Cost of Living in Houston

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Expats moving to Houston will be pleased to know that their hard-earned dollars will have a higher buying power here than in many other major metropolitan areas in the USA. The cost of living in Houston is significantly cheaper than other US cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. In Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2018, Houston is ranked 86th out of 209 cities worldwide. 

While the cost of living in Houston is more economical in comparison to other cities, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved in various activities and recreational pursuits – naturally, this can cut into one's budget a bit. Therefore the ultimate cost of living in the city is likely to vary according to each individual expat's priorities and lifestyle choices.

Cost of accommodation in Houston

Accommodation in Houston is plentiful and renting a property in Houston is affordable. Most rental accommodation in Houston is fully furnished. Even those that are advertised as unfurnished will include some basic appliances such as a washing machine, dishwasher and fridge. 

Cost of nightlife and entertainment in Houston

Entertainment and nightlife are cheap in Houston and there are lots of activities that expats can do without paying a fortune, such as visiting one of the city’s many parks. Houston is home to a number of outlet malls which allow expats to purchase designer clothing at discounted rates.

The cost of eating out is also reasonable in Houston. Furthermore, expats are likely to find that portions at restaurants in Houston are large and therefore good value for money.  

Cost of getting around Houston

One expense that all expats relocating to Houston should budget for is the cost of owning and maintaining a car. While Houston does have a public transport network which is reasonably cost-effective to use, it is limited and most of the city’s residents find driving their own car essential.

Using taxis is only a viable option when travelling within the city centre as travelling long distances will end up being rather costly.

Cost of education and schooling in Houston

There are a number of good public schools in Houston, which expat children can attend free of charge. However, expat parents planning on sending their children to a private or international schools will need to shoulder high fees.

Cost of living in Houston chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for July 2018.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

USD 1,400

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

USD 900

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

USD 2,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

USD 1,600


Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.80

Rice (1kg)


Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)


Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 7.50

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 1.70



Bottle of local beer 


Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

USD 60


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)  

USD 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 60

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 150


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.40

Bus/train fare to city centre

USD 1.25

Petrol/gasoline per litre

USD 0.60

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