Many people dream about relocating to their favorite city. If you’re looking to move to Austin, you’ve definitely chosen a great spot to root yourself. The city is home to all sorts of attractions including Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs Pool, LBJ Presidential Library, and the Zach Theatre. Austin also has a very rich local culture, offering a wide range of cuisine and arts.
But, before you can make the big move, you’ll need to have a plan of where you plan to live. Even though renting has become more popular in Austin than buying, the city is worth investing in if you plan to stay there for the long-term.
Keep reading to learn about the cost of living expenses in the city that you’ll need to consider as a homeowner.
One of the first living expenses you’ll need to consider is housing costs. As with any city, the closer you are to the downtown area, the more expensive homes will be. Choosing to live in the suburbs can save you thousands of dollars.
Some suburbs with low cost of living include:
- Lago Vista
As a prospective home buyer, you’ll be delighted to learn that Austin’s housing market is hot. According to Zillow, the median home value in the city is $361,200. Values are expected to increase more than 3% in the next year. Most homes in the market are priced around $379,000, with many selling at or a little below that price.
Purchasing a home when values are expected to increase is a great perk. This means that you’re more likely to buy a home with equity already in it, or you can buy and build equity shortly thereafter. This can come in handy in the event that you need to borrow against the equity for a loan.
Austin is known for its very hot summers, which means during the warmer months, you can expect your HVAC system to be working overtime. For a 915 square foot home, you can expect to pay around $157.55. Obviously, the largest your home, the more expensive your monthly utility bills will be. To help offset the cost of the warmer months, try to be as energy efficient in your home as possible. This means turning off lights when not in use, unplugging devices, and even investing in energy efficient appliances that can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Aside from heating, cooling, and electricity, you’ll also need to account for home services. On average, you can expect to pay almost $60 a month for internet and cable services. Since prices vary, it’s best to shop around. Take the time to compare prices from the best internet providers in Austin so that you can ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
To reduce your internet and cable costs, always bundle services. Providers offer discounts to customers who use several of their services. You can also ask about discounts for senior citizens or military members, if applicable.
As a homeowner, not only will you be responsible for paying your monthly mortgage costs, you’ll also need to pay property taxes. Texas has one of the highest property taxes in the U.S., coming in as the sixth highest in the country. The average property tax rate is 1.86%.
In Austin, the property tax rate is 1.37%. Most homeowners living in the city pay around $2,248 in property taxes. But, as home values go up, you will also have to pay more towards property taxes as they’re based on the appraised value of your home.
Aside from the cost of living expenses that are directly related to owning a home, there are other costs that you’ll want to consider before deciding that Austin is the best city for you. For example, it may be helpful to know that grocery costs in Austin are below the state and national average. You’ll also find savings with healthcare costs. But, one area that can hit your wallet quite hard is transportation. Compared to the national average (100), Austin comes in at 131.
You’ll also want to research the average costs of food and groceries in the area. For a fast food meal, you’ll spend about $7. Lunch in a local business district typically costs around $15. Check out Expatistan to find current rates for common groceries such as milk, eggs, bread, poultry, and many others.
Relocating to a new city on a whim can be costly. Before making the move to become an Austin resident, it’s important that you have a thorough understanding of the cost of living. This way you can better budget your money and figure out just how far your earnings will take you in the city.