H-Town got you down? Dreaming of less congestion, less humidity, more walkability, and a more laid-back & friendly city to call home? Along with being a goldilocks city (not too big, not too small) and the unofficial foodie capital of Texas, Austin has been attracting folks from all over the country. And Houstonians are some of the most avid transplants. Moving from Houston to Austin might seem like a no-brainer, and it really is. But before you take a trip northwest to the Violet Crown City, you should do some research. Here’s your guide to the most significant points to know about Austin, TX.
What to Know About Moving from Houston to Austin
Moving to Austin from Houston opens up a world of possibilities, but you should consider several factors before you book moving services.
Living in Texas, you’re probably aware of the tax benefits. Namely, the lack of personal income tax. Woohoo! But what are the differences between Austin and Houston?
When it comes to minimum combined sales tax, both cities have a 2020 rate of 8.25%. Austin does have Houston slightly beat when it comes to the property tax rate. If you buy a home here, expect to pay an average county tax rate of 1.803% versus 2.090% in H-Town. That comes out to $7,212 per year in Austin, while the average annual taxes in Houston would come out to be $8,360 (based on an assessed home value of $400,000). Hey, every penny counts these days, and Austin helps in this regard.
Economy and Job Growth
Yes, Houston is a big city. And it also has one of the largest economies in America. But did you know that Austin has super robust job growth and economic opportunity? Dubbed ‘Silicon Hills,’ Austin is home to headquarters for Apple, Dell, IBM, and other tech giants.
You can find other great career opportunities in education and healthcare. The Austin Independent School District employs more than 10,000, while Ascension Seton and Saint David’s HealthCare are significant draws for medical professionals from all over the globe.
At the beginning of 2020, Austin had an unemployment rate of just 2.7%. That’s lower than both Houston’s 4.2% and the US average of 3.9%. And it gets even better when looking at future job growth: 47% in Austin over ten years versus only 30.9% for the City of Houston.
Weather and Climate
It’s safe to assume you might not be big fans of the humidity in Houston. In fact, it could be a major reason to get out of H-Town. Though the heat isn’t much different in Austin – the average summer high is 95°F versus 93°F in Houston – the city is about 2.5 to 3 hours northwest of the coastal town. This distance from the Gulf Coast means less moisture, especially in the summertime.
As for precipitation, Austin sees less rain than its southeastern counterpart (35 inches vs. 53 inches). It also has more sunny days (228 vs. 204). During the winter, the City of Austin is a bit colder, with an average winter temp of 38°F. Houston averages about 43°F.
Housing and Cost of Living
When it comes to living expenses, we have to acknowledge that Houston is pretty affordable. It currently has a cost of living index of 96.5 (lower than the national average of 100). But it’s also a pretty crowded and even dangerous place. Austin, on the other hand, has a cost of living index of 119.3. Yes, this is a bit higher than H-Town, but the City of Austin makes up for it in several ways.
Whether you’re considering buying or renting, you should know that Austin does come with a higher price tag. Currently, the median list price in Austin is $405,000 (along with a median rent price of $1,750 per month). Houston has a median list price of only $191,907 (with a median rent price of $1,500). Of course, there are many factors to consider – various opportunities, amenities, financials, and so on – before you commit to becoming a homeowner or renter in the City of Austin.
Things to Do
Dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World and the Food Capital of Texas, Austin wears many entertaining hats beautifully. If you are into live music, the first stop has got to be Austin City Limits, the longest-running concert series in the US. More specifically, Austin City Limits Live is the place to be. And Sixth Street is home to some of the best entertainment around.
Foodie? It’s heaven here! Of course, Texas ain’t Texas without its world-famous BBQ and Tex-Mex offerings. The City of Austin, though, is known for being a little quirky. With its own twist on things, it offers a plethora of unique restaurants and food trucks like Veracruz All Natural, Luke’s Inside Out, and Thai Kun, as well as several food tours.
Are you a history buff, art enthusiast, or outdoorsy person? Austin’s got you! The Bullock Texas State History Museum and the LBJ Presidential Library offer great insight into Texas history and the 36th President of the United States. Into art? The Blanton Museum of Art is fantastic. And for those into green spaces, Zilker Metropolitan Park offers 351 acres of beautiful facilities and recreational activities.
Austin is proud to be quirky and unique. Home to some interesting characters, there’s certainly never a dull moment in this fantastic Texas city!
The Austin Independent School District (Austin ISD) is home to nearly 82,000 students and 130 schools. Self-proclaimed as a district that “is reinventing urban public education,” the district serves many diverse communities with distinction. It also engages with non-profit organizations, top colleges, and innovative companies to help prepare its students to the fullest.
Are you considering a college or university in the Austin metro area? The #1 school in Texas happens to be here – the University of Texas at Austin. This stellar school is currently ranked #48 in the nation. St. Edward’s University is a highly rated private 4-year school. And Southwestern University, located about 30 minutes north of Austin in Georgetown, is considered one of the Top 100 liberal arts colleges in America.
Houstonians are all too familiar with high crime rates. The city has one of the highest rates in the country. Moving to Austin, you’ll get to breathe a sigh of relief. When it comes to violent crime in Austin, the current index is only 24.7. Even though this is slightly higher than the US average of 22.7, it’s nearly half of Houston’s index of 50.4. Property crime, however, is still high for both cities. The national average is 35.4, while it’s 55 in Austin and an eye-popping 63.2 in Houston.
Holding the unofficial title of Food Capital of Texas, it’s a forgone conclusion how delicious eats are in the ATX. Houston, of course, is no slouch. But if you’re looking for all the classics, including world-class barbecue and Tex-Mex, along with a touch of the unique, you can’t beat Austin’s offerings.
Love enchiladas? Dart Bowl offers up some legendary ones. And yes, it’s a bowling alley! Ramen is a go-to for a lot of folks now, and you can find some of the best at Ramen Tatsu-ya (particularly the Tonkotsu ramen). Vegetarian or vegan? The spot to check out is Mother’s Café & Garden. And let’s not forget BBQ! Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew and Franklin Barbecue are kings of smoked meats. As for Tex-Mex, definitely swing by Cielito Lindo Mexican Cuisine and Ramos Tex-Mex Restaurant.
Best Neighborhoods in Austin
Here are some of the best communities to call home in the capital city of Texas.
West Lake Hills
Home to approximately 4,000, West Lake Hills is a prestigious neighborhood surrounded by outdoor recreational opportunities. These include Red Bud Isle, a lakefront park on 13 acres – it’s super dog friendly – as well as Barton Creek Greenbelt, ideal for hikers and joggers. Note that all these amenities come with a pretty steep price tag. Discover more about West Lake Hills here.
As the name implies, this popular neighborhood is just northwest of Downtown Austin. It’s home to scenic cliffs that overlook Lake Austin, as well as providing easy access to a multitude of outdoor fun. Along with rolling hills and picturesque sunsets, Northwest Hills is a highly desirable place to call home. Get more info on Northwest Hills here.
Tarrytown and Deep Eddy
Affluent and known its beautiful homes, Tarrytown is a neighborhood with a less “Austin” feel. Less quirky and more high-end, this is a fine place to call home for professionals and more traditional families. Deep Eddy, on the other hand, feels more eclectic. Learn more about the neighborhoods of Tarrytown and Deep Eddy here.
Rosedale and Allandale
Situated along the major highway known as MoPac, these two neighborhoods are just north of the downtown area. Those looking for easier commuting and reasonably housing prices should give these communities a look. Find out more on Rosedale and Allandale here.
West of Downtown Austin, we find the historic neighborhood called Clarksville. Included in the National Register of Historic Places, the community is full of landmarks, restaurants, galleries, and cute local shops. Deep dive into the details of Clarksville here.
Barton Hills and Zilker
This pair of neighborhoods are just south of the Colorado River. One perk, along with several fantastic shops and restaurants, is that Zilker Park (where the Austin City Limits Music Festival takes place) is in super close proximity. Discover more on Barton Hills and Zilker here.
Toted as one of the coolest neighborhoods in all of Austin, Travis Heights has an undeniably hip vibe. This community is home to many of the city’s most notable clubs, bars, cute shops, and restaurants. It’s also one of the most populous neighborhoods here, with 47,000 residents. Learn more here.
Cost of Moving from Houston to Austin
On average, it costs about $1500-$2500 to move from Houston to Austin. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 165 miles across the state. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Houston to Austin movers now!