As one of the most diverse cities in the US, it’s no wonder Houston is a popular spot to relocate to. With the second most Fortune 500 headquarters plus strong manufacturing, aeronautics, and healthcare industries, Houston is a great place to live and work.
With so much to take in, this massive city can be a bit overwhelming at first, which is why we’ve taken the time to outline some of the baseline info you’ll want to know before moving to Houston.
- Which Houston neighborhoods are most affordable?
- Which neighborhood in Houston is the best fit for me?
- How long is the commute in Houston?
- How’s Houston’s walkability, bikeability, and public transportation?
- How dangerous is Houston?
- Where can I find apartments and houses in Houston?
- How much will it cost to move to Houston?
- Don’t forget, all of these things need updating!
- What’s fun to do in Houston?
- With a population of 2.3 million, Houston is the 4th most populous city in the United States.
- The mid-2019 Houston average rent is $1,305 per month, ranking as the 508th highest rent in the country.
- As the 55th most expensive US city, Houston has a fairly high cost of living but is still afforable compared to other large cities.
Before we get too deep into the finer details, get a feel for the city with this video drone tour.
When prepping for a move, finding the right neighborhood in a city is a big decision.
But that can be a bit difficult when the city is as big and sprawling as Houston.
The city of Houston doesn’t really have a uniform standard for what defines a “neighborhood.”
What we do have are a bunch of areas like historic wards and planned communities that have been loosely coupled into 88 super neighborhoods.
That narrows things down a bit, But there’s still a lot of neighborhoods to choose from. Luckily, there are some resources like this this quiz that can help you focus on what you’re looking for.
Ultimately, your biggest deciding factor is going to be whether or not you can actually afford to live there. That’s where this rental hotspot map from Trulia comes in.
The following list is a breakdown of the monthly average rent prices of a few Houston neighborhoods that should give you an idea of where to start looking. Remember, red areas are more expensive, green areas tend to be more affordable, and living spaces get pricier the closer you get to the middle of the city.
Houston Rent Prices By Neighborhood
- Areas like Far North, Pasadena, Southeast, and Bellaire are where you’ll find cheaper rent that falls in the range of $750 to $1,000.
- The more moderately priced rents are around $1,100 and $1,500 and can be found in places like Westchase, Greater Heights, East End, and Uptown.
- The neighborhoods around and similar to Montrose, Midtown, Rice, and Downtown are where the rent is highest, ranging from $1,550 to $2,250.
Keep in mind that price is only part of the equation. You’ll also want to find a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle.
To help you find an area that fits your needs, we plugged in the zip code for Downtown Houston (77002) on the Ezri Zip Tapestry tool to show the main demographic sections in the area.
You can use the tool to explore other Houston neighborhoods too. But once you’ve found a place with a good vibe, you’ll need to make sure you can navigate it easily.
Like most major metropolitan areas, Houstonians really hate driving in the city.
Houston has an average commute time of 26.4 minutes, which puts it above the national average. But, Houston does beat the average with 11.1% of commuters carpooling.
A recent study found Houston to have the 6th most stressful commute in the country, which isn’t great but also isn’t the worst. That’s somewhat easy to see when only 0.5% bicycle, 2.1% walk, and 3.6% use public transportation.
Looking at those statistics, it brings up the question of why people aren’t utilizing these methods of transportation.
Walkability and bicycle transit in Houston are fine, but it’s public transportation system is fairly weak.
Houston has a walk score of 49 which, is just shy of passable.
Areas close to downtown tend to be fairly walkable but the further you get from the city’s center the less feasible walking becomes.
A car is nearly a must in most parts of Houston.
Fortunately, city officials have recognized the issue and changes are being formed by the Walkable Places Committee to make Houston walker friendly.
As Rice University points out though, making Houston walkable is going to be a challenge.
Houston has low bikeability
Currently, Houston has a bike score of 37, but the city is trying to get things up to speed.
Cyclists in Houston face many of the same issues that pedestrians do, with developments towards infrastructure being constrained by the way the city’s been set up.
The Houston Bike Plan is working towards improving safety, increasing accessibility, and improving ridership throughout the city by 2027.
But hey, at least the bus system acommodates bikes…
Unfortunately, the bus system in Houston is fairly weak
Houston’s bus system leaves a lot to be desired with a score of 48/100.
But things are starting to improve.
Bus transit throughout the city is handled by Metro Houston which offers routes on most city streets.
As you can see from the bus system map, bus routes offer a variety of stops but tend to be concentrated in and around downtown.
While overall US public transit ridership has been on the decline, Houston has experienced ridership gains after revamping bus lines, making them more direct, faster, frequent, and more reliable.
Also helpful is the development of a new rapid transit system which aims to make bus services more efficient and cost-effective.
Alright, that’s how you can get around. But let’s talk about the places you shouldn’t go.
The crime rate in Houston is fairly high, but things appear to be improving.
According to NeighborhoodScout, Houston has a crime score of 4 out of 100.
So… there’s that.
But on the bright side, the Houston murder rate dropped 11% in 2017, which definitely isn’t a bad thing.
It’s also important to remember “high crime rate” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always in constant danger. Just that you need to be alert.
Now, let’s get to finding a place to live.
The easiest first step to narrowing down your apartment search is figuring you what you’ll need in terms of amenities.
First and foremost, Houston gets hot and the winters can be pretty chilly (especially at night), so you’ll want a place that has heat and A/C.
With Houston’s low walkability, you’ll want a place with a washer/dryer to avoid trekking to the laundromat.
And while you’re considering utilities, check out our guide on the typical cost of utilities so you can budget accordingly.
Searching for Houston Apartments
Apartment hunting is a massive pain, but the internet is filled with a ton of solid resources to help you search.
We’ve compiled a list of all our favorite apartment search resources.
Houston Rental Market
In the previous six-month span, Houston’s average rent has increased by 2.6%, which isn’t too bad.
The rent is higher than the national average but so is the vacancy rate meaning you’ll probably be able to find a place to live, but affording it will be a different story.
Texas Rental Law
But before you commit to any leases or sign any contracts, you should definitely get a feel for what your rights as a renter are.
- Texas Required Landlord Disclosures
- Texas Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines
- Filing Security Deposit Lawsuit in Texas Justice Court
- Texas Tenant Right to “Repair and Deduct”
- Texas Landlord/Tenant Laws
Okay, now for home buyers.
Houston’s median home value as of 2019 is $185,400 with a projected 1.4% increase for the next year.
Seeing as prices won’t be going down anytime soon, you’ll want to make sure you find a place you’ll want to stay in for a while. We’ve highlighted a couple of areas we found the most interesting to help get you started.
Located just east of downtown, Montrose is a neighborhood with a great commute, plenty of nightlife, and a lot of cultural cachet While it’s extremely appealing to young professionals, that also means it can get pretty expensive.
People looking for a little more yard space without straying too far from the convenience of the city will want to look at Spring Branch which provides a more suburban lifestyle without giving up the cultural identities of its longtime residents.
Use our moving cost calculator to estimate your moving costs to Houston.
Also, if you are coming from out of state, be sure to have a look at our state-state moving guide for more info and tips.
Parking Permits for Moving Vehicles in Houston
You’ll also want to make sure you’ll have a place to legally park a moving truck before you lock in any plans.
Houston’s website has a solid list of resources about parking permits that can help you figure out what you need.
Alright, you’ve gotten all the heavy-lifting out of the way! Now all that’s left to take care are a few post move details.
- Voter Registration: If you want to truly be a part of your new community, make sure to register to vote in Houston.
- Driver’s License: You’ll want to get a new driver’s license with your new address on it as soon as you can after moving.
- Out of State Vehicle Registration: If you’re moving from out of state, you’re legally required to get Texas license plates.
- Electricity Service: Electricity is deregulated in Houston. You will have to shop for an electricity provider before you move in to your new home.
- Trash & Recycling: You’ll want to make sure trash & recycling is coming to your new home as soon as you can after moving in.
- Meet People and Make New Friends: The internet makes the difficult process of making new connections a bit easier. Sites like meetup and r/Houston are good resources for keeping track of what’s going on around town.
Once you’ve moved to a new city, you’ll want to get a good idea ow what it has to offer in terms of entertainment.
A solid first place to check is the city’s visit Houston site.
And, when you inevitably have people visit your new home, here’s a visitor’s guide for out-of-towners.