New York City and Houston. The Big Apple and H-Town. Two of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. Both NYC and Houston are regarded as melting pots of cultures and races that elevate both their cultural and culinary scene. Located on the banks of the scenic San Jacinto river, Houston is truly a feather in the cap of Texas. Known for its widespread interest in space exploration and advancement, it is a city of the young and the different.
Even though from the outset, both these cities have so much in common, we’re guessing that you’re done with your time in NYC and have decided to make Houston your home. Great decision! However, moving is a complicated, difficult process. And we know that you could always use some help. So, we’ve essentially compiled a little hand-book of everything you’d need to know before moving from NYC to Houston.
Both NYC and Houston are classified as having a humid subtropical climate, the only difference being the nature of the winters in these cities. While NYC winters tend to be cold and lead to frequent snow, Houston winters are generally less chilly and it snows less often.
Since your stint in the Big Apple is already over, you’d know that in New York City, while the summers can get quite hot and sticky, the humidity levels are more or less in control. However, upon shifting to H-Town, make sure to guard yourself against the peak summer sticky, muggy heat that is usually caused by the south and south-eastern winters. Houston summers are not unlike general Texas summers, where temperatures range between 80°F to 90°F with a slight dip in the nights. Winters generally touch 30°F to 40°F with January being the coldest month in both the cities.
Houston also sees its fair share of rain receiving an average of 49.77 inches every year. One downside to the climatic conditions of this great city is that it is prone to supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes. Plus, it is one of the most ozone-polluted cities in the country. Houston’s air quality has consistently ranked as falling in the worst ten cities for the past many years, and this hasn’t witnessed any positive changes so far.
Cost Of Living
Now to the most exciting part of the article: the cost of living. For many, the first thing you’d check before moving is the cost of living of your prospective city. It can not only affect your other financial decisions but can also be a dealbreaker for many. Lucky for you, there’s no deal-breaking here!
Houston is known for offering quality amenities and housing at extremely affordable rates. These rates are going to seem even cheaper to you if you’ve encountered the bleak reality of finding cheap, safe housing and amenities in New York City. While NYC’s living expenses are a whopping 129% higher than the national average, Houston’s is around 2% lesser than the country’s average. Don’t believe us? We’ll tell you more.
It’s no secret that finding a modestly-priced, suitable apartment in NYC is like looking for a needle in a haystack, or a polar bear in a snowstorm. It’s next to impossible. However, if you make this shift, you’ll find that good, comfortable housing is not only easy to find in the Space City of Texas but can also be chosen on the basis of your specific budget. Housing costs in the city are nearly 12% lower than the national average. If you need a better idea, let this table from Zillow do all the talking:
Median Home Value
Renting A House
Buying a house is one of the biggest journeys one could embark upon. If you’re young and unsure of making such major decisions or simply can’t afford to purchase a house at the moment, you could always look into renting options. As with buying, renting also comes immensely cheap in Houston.
If slightly cheaper, affordable rental options are what you’re after, you could always check out South Park, Clear Lake City, or the Greater Fifth Ward. However, if you had the budget to spare, you could look at slightly high-end options in posher localities like Midtown and Downtown. Basically, there’s something for everyone. The sheer difference between rental prices in NYC and Houston is better illustrated by this table from BestPlaces:
Taxes play a huge role in deciding and formulating your budget and is something that definitely requires consideration while shifting to a new city. It’s common knowledge that NYC is not a tax-friendly city. It has an income tax bracket of 3.078% to 3.876%, an average effective property tax rate of 0.88%, and a sales tax of 8.87%. With these rates, we’re sure that a good chunk of your bank statement would be devoted to paying all your taxes.
However, you’d be chuffed to know that Houston is one of the most tax-friendly cities in the country. Houston has a property tax rate of $0.56 per $100 valuation and a sales tax rate of 8.2%. The income tax is–wait for it–zero! The Texas state does not believe in levying a tax on personal income. While the sales tax of both these cities is higher than the national average and not exactly shopper-friendly, it goes without saying that without the high tax burden of NYC, your budget would get some breathing space in Houston.
If you’re used to the exorbitant living expenses in the Big Apple, then we’d say that you’re in for a fiscal treat once you move to Houston. In the Space City, the total living expenses are nearly 2% less than the U.S. average. This means that for half the price, you’d be getting standard qualities and amenities, anywhere in Houston.
To give you a better picture–because that’s what we always do–one month of basic utilities, which includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, would lead to an expense of roughly $138.97. Of course, this is subject to change depending on the size of the apartment and neighborhood. Even groceries will cost you less than half of what they did in NYC after your move. One gallon of milk in Houston is $2.49. Bread and eggs cost a moderate $2.89 and $1.57 respectively.
Affordable medical care in any city is a necessity. Know that upon shifting, a standard doctor’s visit will cost you around $101 in H-Town while a visit to the dentist would cost approximately $87.04. If you’ve got a pet who’s more family than friend, also be aware that a standard visit to the vet would come up to around $48.65. Overall, Houston is a city that promises affordable healthcare, utilities, and groceries. The positive differences are all the more evident when you shift from a city like NYC, which has the reputation of being incredibly expensive.
No city can be dubbed entirely ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’; they’re all bound to have areas that lack security and those that value personal and public safety at large. Houston, too, is a city like this. Even though pop culture pictures the ‘City that Never Sleeps’ as one filled with dark alleyways and grungy neighborhoods, you’d be surprised to know that when it comes to violent and property crimes, Houston is leading.
New York City’s violent crime rate of 5.8 incidents (per 1,000 residents) seems like a blip when compared to Houston’s astounding 12.58 incidents (per 1,000 residents). For property crimes too, Houston once again takes the cake with a rate of 43.06 (per 1,000 residents), more than double of New York City’s 20.00 (per 1,000 residents).
This is not to scare you away entirely from your decision to move since, as mentioned at the beginning of this section, Houston also has neighborhoods that foster safety, security, and public welfare. However, do keep an eye out against areas like Far North, Northeast, South Houston, etc. as they tend to have a higher concentration of unlawful activities and are generally less safe.
Economy And Employment Opportunities
NYC; home of Wall Street and hub of tourism. Finance, tourism, media, entertainment, and real estate are some of the foundational industries upon which the NYC economy rests. While employment opportunities are seeing a boom in the Big Apple, tough competition is also making it difficult to land a job there. This is why Houston, while a humbler option, is better in terms of finding lasting, stable employment.
Houston is primarily invested in the energy industry–specifically oil, gas, and renewable energy. Companies like Phillips 66, ConocoPhillips, Sysco, Kinder Morgan, Centerpoint Energy, etc. have their headquarters in the city. Houston is also a trailblazer in terms of building oilfield equipment. Education, finance, and business are the other fields that are hiring en masse in the city. It is also regarded as a city that is best for the employment generation, especially for new college grads.
Houston’s current unemployment rate is at 5.1%, but things are looking up for this little Texan city. Space exploration is huge, especially in Clear Lake City where NASA’s Johnson Space Center is located. The multiple universities in Houston also generate employment opportunities if academia is your thing. Overall, while the job market in the Bayou City might not be as exciting as NYC’s, the chances of you landing a job in the field of your choice are much higher here!
We understand that for many who shift, a good education is a fundamental priority. Unless you’re a bachelor with no plans to attend university, a good educational infrastructure is bound to benefit you at some point, be it for yourself or for your kids. Houston’s educational system is not as illustrious as that of the New York City Department of Education which is the largest public school system in the city. But, the Bayou City has its own set of schools and colleges that are reputed and offer high-caliber education.
The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in the state of Texas and has over 300 private schools underneath it. Houston is also a city that has multiple world-renowned research universities and colleges that have a long legacy.
Lets us have a look at some of the best-rated schools and colleges in and around Houston, Texas-
The Post Oak School
Challenge Early College High School
River Oaks Elementary School
Carnegie Vanguard High School
East Early College High School
Sharpstown International School
The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Victory Early College High School
Universities And Colleges
University of Houston
San Jacinto College
University of St. Thomas
University of Houston Law Center
Houston Community College System
Baylor College of Medicine
Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Traffic And Transportation
For many reasons–reducing one’s carbon footprint, parking, and the hassles of being a car owner being a few–more and more people are starting to adopt public transportation. For this reason, a good public transport system is an integral aspect of consideration for many while shifting. With this regard, you’re in luck, because Houston has a pretty solid public transportation system.
Traveling from NYC to Houston by road while in the midst of a chaotic move is not a good idea. Take our word for it and fly into one of the three centrally located international airports in the city; George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), and Ellington Airport/Houston Spaceport (EFD).
If you’re someone who prefers traveling via train, Houston’s Light Rail is a good way to go. It has stops in all the major stations and only costs around $1.50 per person one-way. Reliant Park, Museum District, Hermann Park, etc. are some of the spots it has. It also has a stop at Rice University, so if you’re a student living away from Uni, this is probably a cheap and efficient way to travel to campus every day.
If road travel is more your thing, the city has got both a fleet of public buses that ply to and fro every day, offering short and long-distance commuting options, as well as taxicab services that are available at any hour of the day in the city. Both these modes of transport are reliable and time-efficient, while the former is a lot cheaper than the latter.
You could also opt for the WAVE, which is a jitney service–shared cab service, for those of y’all who don’t speak Texan–that is available primarily after sundown. Houston BCycle is the city’s premium bike share program, for all those go-getters who can visualize themselves cycling to get around.
For those with money, any place is a paradise. If you’re one of the lucky few, how does it feel to live our dream? Head on over to West University, which got its name from its close proximity to Houston’s Rice University. It is filled to the brim with austere high-end professionals with money and is one of the most elite communities in the city. West University is known for its gorgeous cottages and beautiful bungalows for the ultra-rich to reside in.
Median Home Value: $1.6M
Monthly Median Rent: $2,160
Annual Median Household Income: $359,834
If you’re young and vibrant, or just at young at heart, and want to live out life to the fullest in the Space City, Montrose is the perfect place for you! Not only is Houston’s hippest neighborhood, but it is also known for its wide range of gay bars, hippie communes, and lively art and music scene.
Its close proximity to institutions in the area as well as to the Museum of Fine Arts located in the Houston Museum District gives it a distinct bohemian flavor and is probably the reason Montrose is nicknamed ‘the heart of Houston.’ It also has the Rothko Chapel and fantastic nightlife.
Median Home Value: $828,100
Monthly Median Rent: $1,353
Annual Median Household Income:$85,791
Once you’ve retired, start the next phase of your life. Unlike what people usually think, this phase, too, is exciting and new in its own right. If you’re a retiree looking for a peaceful, affordable retirement spot, then Kingwood, Houston, is perhaps the place you’re looking for.
Located in northeast Houston, Kingwood is known for being one of the safest communities in the city. It’s got plenty of parks like the Eastend Park and golfing spots like the Clubs of Kingwood. Its low crime rate and close community feel have led to residents calling it ‘the bubble.’
Median Home Value: $435,374
Monthly Median Rent: $1287
Annual Median Household Income: $77,527
Having a family is beautiful, but it is no joyride. Shifting with them is bound to be difficult with its own set of hassles. However, we’re here to help if you’re facing trouble narrowing down your perfect future neighborhood in H-Town. Memorial is a beautiful, slightly high-end neighborhood that is known for its sprawling villas, forested neighborhoods, and fantastic infrastructure. It’s got great schools like Memorial Drive Elementary School, Spring Branch Middle School, and the like, and lots of malls and restaurants you can plan your Sunday outings in.
Moving is a deeply subjective matter. It depends heavily on the nature and volume of your goods, the number of bedrooms you’re moving out of/into, and the distance between your two homes. While it can be tempting to try it do it all by yourself to save your budget, we recommend that you hand the task over to the experts. While it could cost additional money, it’s best to leave that hassle to experienced and professional moving companies, so you can focus your energy on ensuring a smooth transition for you and your family.
On average, a move from NYC to Houston would cost you around $3,400-$4,000. Make sure that you do ample research, check reviews and ratings and choose movers that are rated and reliable. Additional tip: move on a weekday. Not only will you get open slots easily but you’ll also have to pay less than on weekends.
There, we’ve told you pretty much everything there is to know before you make this jump from one diverse, exciting city to the other. While NYC is called the ‘City that Never Sleeps’ because of its vibrant nightlife and economical opportunities, Houston is renowned for its investment and interest in space life and exploration. It is a city that values diversity and intellectual advancement and is one of the best places to carve a home out of–both in Texas and in the entire country. A move to H-Town is also bound to reflect quite well on your budget that we’re sure is straining under the weight after life in New York!
We hope that this article helped you and wish you a memorable transition. Happy moving!
FAQs On Moving From NYC To Houston
Is Moving To Houston A Good Idea?
Houston is a great city to live in if you’re a fan of the Texas heat or love space (in both senses of the word). It is known for its sunny weather and welcoming economy. Houston is also known for being a good fit for people across the age and financial spectrum and has plenty of things to explore in your time there. However, Houston is known for its periods of sticky heat and humidity and also has a high proclivity to hurricanes and tornadoes.
NYC is nearly 1,627.0 miles away from the city of Houston. Since this would mean a car ride of nearly 25 hours, the best way out would be to fly into one of Houston’s three international airports.
What Is Houston Known For?
Houston is known for being the national capital of space exploration. It is home to NASA’s Johnson’s space center. It is also known for being a melting pot of culinary delights and for being its investment in renewable energy as well as petroleum. An interesting fact that you might not have known about H-Town is that it is the birthplace of Beyonce!
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.