Is Houston A Good Place to Live?
Houston, Texas, is a sprawling metropolis known for its strong economy, thriving cultural scene, and warm climate. However, like any city, there are both advantages and disadvantages to calling this city home.
In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of living in Houston to give you a better sense of what to expect if you’re considering a move here. So whether you’re considering buying a home in the city or thinking of renting an apartment in Houston, let us help you determine if H-town is right for you.
Pros of living in Houston
1. The cost of living in Houston is low
One of the major advantages of living in Houston is the city’s relatively low cost of living. For example, the cost of living in Houston is 10% lower than Austin and 11% lower than Dallas. Additionally, Houston’s housing costs are significantly lower than both cities, with housing prices in Austin being 41% higher and housing prices in Dallas being 17% higher than Houston. In addition, Texas does not have a state income tax, which can result in significant savings for residents. This low cost of living can make Houston an attractive destination for those looking to stretch their dollars further, or for those who want to save money for other goals such as travel or retirement.
2. Houston has a relatively mild Climate
One of the biggest pros of living in Houston is its mild climate. With warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine year-round, Houstonians can enjoy outdoor activities almost any time of the year. The city rarely experiences snow, and temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Summers can be hot and humid, but with air-conditioning in most buildings, residents can still stay comfortable. Houston’s climate is also perfect for those who enjoy gardening, as the long growing season allows for a wide variety of plants to thrive.
3. Beaches are easily accessible
One major perk of living in Houston is its proximity to the beach. Houston is just a short drive away from several beautiful beaches, including Galveston and Surfside. This makes it an ideal place to live for those who love spending time by the water. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim, fish, or surf, Houston’s beaches offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The beach is also a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some relaxation time with friends and family. For those who love seafood, Houston’s coastal location means that there are plenty of delicious seafood restaurants to explore.
4. Houston has plenty of cultural attractions
Houston is a melting pot of different cultures, and this diversity is reflected in its rich array of cultural attractions. From the Museum of Fine Arts to the Houston Symphony, the city is home to several world-renowned cultural institutions. The Houston Theater District is the second-largest in the US, featuring many performing arts venues, including the Houston Ballet and the Alley Theatre. Additionally, Houston is home to various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating the city’s diverse cultures and traditions. Whether you’re interested in art, music, or theater, Houston has something to offer for everyone.
5. There are plenty of sports teams to root for
Houston is a haven for sports fans, with several professional sports teams calling the city home. From the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park to the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Center, residents have ample opportunities to catch a game and cheer on their favorite teams. The Houston Texans of the NFL also play at the state-of-the-art NRG Stadium, which hosted the Super Bowl in 2017. Sports play a big part in Houston’s culture, and residents often bond over their shared love of the game. For those who value a lively sports scene, Houston is an excellent place to call home.
Cons of living in Houston
1. Summers in Houston can be extremely hot and humid
While Houston’s warm climate can be a positive for some, it can also be a challenge for others. The city experiences hot and humid weather for much of the year, which can be uncomfortable for those who are not used to it. Summers in Houston can be especially challenging, with temperatures frequently exceeding 90 degrees and humidity levels making it feel even hotter. Additionally, the heat and humidity can contribute to poor air quality, which can have negative impacts on health. For those who enjoy warm weather and don’t mind the humidity, Houston can be a great place to live. However, for others, the climate may be a significant drawback to living in this Texas city.
2. Houston has above average property tax rates
Houston’s property taxes are among the highest in the US. While Texas does not have a state income tax, property taxes are used to fund local governments, schools, and other services. Harris County has an average property tax rate of about 2.13%, or about $10,650 per year. This is more than double the national average of 1.1%. For homeowners, this can be a significant financial burden, particularly for those on a fixed income. However, it’s important to note that Houston’s relatively low cost of living can help offset some of the costs associated with property taxes.
3. Hurricanes and flooding are a recurring threat
It’s important to note that Houston is located on the Gulf Coast and is susceptible to hurricanes and flooding. While the city has taken steps to mitigate the impact of these natural disasters, such as building flood control systems and implementing evacuation plans, it’s still a risk that residents need to be prepared for. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 was a stark reminder of the potential devastation that can occur, as it caused widespread flooding and property damage.
4. Public transportation is limited
While Houston has made efforts to improve its public transportation system in recent years, it still lags behind other major cities. The city’s primary mode of public transportation is the bus system, which can be unreliable and slow. Houston does have a light rail system, but it has limited coverage and does not reach all areas of the city. The lack of comprehensive public transportation can make it more difficult for some residents to access job opportunities and other amenities. For those who rely on public transportation, Houston may not be the most convenient place to live.
5. It can be difficult to get around without a car
Houston is a sprawling city that covers over 650 square miles, making it the fourth-largest city in the United States. With its size and spread-out layout, it is almost impossible to navigate the city without a car. While some areas of Houston, such as the Heights and Montrose, are more walkable than others, the majority of the city is designed for cars rather than pedestrians. Many neighborhoods and business areas are not easily accessible by public transport, and waiting times can be long, making it difficult to get around efficiently. Additionally, as previously noted, Houston’s weather can be quite extreme with temperatures often soaring to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months and heavy rainstorms and flooding common during hurricane season. A car provides the necessary comfort and convenience to deal with these weather conditions and to travel in comfort. Houston’s vast network of highways and freeways, which connects the city’s different neighborhoods and suburbs, is also better navigable by car.