Austin, TX is known for live music, scenic views of the Texas Hill Country, parks and greenbelts, and many local events. It’s also affordable with a high quality of living, and has one of the fastest growing job markets. If you are unsure about the Austin cost of living and are considering moving to Austin, this guide can help.
Austin Cost of Living Index
How much does it cost to live in Austin? Though Austin is slightly more expensive than the rest of Texas, it’s still fairly affordable. Austin living expenses depend on many factors, including the size of your family, your neighborhood, your lifestyle, and more. However, the Austin cost of living index is a good starting point.
Austin Cost of Living Index
The cost of living index is based on the national average, which is set at 100. If a city has a COLI of 90, then it’s 10% cheaper to live there than the national average. If it’s 110, then it’s 10% more expensive. Factors that make up the cost of living index include housing, healthcare, groceries, and transportation. You can use the cost of living index to see the average cost of living in Austin and how compares to where you’re living now.
The Austin Cost of Living Index is 119.3, which is 19.3% higher than the U.S. average. While it’s more expensive to live in Austin, the cost is offset by higher wages, a booming economy, and a plethora of perks and amenities.
Austin Consumer Price Index
Another way to measure the cost of living in Austin is to look at a Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to measure the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for goods and services. The CPI for the Austin area indicates that prices increased by 9.1% from September 2021 to September 2022. Food prices rose 13.4% and energy prices 20.7%. All these numbers are slightly higher than the national average increases.
Austin Consumer Expenditures Survey
The Census Bureau provides Consumer Expenditures Surveys for the BLS, showing expenditures, income, and demographic characteristics of consumers in the United States. The CES is a great tool for examining the average cost of living in Austin.
According to the most recent Consumer Expenditures Survey for 2021, the average household expenditure nationally was $66,928. The average annual expenditure for an urban consumer in the southern U.S. region was $61,473, about 9% less. Annual spending for housing in the south was $20,244, less than the national average of $22,624. Transportation in the south was $11,203, only slightly higher than the national average of $10,961. Food costs $7,639, which is 8% lower than the $8,289 national average. Healthcare costs were $5,107 and $5,452 nationally, almost the same.
Family Budget Calculator (Economic Policy Institute)
So, how do all these numbers affect the average cost of living in Austin? If you’re looking to relocate, you probably just want to know some average expenses that you’ll encounter. Thankfully, The Family Budget Calculator on the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) website measures the costs for 10 family types (one or two adults with zero to four children) in every county and metro area in the United States to assess the income a family needs to maintain an adequate standard of living in a specific city.
The annual costs for a family of 2 adults and 2 children living in the Austin metro area would be:
- Housing: $11,472
- Food: $8,995
- Child Care: $11,799
- Transportation: $15,633
- Health Care: $15,667
- Other Necessities: $7,416
- Taxes: $6,023
- Annual Total: $77,005
Austin Cost of Living: Household Items, Food, Gas, & Groceries
Let’s get down to what’s really important…How much will your food cost in Austin? Below are some examples of Austin living expenses, the average cost of Austin utilities, and more in Austin.
Cost of typical items in Austin:
- Steak, 1 lb: $11.16
- Milk Whole 1 gallon: $4.07.
- Eggs 1 Dozen, Grade A: $3.52
- Potatoes 1 lb bag: $1.18
- Bread White Loaf: $1.47
- Beer Heineken’s 6 pack: $8.88
- Movie Ticket 1st Run: $12.75
- McDonald’s Burger 1/4 Pounder meal: $8.00
- Average Cell Phone Bill: $178.55
- Average Cost of Gasoline Per Gal: $3.05 (11/14/22)
- Average Cost of Utilities Per Month: $146
- Average Cost of Auto Insurance: $100.66
- Health Insurance: $510
Transportation costs: The CapMetro public transportation system in Austin allows you to choose the bus pass that fits your needs. A single ride costs $1.25, and a day pass costs $2.50. You can also purchase a 7-day pass for $11.25 or a 31-day pass for $41.25.
Austin Real Estate Market
As of October 2022, the Austin housing market is somewhat competitive, with homes in Austin receiving an average of two offers and selling in around 50 days as of July 2022, compared to 35 days a year prior. Average home prices in Austin were up 4.5% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $575K, 33% higher than the national average. 694 homes were sold in October 2022, down from 1,167 last year.
Despite the high selling price of homes in Austin, they are selling at 98% of list prices – a 3.6% decline from last year. The average price of a single-family home in Austin is higher than in other cities in Texas. The price of a home in Dallas is $445,000. In Houston, the price is $330,000, and in Fort Worth, a home costs $249,900.
One thing to note is that home prices in Austin are dropping more than in any other city in the country. Austin’s median home list price dropped 10.3% between June and September 2022. Prices have dropped due to high mortgage interest rates, making this a good time to buy a home in Austin.
Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, with many live music venues, a hot job market, and a vibrant cultural scene. You’ll find many beautiful neighborhoods here. Some of the best neighborhoods in Austin to buy a home include:
With a median home price of $768,000, Allandale is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Austin for professionals. The crime rate is low, and many singles, young professionals, families, and retirees live there. Homes range from traditional bungalows to Mid-Century Modern homes. They have top-rated schools, and Allandale is only 15 minutes from Downtown Austin.
Barton Hills offers a taste of city living while still being close to the outdoors. It’s only a 15-minute drive to downtown. The median purchase price for a home in Barton hills is $845,000. It’s a safe neighborhood with lots of new construction. The neighborhood borders Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Metropolitan Park, offering residents easy access to open space, walking trails, and canoes on the lake. Barton Hills also has excellent schools that families will appreciate.
Austin Rental Market – Average Rent in Austin
The average monthly rent in Austin is $1,826 ($21,912 annually) for an 863 square foot apartment, which is a 16% increase from last year. If you’re still deciding whether to buy or rent in Austin, you can use the price-to-rent ratio. It’s calculated by the equation: Median Home Price ÷ Median Annual Rent = Price-to-Rent Ratio. The higher the ratio, the better the market is for renters. The lower the ratio, the better it is for buyers. A ratio of 1 to 15 means it’s much better to buy than rent. A ratio of 16 to 20 means it’s usually better to rent than buy. A ratio of 21 or more means it’s much better to rent than buy. The price-to-rent ratio in Austin is:
$563,000 ÷ $21.912 = 25.7
Based on the price-to-rent ratio, it’s much better to rent than to buy in Austin. 54% of Austin residents are renters. The most affordable neighborhoods in Austin to rent are Georgian Acres, where the average rent is $1,435/month, and Harris Ridge, where renters pay $1,435/mo on average. The average rent is $3,225 in Clarksville and $3,378 in Downtown Austin, two of the most expensive neighborhoods in Austin for renters. The most popular neighborhoods in Austin include East Riverside, with an average rent of $1,643, and Anderson Mill – Jollyville, where rental prices average $1,649/month.
The Housing Wage estimates the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs, the accepted standard of affordability. In Texas, if you earned the minimum wage of $7.25/hr, you would have to work 104 hours per week to afford a modest 1 bedroom rental home. If you spent approximately 30% of your income on rent, you could afford to pay $648/mo in rent, which is well below the average rental cost in Austin.
Average Salary & Household Income in Austin
The median household income in Austin is $79,542. According to Payscale, the average salary is $76,000 a year. Wages in Austin have increased by 1% in Q3 2022. The yearly wages for some of the most popular occupations in Austin are:
- Software Engineer – $90,838
- Senior Software Engineer – $122,461
- Project Manager – $77,765
- Software Developer – $77,967
- Operations Manager – $65,718
Income, Sales & Property Taxes in Austin
Just how much will you be spending on taxes? When looking to move to Austin, you want to consider how much you’ll pay in taxes compared to where you are now. Here is some helpful tax information you’ll need when looking to move to Austin.
The state of Texas has no state income tax.
According to Sale-Tax.org, the sales tax rate in Austin is 8.250%. This includes a Texas state sales tax of 6.250% and an additional 2.00% sales tax in Austin. There is no county tax in Austin. Texas has the twelfth highest sales tax rate in the country.
Sales Tax Breakdown
Texas State 6.25%
Travis County 0%
Taxing jurisdictions base property taxes in Texas on appraisals of all real and business personal properties within the jurisdiction. Using the appraisals, each taxing jurisdiction adopts tax rates to support their fiscal year budgets.
The property tax rates in Texas are among the highest in the country. Texas ranks third in the percentage of property value and 14th in median property tax. The higher property taxes are offset, though, because Texas has no state income tax and a relatively low sales tax. The median property taxes paid in Austin are about $6,600 annually. Travis County property taxes are around $2.23 per $100 of taxable value. In Williamson County, property taxes are around $2.34 per $100 of taxable value.
Austin Cost of Living Versus Dallas
The cost of living is 2.36% higher in Dallas than in Austin. Here are some comparisons of food, housing, healthcare, and utilities between Dallas and Austin.
|Austin Grocery Costs||Austin, TX||Dallas, TX|
While the cost of living in Austin is higher than the national average, it also has a booming job market, great neighborhoods, excellent schools, and a variety of activities for every taste. If you’re planning on moving to Austin, Unicorn Moving is here to make your move as smooth as possible. Call us today at 512-339-9922 for your free moving quote!