How Much Does it Cost to Live in Austin?
Known as the world's live music capital, the city of Austin, Texas, has a small-town charm and big-city vibes. The city was ranked as the number one place to live in Texas, and it's regarded by many as one of the top places to live in the U.S.
Austin is well known as a technology hub, with many startups located in the city. Plus, the city's nightlife is rated as above par, thanks to its live music scene, including two live music festivals held there each year — Austin City Limits and SXSW.
Overall, the cost of living in Austin is 119.3, which is 19.3% higher than the U.S. average of 100. This means that it costs residents of Austin $119.30 to buy the same amount of goods and services that cost $100 in the U.S. on average.
Austin is ranked at 71 on a list of 500 U.S. metro areas when it comes to the cost of living. And while it is more expensive to live in Austin, higher wages, a booming local economy, and a desirable array of perks and amenities make it well worth it for people moving to Austin. Keep reading to learn all about the cost of living in Austin.
Table of Contents
- How Much Does Austin Housing Cost?
- The Cost of Food in Austin
- Public Transportation in Austin
- Healthcare in Austin
- Childcare in Austin
- Entertainment in Austin
- Salaries in Austin
- Austin Is a Great Place to Live
How Much Does Austin Housing Cost?
Housing prices in Austin are slightly below average when compared to other large cities in the U.S. On the other hand, when comparing the price of a home in Austin to other cities in Texas, Austin appears to be less affordable.
Comparison of Median Housing Costs in Austin
For example, home prices in Austin are significantly lower than those found in such cities as Los Angeles or New York City. But when comparing the price of a home in Austin against what someone would pay in a city like Amarillo, Texas, Austin home prices are much higher.
Median Home Prices in Austin
When buying a home in Austin, homebuyers are presented with a wide range of prices; a basic single-family home might cost around $300,000, while waterfront homes in West Austin can have prices that exceed $4 million. Some of the most desired homes in the city boast views of Lake Travis or the dazzling Downtown Austin skyline. Homes in the southern part of Austin typically have lower prices than the homes in Central Austin.
Median Rent in Austin
Prices for renting a home or apartment in the Austin area depend primarily on the size of the residence. For studio apartments, renters should expect to pay between $450 and $1,800 per month, depending on the location.
For a one-bedroom, those looking to rent should expect to pay anywhere between $700 and upwards of $2,000 per month. Two-bedroom apartments can range from $1,200 to $4,000 per month. The price to rent a home with three or more bedrooms can range from $1,400 to upwards of $8,000 per month.
Price of Utilities in Austin
Utilities are another cost that residents have to keep in mind while living in Austin. As in many other places, the utilities residents must pay depend on whether they buy a home or rent an apartment or house.
Electric bills in Austin run from around $60 a month in the winter to as high as $140 in the summer. The monthly cost of water usage in Austin can range from a little over $7 for a household with only one member to $35 or more for households with multiple members. For homes and apartments that use natural gas, the average monthly bill for Austin residents is approximately $3.29 per thousand cubic feet.
Internet service in Austin ranges anywhere from $35 to $45 per month, depending on the provider used. Likewise, cable TV plans in the Austin area vary between $65 and $140, depending on the package. For residents wanting a landline in Austin, they should expect to pay around $30 a month.
Home insurance is another factor that residents must consider in Austin, with homeowners insurance policies costing between $230 and $2,000 a year, though the rate depends on the size and value of the home being insured. Car insurance in Austin ranges from a yearly rate of $1,224 to $2,330.
When it comes to trash collection, Austin residents can expect to pay between $21 to $48 a month, depending on the size of the trash receptacle used.
The Cost of Food in Austin
Austin residents have access to near-endless delicious food options. This includes groceries bought at the store and meals purchased when eating out at local restaurants. Austin has become well known for its food, especially its barbecue. But just how much can Austinites expect to spend on food?
Austin Average Food Costs
Groceries in Austin
For groceries, Austin residents usually pay around $302 per month, though this varies according to household size. Grocery prices in Austin are around 12% less than the national average. Some of the more common grocery items and their average cost include the following:
- Loaf of bread: $3
- One gallon of milk: $1.50 to $2
- Carton of 12 eggs: $1.50 to $2
- Bunch of bananas: $3
Restaurants in Austin
Austin has many different restaurants that serve all types of cuisine at different price points. While eating at a casual restaurant is comparable to the national average of $15 per meal, residents can pay up to $50 or more per meal at more expensive establishments.
Group size also affects the final price residents can expect to pay while dining out. Price ranges according to restaurant type include the following:
- Fast food: $6 to $8, depending on the number of people
- Casual dining: $25 to $75, depending on the restaurant
- Fine dining: $75 to $100 or more
Public Transportation in Austin
Transportation is another factor that residents must budget for when living in Austin. While some neighborhoods in Austin are quite walkable, residents rely on their own vehicles or other modes of transportation to get around.
Austin Transit Costs Comparison
Roadways in the city can get congested, with 72% of commuters driving to work alone. This also means that gas is a big commodity. The price per gallon of gasoline averages between $2.40 and $2.60 a gallon, but this is subject to change at any time. The vast public transit options are a good alternative for many residents.
The Capital Metro Bus System in Austin covers 535 square miles. For a single ride, the fare is $1.25 per ticket. Another option is for residents to buy a day pass for $2.50, a weekly pass for $11.25, or a 31-day pass for $41.25.
MetroRail train fares for commuters start at $3.50 for a single ride, $7.00 for a day pass, $27.50 for a seven-day pass, and $96.50 for a 31-day pass. Fares are slightly cheaper for residents only taking the train to a destination in their local area, starting at $1.25 for a single ride, $2.59 for a day pass, $11.25 for a seven-day pass, and $41.25 for a 31-day pass.
Taxi fares in Austin depend on how far residents need to go and any wait time. The first 1/11 mile costs $2.50, with each additional 1/11 mile costing an extra $0.20 each. If the taxi has to wait, there is an additional charge of $29 per hour. Additionally, anyone taking a taxi from the airport has to pay an airport surcharge of $2.50.
Health Care in Austin
The cost of health care is an important consideration to the cost of living in any city. Fortunately, doctor visits and prescriptions in Austin are slightly lower than the national average.
A visit to an Austin area doctor typically costs residents around $110 per visit. This varies according to whether patients have any procedures done while at the doctor. A trip to the dentist, meanwhile, costs slightly less, at about $95. Residents that need new eyeglasses can expect to pay around $113 to visit the eye doctor.
The prices that Austin residents pay at the pharmacy vary according to their age and insurance coverage, but the average cost for prescriptions is about $439 each year. Residents who have pets should expect to pay around $52 for each visit to the veterinarian.
Child Care in Austin
Research shows that Austin residents can spend more than 25% of their annual income on child care. This makes it even more important for families to find affordable child care in their area.
Austin Average Monthly Childcare Costs
Daycare centers in Austin are the ideal choice for many households. On average, Austin residents can expect to pay about $680 per month, per child, for enrollment at a daycare center.
For some households, hiring a nanny is another option. When it comes to cost, Austin residents can expect to pay at least $16 an hour on average for the services of a nanny. This usually comes out to around $560 per week for the services of a full-time nanny who works about 35 hours.
A third option is an after-school care program. After-school care ranges in price from free offerings from non-profit organizations to $399 or more a month, depending on the institution, including schools, the YMCA, and other after-school programs.
Entertainment in Austin
Austin is famous as a hub for entertainment. Entertainment in Austin runs the gamut from live music to the great outdoors. Residents can also find top-notch shopping locations in Austin, as well as museums and sporting events.
Live music in Austin includes outdoor concerts and music festivals, and various music venues throughout the city. The Austin City Limits Music Festival costs from $300 to $4,000 to attend all or part of the three-day event.
Residents can also enjoy music at one of the local clubs, with admission prices ranging from free to between $5 and $15 to listen to local bands. Ticket prices go up from there for national bands.
Outdoor activities are also popular in and around the Austin area, including biking, hiking, camping, swimming, and other water sports. While hiking, biking, and swimming are usually free in area parks and outdoor spaces, others, such as camping and activities on the water, cost a fee.
Camping costs anywhere from $50 a day to $575 a month to stay at one of the area's RV parks. At a local campground, residents can find rates ranging from free to $56 for a small family of two adults and two children.
The Texas Longhorns from the University of Texas at Austin host many sporting events each year. A Texas Longhorns' NCAA football home game ticket range from $15 to over $300, depending on the opponent and seat. The city is also home to the Austin Spurs, an NBA G League team. Tickets to a Spurs game cost around $37 on average.
Salaries in Austin
The average salary for a resident living in Austin, Texas, is around $39,000. The median household income in Austin is around $71,500. The minimum wage in Austin is $7.25/hour, which is the same as the national minimum wage.
Monthly Expense Percentages Based on Average Austin Salary
The current unemployment rate in Austin hovers around 5.3%. This is slightly lower when compared to the unemployment of the U.S. as a whole, which is 5.4%. Texas does not have a state income tax, allowing residents to increase take-home pay.
The highest paying jobs in Austin include transportation, storage, and distribution field jobs. This is followed closely by high-level officials within the various emergency service departments and people working within the court system. The utility industry creates many jobs too. Workers in the technology sector and the medical fields are highly prevalent. Other top employers include fast-food restaurants, customer service companies, retailers, and the technology industry.
Austin Is a Great Place to Live
While the cost of living in Austin is slightly higher than the U.S. average, the city still has a relatively low cost of living compared to other highly populated city centers around the country. Austin is a desirable location for anyone looking to live in a big city without most of the associated high costs. Whether residents want to spend time outdoors or check out the city life, Austin has a lot to offer.
Overall, Austin, Texas, is a great place to live. The numerous restaurants and music venues located throughout the city give it a unique charm. In addition, Austin's proximity to the University of Texas and designation as the capital of Texas create plenty of jobs in the area.
The city's friendly residents, fun entertainment options, variety of restaurants, and moderate cost of living have resulted in many newcomers moving to the area. All of this has combined has inspired people from across the country to move to Austin.