Are you thinking of moving to ‘the city with no limits’? You probably need help figuring out if in Houston, you have a problem? See what we did there? That’s your first lesson. Now, if you are contemplating a move to the city neighboring the Galveston Bay, there’s much to know so that you make an informed decision. Need help in figuring out how a new life in a would sit with you when moving to Houston? Keep reading ahead for that exact information.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Houston?
Houston, in terms of population, ranks first in the state of Texas and fourth in the United States. The city is spread over an area of 671.70 square miles (1739.69 km2), of which 31.23 square miles (80.88 km2) is water. The city is the eighth most expansive in the United States, by area, whose government does not consolidate with a county, parish or borough. The population of the city, as estimated in 2019, is 2,320,268. Needless to say, the city does a great job of attracting people here.
Something to know about Houston is that it comes alive at night. Full of bars, dancing clubs, concerts and entertainment venues, you would find yourself choosing the outdoors a lot more over Netflixing all night long. One might go for a theatre show or explore a museum after dark – not that it would be the ultimate childhood Hollywood dream. You could just go for a comedy or a music show and then dance the night away too.
And you don’t need ‘no dollar bills to have’ at night in Houston. Some of the things you can do for absolutely nothing include seeing the art at the Menil collection, watching a show at the Miller outdoor theatre, biking along Buffalo Bayou, browsing through the contemporary Arts museum or just reflecting on your life at the Rothko Chapel. Like we said, you won’t be charged a thing for any of these activities.
When it comes to food, you can start your day with chicken waffles, then proceed to have a barbeque brisket and end your day with some Viet-Cajun crawfish. Your stomach might be full, but your soul will fall in love with the culinary landscape of this city.
While Houston does not have any beaches of its own, a lot of the quaint beach-towns or barren beaches are just an hour’s drive away from the city. You will find that Houston is the land of the ambivert, and you will not have a problem with that.
Crime Rate In Houston
The rate of violent crime in Houston per 1000 residents is 11%, which means that your chances of being a victim of such crime are 1 in 91. The rate of property crime per 1000 residents is 44.65%, which brings your chances of being a victim of such at 1 in 22. When it comes to motor vehicle theft, your chances of having your car or any other vehicle stolen are 1 in 176. For the purpose of being fair, it is important to acknowledge that the larger the city, the more the crime. So, going by a comparison with other cities as large as Houston or even bigger or denser, it emerges that the crime statistics of Houston stand considerably better than them.
As is the case for most of the southern United States, the climate of Houston is classified as ‘humid subtropical’.
Summers are very hot and humid and living in Houston means having air-conditioning compulsorily in the house. Summers are from June to September and the average temperature during these months is 90°F (32°C). Sometimes, the temperature can exceed 100°F (37.8°C).
Winters are on the milder side, with a few cold days in between. The winter months fall between November to March, with January being easily the coldest month having an average temperature of 53°F (12°C) with the occasional drop to 32°F (0°C). While Houston seldom receives snowfall, it can be said that the annual snowfall would be about 2-3 cm.
When it comes to rainfall, Houston doesn’t fall short. The annual precipitation is about 49.8 inches (126 cm). Because the area is completely flat, some areas are prone to flooding. Rains usually occur the most from April to October. Do keep in mind that Houston experiences frequent winds and it is also known for its high levels of pollution. So, never skip your sunscreen in the city.
Is Houston Expensive To Live In?
‘No man is rich whose expenditure exceeds his means’. And you wouldn’t want to move to a city as exciting as Houston only to discover that it might run your account dry. So, let’s take a look at what it will cost you to live in Houston and whether it is within the means of an average person.
To start with taxes, Texas does not collect income tax so Houston is free from that. You will only have to pay the federal tax here. The property tax is 1.82% and the sales tax that you pay, which will be a sum of the state, city and county tax comes to around 8.25%.
Cost of Living In Houston
A family of four in Houston would need about $2,916 and a single person would spend $830 per month, for their living expenses, without rent, on average. The cost-of-living index is 96.5 and the median household income is $52,338.
When you go to the supermarket, you would be spending $0.79 on a litre of milk and $2.45 on a loaf of white bread. A dozen eggs would set you back by $1.89 and a kilogram of potatoes cost $2, as per Numbeo.
If you don’t want to cook and go to eat at an eatery, the meal would cost you $15 and if you take someone with you, preferably to a mid-range restaurant, the price of the meal would be $50.
When it comes to transportation, a one-way ticket on the local transit is $1.25 and a monthly pass is $40. If you are a taxi-person, the base tariff is $3 and the price per kilometre is $1.44. If you have your own vehicle, you would be spending $0.51 on a litre of gas.
When it comes to health insurance, residents may pay an average of $510 for a major plan for an individual.
Buying a House
The cost of a two-bedroom house in Houston would be about $200,000 according to BestPlaces. The houses would be somewhat cheaper a few miles from the city center than they would be in the heart of it.
Rent a House
According to Zillow, the average rent of a two-bedroom house in Houston would be $1,100. The prices would vary though, from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. But $1,100 is the standard expectation for a regular house.
Utility costs like electricity, garbage, water, heating and cooling come to $151.99 per month for an average sized house in Houston. In case you take an unlimited Internet plan, which you will, the cost of it would be $63.55, on average.
Houston Economy And Employment Opportunities
While the energy industry, especially oil, forms the chunk of the economy of Houston, healthcare, bio-medical research and aerospace also constitute large swathes of the economy. The city has the second most number of Fortune 500 companies calling it home, with a total of 23 of them. It says a lot about the business environment of Houston that not just Fortune 500, but a lot of other MNCs and domestic companies along with half of the top 100 non-US based companies have operations here.
Considering the number of businesses here, it was only natural for banking and finance to be vital sectors to the region. Another major source of employment for the city are the tech-related companies, which are more than 1000 in number. There is also the education sector of Houston to consider, which generates employment and revenue equal to that of a major industry. The Texas Medical Centre, which is the cornerstone of the city’s healthcare and biotechnology industry, generates $3.5 billion in revenue by way of grants.
With 10,700 manufacturing establishments to its name, the city has been awarded the Gold Medal World-Class Community for manufacturing for four years consecutively by Industry Week. Houston also happens to be the tenth largest television market in the country. It can be summed up that the city offers jobs in diverse fields with a booming economy guaranteed to ensure that your paycheck remains fat.
Nineteen school districts operate in Houston of which the Houston Independent School District is the largest in the country. There are magnet and vanguard schools that place special emphasis on fields such as health, performing arts and the sciences. There are also over 300 private schools, for those who prefer for their children to go that route.
When it comes to higher learning, Houston has four state universities, several private universities and three community college districts. The state universities are the University of Houston, University of Houston-Clear Lake, University of Houston-Downtown and the Texas Southern university. Rice University, which is a private institute, is one of the most incredibly selective in the state and country. The University of St. Thomas is Houston’s one and only Catholic university.
The Texas Medical Centre in Houston is the seat of research and medicine institutions and is the largest in the world. Some of the research and health institutes within it include Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston College of Pharmacy, The Methodist Hospital and others.
Getting Around Houston
Houston is largely an automobile dependent city with almost 80% of the population driving alone to work. The rest use public transit, carpooling and cycling as their preferred means of transit. Over the last few years, a strong preference for walking has emerged as a way of transport.
Let’s take a look at some of the modes of transport in the city:
A branch of the municipal government called the Houston Airport System maintains and oversees the three airports in the city. The George Bush Intercontinental airport and the William P.Hobby Airport take the commercial aviation of the city, serving 55 million passengers annually, both domestic and international. The third airport is the Erlington Airport, which is for the purposes of military, government and the general aviation sector.
A light rail service was started by METRO that connects Downtown, Midtown, the museum District, the Texas Medical Centre and the NRG Park. Subsequently, the Green Line and the Purple Line were added and the Red Line was extended, making the total length of the railway system 22.7 miles (36.5 km) long.
Amtrak’s Sunset Limited runs through Houston, three times per week and an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach runs daily through the city.
METRO covers 1303 square miles (3370 km2) of area. There are 1,200 buses that almost 275,000 passengers use daily. The most number of passengers aboard the buses from Downtown and the Texas Medical Centre. One of the reasons for the success of the public transit in the city is due to the ‘park and ride’ system where parking lots are provided where people can park their vehicles to ride on public transport.
The I-10, I-45 and the I-69 cross Houston as well as a number of other Interstates and highways. There are also some significant arterial roads in the city which are Memorial Drive, Bellaire Boulevard, Telephone Road and others.
The city has 160 miles of bike trails, which is under plans of expansion, and the largest number of bike commuters. Houston also has a bicycle sharing system, which is essentially a public bike share. This is pivotal in making the city more bike friendly. A local non-profit called Houston Bcycle runs that subscription program and suffice to say, it has turned it into a raging success.
Best Neighborhoods of Houston
This place is like a world within a world and one wouldn’t believe that this is a neighbourhood in the fourth largest city of the United States. The neighborhood of Memorial snuggles between the Energy Corridor and Downtown Houston. With its proximity to two school districts, the place is perfect for families and people who prefer a quieter more scenic life, mostly people who live in suburbs and in-betweeners of cities.
The average cost of a house in this area would be $497,000 and the average rent would be $1,500 per month.
2. Spring Branch
This is the place for those who love everything about Houston and would trade it for anything, but would like some space for themselves. Spring Branch is massive to say the least. It is also one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in the city and since it is close to Memorial, you will be able to enjoy the other neighbourhood’s benefits as well.
The average home value in Spring Branch is $462,000 and the average rent would be $1,800.
3. The Heights
The opportunity to live in this area is something you should never let go of. Think charming mansions, walkable streets and a quiet haven away from the noise of the rest of the city. A lot of businesses have set shop in this neighborhood. If you plan to build a house here in The Heights, you should be aware that this is a historically protected neighborhood and there will be strict guidelines for you to comply. The Heights is perfect for people who love bungalows or affluent people with large families.
The average price of a house in this area is $813,899 and the average rent of a house here is $1,700.
Not even a five minutes’ drive from downtown, Bellaire is also pretty close to Meyerland Plaza, The Galleria, Greenway Plaza and the Rice Village. This neighborhood is again for the people who love Houston but crave a bigger space. The community here is primarily Jewish and some of its locations include the Jewish Federation of greater Houston and Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community.
The average home value here is $953,490 and the average rent of a house here is $1,800.
5. Museum District
Ask anyone and they will also say that Museum District is the heart of Houston, the centre of the city’s culture, arts scene and entertainment in leaps and bounds. To name a few, there are 19 museums and a 445 acre park that features an outdoor theatre, a golf course and running trails, and green spaces for your weekend picnics. Museum District is perfect for those who appreciate the arts and the finer things of life.
The average home price in this area is $1.2 million. You can’t really rent here and if you can, it would be about $1,900-$2,000 per month on an average.
Is Moving To Houston A Good Idea?
With a city like Houston, the answer comes very easily in simple terms of ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The city does nothing in half measure, be it the entertainment scene, the employment opportunities, the cost of living or even the kind of neighborhood you will live in. This makes the process of comparing your current situation to the expected future of moving here, very easy. So, once you have made an objective assessment, you can reach a conclusive decision. And we would be glad to have been of assistance to you in this process. In case you are a first time mover, do read How Much Does It Cost To Move so you can plan things better.
See also: Best Moving Companies in Houston