When it comes to finding the best place to live in Texas, you’ve got to factor in more than just home costs. A cheap place to live with a high crime rate or low income levels isn’t an ideal place to call home. So we’ve looked into every city with a population of 75,000 or more, examining unemployment rates, household income, housing costs, utility bills and crime rates to help you find the all-around best place in Texas to get the biggest bang for your buck.
These top 10 cities had the best combination of all the factors listed above as compared to national or state data. Here’s what we compared these cities to:
1. Round Rock
Located just north of Austin, Round Rock has the small city charm with big city access. But that’s not why the city tops the list. Round Rock’s unemployment rate is well below the U.S. average of 7 percent, utility rates are among the lowest in the state and it’s extremely low crime rate make Round Rock a safe place to call home. Although home prices in Round Rock are among the highest on the list, they are still below the state average of $311,856 and well below the average listing in nearby Austin, $633,937. Residents of the city also enjoy a higher household income than most in the United States, making the higher price point more affordable.
If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll get the most for your money in this West Texas town. The average home price in Abilene is not only the lowest on this list, it’s also half the cost of the state’s average listing. The low cost of living and low unemployment rate make up for the slightly lower median household income, to be compared with the national average of $53,056. It should also be noted that while Abilene has the highest crime rate of our Top 10 Texas towns, it’s still lower than the national average of 301.1.
Sitting just northeast of Dallas, Garland is one of the most affordable places to live in the Metroplex. The average house listing price is $100,000 less than the national average and a whopping $400,000 less than the average listing in Dallas. With close proximity to highways and a number of large employers, it’s no wonder unemployment rates are well below the national average. Garland residents also enjoy utility costs that are among the lowest in the state and a crime rate that’s fairly moderate.
4. League City
Living near the ocean isn’t always an affordable dream, but you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck if you move to League City. The city, located southeast of Houston, is convenient to beaches on Galveston Island and even offers water view property near Clear Lake. Residents enjoy homes priced below the national average, high household income and low crime rates. And because downtown Houston is only half an hour away, the small city has low unemployment rates too.
Further inland, Pearland is another small town on the outskirts of Houston that offers affordable opportunities for those looking to capitalize on the city’s good economy. Although Pearland doesn’t have waterfront property, its home prices are lower than those in nearby League City and residents have a slightly higher household income. Low electric rates also help keep the cost of living in Pearland low. And if you’re looking for a safe place to live, the city’s crime rate is more than 300 points lower than Houston’s (541.7).
As a suburb of Dallas, Carrollton offers the small city feel with all the amenities of living in a major metropolitan area. Close to major employers, including the Baylor Medial Center at Carrollton, there are plenty of job opportunities, resulting in a low unemployment rate. Residents’ household income also exceeds the national average by more than $15,000 and with houses priced well below the state’s average, that extra income can be stretched a long way in Carrollton.
7. Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie offers the third lowest housing prices on our list. Coupled with household income that almost matches the national average, the city is a perfect place to move if you’re looking to stretch your dollar. Because the city is just 12 miles west of downtown Dallas, Grand Prairie is home to a number of large employers and unemployment rates are well below the national average. Low electric rates in the Oncor utility area and a moderate crime rate round out the reasons why Grand Prairie would be an ideal place to live.
If you’re looking for a tech job, check out Richardson. The city has more than 5,000 businesses operating within its city limits. Many of these companies are technology related, such as Verizon, AT&T and Texas Instruments, earning Richardson the nickname “The Telecom Corridor.” In addition to a low unemployment rate, the Dallas suburb also offers higher than average household income levels, lower housing prices and cheap electric rates, making the cost of living in Richardson an affordable option for many.
Midland may seem like an odd choice since it has a housing price that’s above the state average, but it makes up for it in other areas. Midland actually has the lowest unemployment rate, not only in Texas, but in the entire United States. Household income is up slightly in Midland compared to the U.S average, it has a low crime rate and some of the cheapest electricity rates in Texas. All in all it’s a safe, affordable city with plenty of job opportunities, which makes it a top contender in our book.
Don’t be shocked by Frisco’s high home prices, you’ll still get a lot for your money in this North Texas city. That’s because median household income in Frisco is double the national average, compensating for the unusually high home prices. Though many residents make the 25 minute commute to Dallas for work, unemployment rates are low in the city, in part, because of large employers such as Ikea and T-Mobile. And residents can expect even more development in the future as the Dallas Cowboys just announced plans to build a training facility in the city.