Local Lifestyle, Austin, TX

Is It Expensive to Live in Austin?

By Meaghan Loraas Last Updated December 2, 2021 4 min read

Short answer: It can be. Everything is bigger in Texas, and their cities are indeed never an exception. The state capital, Austin, is one of the biggest cities in the region, currently home to over 1 million residents.

If you’re planning on moving out there, chances are you’re trying to figure out the cost of living in Austin. How much do homes in Austin cost? What are the expensive neighborhoods? What is the average cost of groceries? The median household income? Is Austin one of the most expensive cities in Texas? What about San Antonio? The answers to these questions and more are in this article. 

Housing in Austin

Like most major cities, Austin has a bustling housing market. There are plenty of spaces to live in Austin regardless of whether you’re searching for rentals or single-family houses. One of the most significant factors when it comes to the cost of living index is housing costs. While Central Texas is more affordable than San Francisco, there are still some things to think about regarding real estate. 

Average Rent in Austin, Texas

If you’re looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Austin, Texas, you’ll be paying about $1,500 in rent each month. While this isn’t cheap, it’s much more affordable than the average in San Francisco: $2,795. For students at the University of Texas, it’s possible to find cheaper rents outside Austin city limits, such as San Antonio, San Marcos, and other towns near South Austin.

If you can find an apartment along I-35, you can commute relatively easily into downtown Austin or Silicon Hills. However, I-35 is frequently slow-moving, so I’d plan some alternate routes if you choose to live outside of Austin city limits. While rent costs in Austin can be expensive, it’s also possible to find some apartments well below the median rents in the city. 

Real Estate Costs in Austin

While rent remains relatively expensive in Austin, purchasing a house in or near the city varies a little more in price. Homes in the city generally cost about $450,000 but can get much cheaper if you move away from the city. The real estate market in Austin is still relatively volatile due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The housing inventory does not currently meet the demand in Austin, so the housing prices have soared in the last couple of years. Also, property taxes in Austin are higher than in surrounding areas.

is it expensive to live in austin
The cost of living in Austin is lower than in many large American cities.

Top Neighborhoods in Austin

North and East Austin have cheaper homes when compared to other parts since they’re farther away from the center. Regardless of how much you’re willing to pay, there are plenty of neighborhoods in Austin to choose from.

If you’re looking for homes by lively streets and entertainment, check out Rainey Street. These are some more expensive Austin neighborhoods, but you’re paying for a great and convenient location. Some of the best concert venues in Austin are within walking distance from these neighborhoods.

If you want to raise a family in a comfortable home, Well Branch is a great place to look. Brushy Creek and Mueller are also excellent Austin neighborhoods that offer great homes for families. 

Cost of Utilities in Austin

Now that you know how much it’ll cost to rent or own a home let’s talk about utilities. The average cost of utilities for a single person in Austin is right around $147 a month. Depending on your plan, if you include internet, the price might go up by $50 to $100. Though it may seem relatively high, Austin’s utilities are cheaper than other U.S. cities of comparable size. The average price of utilities makes Austin a relatively affordable city.


Austin has cheaper gas prices than other places in the country, with gas costing about 40 cents more affordable than the national average. If you’re a car owner, make sure you’re paying attention to fluctuating gas prices. You will also want to pay attention to traffic along I-35. I used to live in Austin, and I-35 can be a nightmare under the right conditions.

Don’t Want to Own a Car?

Austin is a relatively walkable city, meaning getting from downtown to other parts of the city is more accessible due to proper infrastructure and buses. If you don’t want to pay a fortune on gas, this could be beneficial. However, it is not reasonable to expect to walk safely to destinations in some surrounding neighborhoods. For example, I wouldn’t expect to walk from Zilker Park to South Austin. However, public transportation is relatively accessible, though not 24/7. 


How much you pay for food each month depends on how many mouths you have to feed. In Austin, monthly grocery costs usually top out at around $100 a week, cheaper than in many other cities. 

Median Incomes in Austin

Of course, affordable housing depends on how much you can afford, right? The median income in Austin is $39,000 a year. This is nearly $8,000 more than the national average of $31,133. 

Understand Cost of Living Austin TX 2022

If you want to live in Austin, knowing how much it costs to live it is crucial. Before you decide to live in the city center, make sure you understand the costs of downtown Austin living!