What Salary Do You Need To Live In Houston?

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Moving to Houston

Residing in the same city as the Houston Astros is a blessing already and we envy you a bit for getting a chance to move to Houston. The affordable cost of living in the city combined with the amenities one gets to be on the receiving end of is certainly something that cannot be missed. So, to enjoy your life to the fullest in H-town, what better way to get a head start than gauging your expenses? The following article will take care of that part for you.

Where Does Your Salary Go Living In Houston?

Costs Of Real Estate In Houston

There is no better feeling than coming back to your own house after a long tiring day and sipping on a glass of wine in peace. However, it takes a while to rake up that kind of money to afford a decent home in many U.S cities. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with Houston. The city’s low housing prices have been a major reason why people are moving here from the relatively larger metropolitan cities of the country. The median house value in Houston is $256,145 which is comfortably lower than the national average of $337,563. Finding a new abode shouldn’t be a monumental task in this part of the nation.

If you prefer renting a house over buying one in Houston, the rent prices here won’t be an obstacle either. Keeping in mind the national average rent of $1,652, the same in Houston is going to cost you fairly less as the rent rates run at about $1,265 here for an average 881 sq.ft. apartment. Like every town has its’s upscale and affordable neighborhoods, Houston is no different.

If you wish to enjoy the true Texan luxurious lifestyle, you can plan a move to neighborhoods like Downtown Houston, Fourth Ward, and Montrose where the rent rates are as high as $2,050! If you’re not up for splashing some extra bucks and are okay with a decent neighborhood with all the required amenities, the city has a lot of affordable places too. To name a few, Greater Fifth Ward, Trinity – Houston, and Houston Suburban Heights are some of the neighborhoods where the rent is only about $785. Owing to the city’s low housing costs, 60% of Houstonians prefer owning a house as opposed to the other 40% who choose to rent one in the H-town.

See Also: How Much Does it Cost to Move Out Of Houston?

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Costs Of Transportation In Houston

What good is living in a place if you don’t have a few attractions to visit when you step out of the house. Luckily, Houston has its fair share of attractions to keep its residents engaged. But wait, how are you going to get to the places that are too far for you to walk it out, let alone your daily commute to the office? The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Haris County (METRO) will aid you in that aspect. Though the city is car-dependent for the most part, the bus and rail routes provided by METRO have been a major boost for the Houstonians in recent years.

The light rail system, METRORail for instance, is constantly expanding its reach and making the daily commute less of a hassle for one and all. This is easily the most preferred method of traveling in and around town. Not to mention that you are saved from the needless hours getting stuck in traffic should you opt for traveling via private car.

The METRO Bus System is yet another life-saver when it comes to moving around in H-town. The extensive bus routes have been a boon for frequent travelers. The park-and-ride facility provided by this bus network is just the icing on the cake.

To make traveling more convenient for the residents of Houston, METRO maintains a common fare pricing for both rail and buses. Similar to a debit card, the METRO Q Fare Card will come in handy for you as it stores all your money and deducts about $1.25 for every local ride. The park-and-ride fares vary from $2.00 to $8.00 depending on the zones. If your commute requires traveling three or more rides per day, you can avail of the METRO Day Pass and you won’t be charged more than $3.00 for the entire day.

If you wish to take the wheel (or handle for that matter) in your hands, the city’s bike-sharing service called Bcycle will help you with that. The membership rates of the same run at $13 per month and $79 per year. The perks of availing of the membership are that you don’t have to pay a single dollar for the first 60 minutes per ride. The additional charges start to apply once you cross the 1-hour mark. If you don’t require the membership service, you can opt for the walk-up service which is $3.00 per 30 minutes.

In a city with a flourishing oil industry, you will find a lot of taxis waiting outside prominent stops to help you reach your destination. And if all else fails, you always have to option to ride around town in your own car. The gas prices in the city stand currently stand at $3.89 per gallon.

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Taxes In Houston

Financially speaking, it is established that your life in Houston will be relatively easy. To add another perk to this already joyous ride, the state of Texas has a no-income-tax policy! So, whatever you’re going to earn, it is all going to be in your pocket, full value!

If we talk about the sales tax in Space City, the combined total amounts to 8.25%. To break it down a little further, the Texas state sales tax accounts for 6.25% whereas the Houston tax combined with the special tax comes about to be 2%. Although the city is blessed with a no-income-tax policy, the sales tax here is one of the highest in the country.

The low housing costs in the city are a blessing to all Houstonians. The property tax, on the other hand, is a bit of a pain if you compare it with the other cities. The current property taxes stand at 2.03%. To give you a little context, if your home value is somewhere around $250,000, you’ll be paying a sum of $5,080 annually as property tax. Holistically speaking, the taxes in the city shouldn’t be much of a concern considering other amenities.

Utility Bills In Houston

When you start taking care of your finances, the most basic rule, to begin, is to account for your monthly utility bills. You will need to regulate your salary towards utilities wisely and have a fair idea of how much goes into these bills. Across the board, utility expenses in Houston are about 11% higher than the national average.

To break it down – Your monthly utility bill which includes electricity, water, heating, and garbage, expect the figure to be around $150 on average. A good internet service that provides a speed of more than 60 Mbps would cost you nearly $61.10 in H-town! This breakup of costs can help become aware of just how much you’re going to spend.

Costs Of Food In Houston

So you’ve bought a house, paid your taxes diligently, spent a good amount on utility, now it’s time to spend some for yourself – Groceries! You’ll be pleased to know that the grocery prices in the city of Houston are about 13% less than the national average. A gallon of milk will cost you nearly $1.90 in Houston, while a carton of eggs will see you spill $1.60 on average. A regular loaf of bread is priced at $2.90 in this city.

Now that you have a good understanding of your everyday essentials, it won’t hurt to know a thing or two about the food culture in this town. The textbook dish in this state is the Tex-Mex and you ought to try the same at Ninfa’s which has been around for quite a while now. If you are up for a delectable cuisine out of a local food joint (a trailer to be precise) then head to the Pho Bing Trailer to get a taste of the amazing pho they have to offer. The city has numerous such food outlets which you can explore when you’re out and about for a good time. It is also a sign for you that you will be tempted to try out new cuisines often in Houston, hence will need to set aside funds for dining out.

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Healthcare Costs In Houston

We hope it doesn’t come to this ever but on the off chance you require medical help, it is always better to know just how much money you may need to keep aside for an emergency. If it makes you feel any better, the healthcare costs in the city of Houston are 9% lower than the national average.

A visit to your frenemy, the doctor, will put you down approximately $100. Whereas a visit to the dentist will see you spill around 86.80. Again, we don’t wish for it to happen, but in case you need the services of a hospital, below is a list of some of the best ones in Houston.

  • Houston Methodist Hospital
  • Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
  • Memorial Hermann Hospital
  • Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital
  • Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital

Childcare Costs In Houston

Raising a child is a child’s play, said no one ever. Don’t mean to be mean but you’ll be surprised to know how deep you’ll need to dig in your pockets to keep these little ones happy. To back it up with numbers, in Houston specifically, the monthly daycare cost for an infant is $1,090 on average. Now that nature has worked its magic and your kids are old enough to go to a pre-school, you’ll need to spill about $1,075 for the same. Depending on the neighborhood you choose to reside in Houston, these costs may vary accordingly.

When your kids enter the age where they need to learn the very basics of life, a good quality school becomes very essential. Houston does fairly well when it comes to good schooling conditions. The private schools here will put you down $9,475 if we talk about elementary schools and about $10,975 for high schools. So, if you have little ones who you wish to enroll in the top institutions in the city, refer to the below list for some of the best schools in Houston.

  • Carnegie Vanguard High School
  • The High School for Performing and Visual Arts
  • DeBakey High School for Health Professions
  • Kerr High School
  • Young Women’s College Prep Academy

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Miscellaneous Costs

It doesn’t really make sense to be in the Space City and not check out the Houston Space Center. Whether it’s for you or your 10-year-old kid, there is something about this place that will make your jaw drop in awe of the wonderful things you’ll get to witness here. For kids of the age of 3 years or under, there is no entry fee. For the rest of the age groups, the prices vary between $24-$30.

The other area where you’ll definitely be spending a good amount of money (which will be worth every penny) is the Minute Made Park. The home ground of the Houston Astros has an atmosphere that is hypnotic and a fan following which is among the best in the sport altogether. The lowest ticket price run as low as $17 and the most expensive may go as high as $120. Apart from this, you will find many such places where you will be spending quite some time exploring and taking in the experience offered there.

Understanding The Job Market In Houston

What keeps a city up and running to compete with other cities? Its economy! As for H-town, Houston’s engine is run by the energy industry, specifically the natural gas and oil sector. While the energy industry keeps raking up revenues for the city, healthcare, biomedical research, and aeronautics have also helped put Houston on the map as a thriving business hub. The city has also seen consistent growth in the technology and software industries. So, if you are on the lookout for a job in the Space City, include these professions on your list. To help you narrow down your search a bit, below are a name of a few big players in the economic world of Houston.

Some of the biggest employers in Houston include:

  • Schlumberger
  • Baker Hughes
  • Memorial Hermann Health System
  • Shell Oil Co.
  • Quanta Services
  • National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
  • Walmart
  • Data
  • Halliburton

Once you’ve got yourself acquainted with the kind of jobs you’ll be looking at in Houston, the next step is to know the unemployment rate the city currently has. As it stands, the unemployment rate in Houston is 5.1% which is a bit higher than the national average rate of 3.6%. Despite the relatively high unemployment rate, the city has shown consistent growth in providing job opportunities and it is visible from the fact that the city has bested its long-term average of 6.31%. If you are on the lookout for the highest paying jobs in the city, you can consider applying for roles like pediatricians, surgeons, radiologists, and chief executives.

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How Much Should You Earn To Live Comfortably Well In Houston

By now, you must have got a clear idea of just how much you’re going to be spending in Houston. But to be able to spend the said amount and live a decent lifestyle, it is essential to know how much you need to be making in the city. Because let’s be real, you don’t want your expenses to overpower your earnings and that is a possibility if you have no knowledge about it beforehand.

According to Data USA, the median household income in H-town is $52,450. To live more than comfortably, you would want the figure to be roughly $86,249 and more. Do note that 45k to 50k is a great figure if you’re a single adult living alone with no kids. But won’t be a good enough salary range for families with 2 kids. For a family, the average income stands at $90,000 to live well. Even if you’re not earning like the average resident of the city, your life in Houston is going to be a smooth ride for the most part given its low cost of living.

See Also: Moving From NYC To Houston – A Complete Guide

Summing Up

We’re sure our article will help you figure out what’s a good salary to earn in Houston and still have enough wiggle room for leisure. Knowing your future costs is a superpower and will definitely help you live a relatively better life. Plus, when the place in question is Houston, a little headstart will help you enjoy everything this city has to offer.

FAQs On What Salary Do You Need To Live In Houston

What Is A Livable Salary In Houston?

To live the kind of life you desire in a beautiful Texan city, a salary of $60,000 should be a good number to achieve that goal.

Is 100k Salary Good In Houston?

In a city where the average salary is $74,000, a salary of $100,000 will be more than enough to live even in the most upscale neighborhoods of Houston at the heart of all amenities.

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Can I Afford A House In Houston?

With below-average housing costs and a no-income-tax policy in the city, owning a decent house in Houston is going to be the least of your concerns.

Written by


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.