean that it’s all high-end restaurants that are really expensive, though. Having such a booming and diverse food culture means that there’s a wide range of food available in the city, whatever your budget may be.
Meals out can cost as little as $15, or as much as $50, depending on where you go. These prices are roughly comparable to cities like New York and Washington D.C. Aside from eat-in restaurants, there are tonnes of little pop-ups and food trucks where you can grab a bite to eat for much less.
The cost of a pint of the local beer should set you back around $5.
You’ll certainly make some savings on your groceries as the average cost for Austinites is 11% below the national average. You can expect to pay around $302 a month for your home groceries.
It’s bad news for people who love to walk everywhere; Austin isn’t a very walkable city; it’s ranked 29th in the country for walkability. It usually takes around 10 to 20 minutes to hop from different neighborhoods into Downtown in a car.
Most commuters in Austin tend to drive to work alone rather than take public transport. If most commuters are driving in alone, then it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there will be some traffic issues.
Sitting in traffic can be very wasteful when it comes to gas, but likely the gas prices in Austin tend to be cheaper than the national average. Although, it’s worth bearing in mind that very few places at the moment have cheap gas.
Although not popular with commuters, there are public transit options provided by Capital Metro. A single ride on the local bus is as little as $1.50, and a day rider is $2.50.
Austinites are paid above the national average. The mean hourly wage for workers in Austin is around $28.97. The national average, for context, is $28.01. That works out as an average annual salary of just over $62k.
The minimum wage in Austin is the same as the federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour. Some industries in Austin that pay slightly more than others are STEM positions like tech workers and software engineers.
Cost of Living in Austin: The Bottom Line
Austin is neither crazy expensive nor super cheap. On most things, the cost of living in Austin doesn’t stray too far away from national averages. The main takeaway is that for a city of size, it’s certainly far more affordable than other comparable cities like New York and San Francisco.
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