Cost of Living
Cost of Living is the amount of money a household needs to spend to maintain a good standard of living. Several factors affect the overall cost of living in a particular geographic area, including employment, Housing, Utilities, Transportation, Healthcare, and many more. These factors all add up to create the total cost of living score in a community which can be pretty helpful to families planning to move into a new region.
Cost of Living Index
The Cost of Living index is a theoretical price index that offers insight into the relevant cost of living factors in any given geographical area. The table below from bestplaces.net provides a detailed score comparison for the current cost of living score for Houston, Texas, and the country. Scored at 100 points, the national average serves as the baseline for the cost of living in the various cities and communities throughout the nation. With Texas having a score of 93.9 and Houston a score of 96.5, we can surmise that the overall cost of living in the city is quite close to the national average. This ranking is a stark contrast from other major cities in other states, such as New York and Los Angeles, which have significantly higher living costs.
Moving to Houston, Texas
If you’re planning to move into Houston, Texas, reviewing the cost of living score is a significant first step in finding out your plan would be financially beneficial for you and your family. If you’re moving here from a different city with a higher cost of living and still retain the same or have a higher income, you can expect a relatively good increase in the overall quality of your life.
Families looking for a new city that provides all the attractions from a major metropolitan center as well as a robust employment market will surely love what Houston has to offer.
The city exercises original jurisdiction, which gives them the power to regulate the various utility service providers in Houston, Texas. Notable branches of the government that have oversight over the different private utility companies in the city include the Public Utility Commission and the Railroad Commission. An investor-owned electric, gas, and water company can get permission to do business in the city by acquiring a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity.
Current providers in the city include CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, Entergy Texas Inc, CenterPoint Energy Entex, Aqua Texas Inc, Blue Bell Manor Utility Company, Chaps Water Company, Nitsch, and Son Utility Co, Southern Water Corporation, and Phonoscope.
Houston provides a diverse selection of transportation options to get around in the city. Several highways branch outward from the city center, connecting the many smaller towns and cities within the Greater Houston region. Interstate-610, locally known as the loop, offers a significant highway that circles around the border of the city center, providing a faster highway to travelers looking to get to various districts in Houston. There are larger highways that circle the city center providing additional routes to vehicles. Besides your cars, alternative transportation options in the city include the METRORail system, the METRO Bus System, taxis, car rental, and ride-sharing service providers.
Houston serves as the regional medical center for surrounding cities and is home to a vast selection of healthcare institutions. The most prominent of these is the Texas Medical Center, a world-class facility home to one of the country’s largest life science business accelerators focusing on innovative medical research. Other medical centers in the city include CHI St. Luke’s Health, HCA Houston Healthcare, Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hermann, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Heart Institute, and UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Housing in Houston, Texas
Like most other major city centers in Texas, Houston offers a relatively affordable housing market that helps promote a higher quality of life to families planning to live long-term in the city. The median home cost in the city is $220,000, which is lower than the state average of $243,600, and the national average of $291,700. Home appreciation in the city over the last ten years has been relatively stable at 6.6%. Should you require an updated report on the current standing of the real estate market in Houston, please feel free to go to our market report page.
Miscellaneous Expenses and Groceries
As a major city center, there are several retail options available to families throughout Houston. You can find a vast selection of shopping malls, supermarkets, department stores, groceries, and big-box retailers in the city. For a list of the top shopping centers in the city, check out this list from Yelp for the Top 10 Best-reviewed Malls in Houston.
The city also provides a vast selection of attractions to residents living in the city. There are a fantastic set of restaurants and other dining establishments in Houston. If you’re new to town and would like to try out some of these places, check out The 38 Essential Houston Restaurants blog post from Houston Eater.