10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Houston, TX: Life in Houston

February 19th, 2023

10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Houston, TX: Life in Houston

Living in Houston, TX

Are you moving to Houston, TX? Here is what it is like living in Houston, Texas!

Right next to the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay lies the beautiful Southeast city of Houston. A good place to live, Houston is the most populated city in Texas and is the fourth most populated city in the entire United States right behind Chicago. Prized for its diversity, Houston is considered one of the best places to live in Texas due to its quality of life and welcoming atmosphere. Best known for its space exploration, energy industry, and affordable cost of living, it is no wonder why Houston has become a top destination for relocation. Plus, receiving high safety ratings, Houston is attracting many families, young couples, and retirees to the area.

Moving to Houston, TX - What is it like living in Houston, Texas?

If you are making the big move to Texas then you might want to consider Houston as your new home. While Houston may have many pros and cons, this moving guide was created to help you decide if moving to Houston is the right choice for you. Without further ado, read more about the 10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Houston, Texas!

Houston is affordable.

While sales and property taxes in Texas may be a bit high, living in Houston is actually pretty affordable. With a cost of living that is lower than other large cities, Houston is noticeably less expensive than living in San Francisco or living in New York City. The cost of living in Houston is also 5% less than living in Dallas and 19% less than living in Austin. To live comfortably in Houston, a recommended annual salary of almost $35,000 is advised to afford at least a one-bedroom apartment in the city. The median income in Houston is $52,338. Meanwhile, top earners in Houston make upwards of $96,605 a year. Plus, thanks to a lack of state income tax, residents can save more money and take home more significant pay. 

When looking for a home in Houston, soon-to-be residents will discover that middle-class income earners will be able to afford lavish living. Thanks to large houses with top amenities selling for affordable prices, your money will go a long way when living in Houston. So if you are looking for amazing rent and real estate deals, look no further than Houston, Texas.

The job market is growing.

Houston's booming job market is one of the many reasons the population is skyrocketing. Not only is real estate affordable but thousands of jobs are attracting young professionals to the area. The most popular industries in Houston are oil and gas, medical research, aerospace, technology, and healthcare. If you are looking for a job in one of these thriving industries, then be happy to know that you will not be looking for long. Multiple Fortune 500 companies are also headquartered in Houston. Some of the largest employers and businesses in the area include Walmart, Memorial Hermann Health Services, Shell Oil Company, United Airlines, Kroger, and Houston Methodist.

Downtown, Houston TX Ferris Wheel at night time with a view of downtown in the background

Stay in the loop.

The first step to becoming a local is to understand what “the loop” is in Houston. Divided into two areas, Interstate 610 loops around the city and is used as a reference point for suburbs and neighborhoods. Depending on whether you live inside or outside of “the loop,” residents debate about which side of the loop is best. The inner circle is considered the cities central business district and is home to some of the most popular museums, restaurants, and entertainment. Many young professionals and inner-city lovers can be found living here.

Meanwhile, the outer loop is the location of the cities many suburban neighborhoods. The outer circle is ideal for raising families and is considered a peaceful and laidback place to live. In our opinion - no matter what side of the loop you choose to call home, you will love living in Houston. 

There are no zoning laws.

One of the most interesting things about Houston is that the city has absolutely no zoning restrictions. Zoning laws are normally put in place to regulate buildings' height and determine where buildings can be constructed. Normally cities want zoning laws in place to create a sense of order and to oversee proper land usage. Since this is the largest city in the United States without any zoning restrictions, residents and visitors alike are witness to this lack of zoning through the strange mixture of buildings and funky architecture scattered throughout Houston. As the city continues to grow fast, ordinances and restrictions have been implemented but there are still no actual zoning laws.

Houston Skyline on a bright sunny day from the park with water in the foreground

Visit the rodeo. 

What is Texas without a rodeo? Whether you are a cowboy or cowgirl at heart or simply want to have a little fun, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a must-do for all residents. Lasting for 20 days annually, the rodeo is a fantastic place to bring family and friends for a fantastic barbecue, a carnival, and even live musical performances by popular artists. Since 1932, the Houston rodeo is a fun event that brings the community together. Make sure to add this favorite local attraction to your bucket list. 

Beware of bad weather.

Experiencing a humid subtropical climate, residents in Houston can expect hot and humid summers alongside cool winters. The city is wet and partly cloudy year-round. July is the hottest month during the year with an average high temperature of 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, January is the coldest month during the year with an average low temperature of 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Experiencing only 204 sunny days per year on average, Houston receives up to 53 inches of rain annually. Surpassing the national rainfall average of 38 inches, Houston is a rainy city so make sure to pack your rain boots, rain jackets, and umbrellas. In fact, Houston receives the most rain out of any other city in Texas. Since it rains so much make sure to prepare for the humidity. On the plus side, since the temperature rarely drops below freezing, Houston receives an average of 0 inches of snow per year.

While all of the rain and thunderstorms may seem harmless, Houston is also susceptible to hurricanes, flooding, and tropical storms due to its location near the Gulf of Mexico. If you are moving from an area without hurricanes, then it is important to stay prepared in case of an emergency. Talk with your family to devise a plan in case of an evacuation and take basic precautions and steps to protect yourself should a bad storm hit.

Spend the day in outer space.

Spearheading human space exploration, NASA has called Houston home since 1964. As the location of Space Center Houston, most people think of NASA and the Apollo 13 spaceflight when in the city. The NASA Johnson Space Center is the destination for all things spaceflight, astronaut training, research, and flight control. Nicknamed “Space City,” NASA has over 100 buildings in Houston dedicated to astronaut training alone. Now a top attraction in the city, NASA and Space Center Houston is an exciting place to visit and learn about spaceflight. Featuring over 400 artifacts from space, visitors can admire spacecraft, space exhibits, and the largest public collection of moon rocks. This is a must-visit destination for space enthusiasts, scientists, and curious minds. Space Center Houston and the NASA Johnson Space Center are literally out of this world.

Downtown Houston, TX at night time with the city buildings lit up

Get around underground

Did you know Houston has over 6 miles of underground tunnels located 20 feet below the city streets? Houstons Downtown underground system of tunnels connects 95 city blocks and offers pedestrians a fast and convenient way to get around the city. What once only tied two movie theatres together now joins multiple restaurants and popular retailers. Connected by street-level stairs, escalators, and elevators, getting around Houston could not be any easier. While the underground tunnel system may be closed at night, on weekends, and during national holidays, these tunnels provide city dwellers with a safe way to walk during the weekday.

The food scene is a way of life.

As the fourth largest city in Texas, it is no surprise that Houston’s cuisine is as diverse as its population. Named as one of the nation’s best food cities, Houston is coming in hot with delectable dishes and delicious meals to rave about. Mixing international influence with Texan flare, dining at the many top restaurants and local eateries is a daily occurrence for many residents. Known for its barbeque, Tex-Mex, breakfast tacos, chili, chicken fried steak, and other Houston classic dishes, dining in this Texas city is unlike any other. 

Check out these local favorite restaurants in Houston, Texas!

  • The Breakfast Klub: Beloved for its homemade chicken and waffles, this dining establishment has perfected the art of this classic comfort food. Serving amazing diner-style American dishes, there is a reason why the lines here get long in the morning. Make sure to arrive early to ensure a table for your party! 

  • Tony Thai Restaurant: Serving authentic Thai food in large portions, come to this eatery for the best Pad Thai in town. With bold flavors and the perfect balance of spice, this is a Houston must-try. 

  • Chez Beignets: While this may not be New Orleans, this little shop in Houston sure knows how to make a killer beignet. From its fluffy dough and perfect layer of powdered sugar, these beignets are the perfect afternoon snack and dessert. 

  • Killen’s Barbeque: Texas barbeque is a staple in Houston and this BBQ joint knows how to make it just right. Ranked as the second-best barbeque restaurant in the country, order brisket, ribs, sausage, and pulled pork sandwiches alongside housemade sides. Make sure to order the croissant bread pudding! 

  • Blacksmith: This coffee shop and eatery is well-known for its buttery and flaky biscuits. Nothing pairs with your shot of espresso better than a biscuit smothered in homemade marmalade and fruity jam.

Houston, TX Park in Downtown Houston Texas at night time overlooking the city

Never run out of things to do.

If there is one thing for certain, you will never be bored when living in Houston, Texas. From visiting the NASA Space Center to admiring art at one of the local museums, there is always something to do for all ages. Whether you like to spend time outdoors at one of the city parks or visit one of the many historical sites, Houston is the perfect place for adventurers and explores.

Check out these top attractions in Houston, Texas! 

  • Buffalo Bayou Park: Spanning for 2.3 miles and covering an area of 160 acres, this public park is located along the Buffalo Bayou near Downtown Houston. Providing open green spaces, a walking trail, and a great scenic view of Downtown Houston, this park is a great place to bring the family.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Considered one of the largest museums in the United States, this museum displays about 70,000 works of art from all over the world. Featuring both permanent and rotating exhibits. 

  • Houston Galleria: This upscale shopping mall located in Downtown Houston encompasses over 3 million square feet of retail space. With over 400 stores to visit, this is the largest shopping mall in the state of Texas. 

  • Houston Arboretum and Nature Center: Open daily and with free admission, this nature center features over 5 miles of walking trails, a butterfly island, wildlife garden, and pond. There is even free mosquito spray provided in the visitor center. This is a beautiful place to spend the day. 

Houston Real Estate Market and Data

  • According to the Houston Association of Realtors, the number of single-family homes sold in Houston in 2021 increased by 18.6% compared to the previous year.
  • The median price of a single-family home in Houston rose to $310,000 in 2021, an increase of 14.8% from the previous year.
  • Houston's job market is a major driver of the city's real estate market. The Texas Medical Center, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and the Port of Houston are all major employers in the area.
  • The pandemic has increased demand for larger homes and properties with outdoor space as people spend more time at home and seek more space for work and family.
  • Houston has also seen an increase in new construction in recent years. In 2021, more than 37,000 building permits were issued in the city, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.
  • The Houston real estate market has a relatively low cost of living compared to other major cities in the United States, making it an attractive location for residents and businesses.
  • In addition to single-family homes, Houston also has a strong market for apartment rentals. According to Apartment List, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Houston in February 2023 was $1,102, while the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,469.
  • Houston's real estate market is also influenced by the city's diverse population, with a mix of local and international buyers and investors.
  • The Houston real estate market is expected to grow in the coming years, driven by a strong job market, population growth, and new construction. However, some challenges may be ahead, such as rising interest rates and potential economic fluctuations.

Moving to Houston, TX - The Bottom Line

A fantastic place to work and play, Houston is worth the move. With many nice and safe areas to call home, Houston is more than just an affordable place to live. Whether you are moving to Houston for work or simply for a change of scenery, you will quickly fall in love with its highly rated school system, warm weather, amazing neighborhoods, and abundance of outdoor activities.

If you are interested in buying a home in Houston, make sure to reach out to one of our knowledgeable and experienced Realty Specialists to aid and guide you through the home buying process. No matter your budget or property type, our team is here to help. Contact us today to find your dream home in Houston, Texas!


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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.