cost of living in austin

The Cost of Living in Austin in 2022

Austin has a reputation as a global live music capital, a hipster haven and an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Best of all? The cost of living in Austin is still more affordable than most bustling metropolises.

Even though locals complain about skyrocketing prices, the overall cost of living in the Lone Star State capital is just a fraction higher — only 1.2 percent — compared to other cities.

The most expensive part of living in Austin is housing, but even that’s offset by savings on gas prices, transportation, utilities and food. It would be negligent not to mention the quality of life — which is impossible to put a price tag on — that Austinites will proudly tell you is one of the highest around.

Year-over-year cost of living changes in Austin

We’ll deep dive into the data and highlight the cost of living and rent in Austin, but first, here’s a snapshot of year-over-year changes in the cost of living in Austin.

  • Groceries: -0.22%
  • Housing: +1.82%
  • Utilities: no change
  • Transportation expenses: -3.57%
  • Healthcare: -3.41%
  • Miscellaneous expenses: -2.23%

As you can see, in most categories, the cost of living has actually decreased. However, the average housing costs increased by almost 2 percent.

Now that we’ve highlighted annual changes from the past year, let’s look into each category so you can put together a living calculator and determine if this is one of the best places for you to call home.

Rowhomes in Austin

Average rent is cheaper than San Francisco

How you feel about the housing market in Austin depends on where you’re coming from. New York City and San Francisco transplants will find property value refreshingly affordable, while those moving to Austin from smaller cities may find average rent surprisingly expensive.

Average rents for Austin apartments have increased compared to last year. A one-bedroom apartment in Downtown Austin is up 45 percent and costs an average of $1,523 per month. Of course, the cost of housing varies pretty dramatically depending on what part of Austin you’re in.

Average apartment rent in Austin

When you compare the cost of rent for a one-bedroom in Austin to a one-bedroom in San Francisco, you’ll realize the price difference. A one-bedroom in San Fran averages $3,368 a month.

Minutes from Downtown and a short walk to all things boutique and hip, Bouldin Creek rents average around $3,037 per month. Triangle Slate, Central Austin and Barton Hills have all seen price hikes for one-bedroom apartments and range from $2,146 to $2,588. These are some of the most popular neighborhoods and you’ll pay a higher price to live here.

More typical, however, are the family-friendly neighborhoods of Clarksville and Brentwood, with average rents ranging from $1,825 to $1,839, respectively.

For bargain hunters, it’s possible to find even better deals on rent, like $950 in Crestview or $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom in North Loop.

Average cost of homeownership in Austin

Homebuyers will probably not be surprised to find that the real estate market is hot and housing prices are competitive. Housing costs in Austin are 11.8 percent higher than the national average. Data shows the average cost of a home in the best neighborhoods of Austin is $565,000.

Of course, home prices vary, but one thing is certain — most are going well above the asking price. In fact, according to Redfin, homes in Austin are selling at the biggest premium in the country, seven percent above asking prices and are on the market for an average of 38 days.

There are many different food types in Austin.

Cost of food in Austin

Food costs vary from Houston to Dallas to Austin, but one thing is for sure — foodies have much to celebrate in Austin. From celebrity chefs to taco trucks, good eats await around every corner, at every price point.

Budget diners can enjoy Taco Tuesdays at Quality Seafood with $2 beers and $2 seafood tacos. On the higher end, Sunday brunchers can savor authentic Mexican fare at Fonda San Miguel for around $39 per person.

Groceries in Austin cost about 8 percent below the national average. A dozen eggs will set you back $1.56, a half-gallon of milk is $1.98 and everyone’s favorite morning beverage, coffee, will cost $4.04.

Overall, Austinites will pay less for groceries compared to other cities. In fact, the cost of food decreased by 0.22 percent since last year in the same location, according to data.

Utility costs in Austin

Austinites are an outdoorsy bunch, whether it’s kicking back at a music festival or taking care of business from a coffee shop patio. But don’t be fooled by the sometimes mild climate — this is a city that loves its air conditioning and is willing to pay for it.

Luckily, utilities are about 5 percent below the national average, totaling around $155.01 a month for your total energy bill.

When you calculate the average rent and cost of living in Austin, don’t forget to include the cost of utilities. Your average rent budget should account for the cost of electricity, water, sewage, gas and internet.

Traffic in Austin can get bad.

Transportation costs in Austin

First, the good news: Transportation costs in Austin are about 14 percent lower than the national average. Now, the bad news: There’s a reason Austinites love to complain about the traffic.

With only two east-west interstates and no ring road around the metro, traffic in town is nothing to scoff at. Austin is often ranked in the top 10 worst commutes in the country, with average commute times around 40 minutes. One of the keys to happiness for life in this city is minimizing the time you spend on freeways.

Public transportation in Austin

The city has a fair transit score of 44 — primarily because of urban sprawl. Settling down in an area with access to public transportation can relieve some of the headaches of your daily commute. CapMetro is the local transit system, and it includes bus routes, light rail and university and airport shuttle buses.

Overall, CapMetro is an affordable option for getting around — if you’re not in a hurry. Kids under 18 ride free on all services, and the standard single-ride bus fare is $1.25. You can expect to pay $41.25 for a 31-day pass.

Even with the sweltering heat and sprawl, Austin’s overall walk score is 62. And with a bike score of 70, cyclists find Austin generally bike-friendly. However, the central parts of town are the most bikeable parts of the city and the most walkable: Downtown, Cedar Park, Central East Austin, all University of Texas areas, Hyde Park and Old West Austin. CapMetro buses and trains have bicycle racks that make it easy for folks to do a hybrid bike commute, even if they live in the suburbs.

Whether you’re using public transit to and from schools or your university or your job, renters can rely on public transit to get them around. Just don’t forget to account for this with your annual salary.

Driving costs in Austin

There are a handful of toll roads around Austin, which can significantly reduce driving times from the suburbs. The rates are confusing and vary dramatically, ranging from $0.62 to $2.79. For savings and convenience, a TxTag reduces tolls by about 25 percent and deducts from a prepaid account.

Driving is most people’s primary mode of getting around town, but it comes at a premium. Parking costs an average of $219 per month, and gasoline — while lower than the national average — still costs around $3.85 a gallon. Tire balancing costs about 10 percent less than the national average of about $43.10.

Austin hospital

Healthcare costs in Austin

Always a hot-button issue, healthcare costs are one of those areas where your mileage may vary. Taking that into consideration, there are some general benchmarks that can give you an idea of overall healthcare costs in Austin.

A visit to an Austin dentist for a routine examination typically costs around $119, and a regular checkup with a family doctor will run you about $111.

If you’re paying out of pocket, expect to shell out around $473 for a prescription, which is right in line with the national average. But if an Ibuprofen is all you need, then you’re in luck — at $8.79 for a bottle, it’s a bargain.

Kayaking in Austin

Goods and services costs in Austin

Having covered the bare necessities, that leaves a world of non-essential — but not unimportant — spending to consider. Austin ranks well in this area, with goods and services just barely more than the national average.

Austin is a film buff’s dream — full of movie theaters showing everything from obscure classics to mega-blockbusters. An average movie ticket costs just $10.53, and if you’re at a BYOB backyard event, a six-pack of beer will set you back $10.12.

Staying fit and looking sharp is easy in Austin. Yoga studios dot the city, and the typical class fee is around $20, although monthly memberships will cut that fee in half or less.

Haircuts cost on average $28, and a visit to a beauty salon is usually around $50.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll find a ton of free entertainment and opportunities for physical activity in the many parks around town.

Shopping in Austin

Taxes in Austin

For anyone new to the great state of Texas, the big bonus is that there’s no state income tax, which everyone loves come tax time. Effectively, tax rates are non-existent.

State sales tax is 6.25 percent which makes up most of the 8.25 percent sales tax in Austin. So, if you drop $1,000 on a flat-screen TV, you’ll spend an extra $82.50 in tax.

However, there are four sales tax holidays each year in Austin, each offering breaks in different categories. April is for emergency preparation supplies, Memorial Day weekend is for EnergyStar appliances and water-efficient products and August is for back-to-school items. These are perfect opportunities to buy big-ticket items at considerable savings.

Executives working for their company.

How much do you need to earn to live in Austin?

For overall financial stability and well-being, finance experts recommend that your rent should not exceed 30 percent of your budget. For an average $1,599 apartment, that means that your average salary is $63,960.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, the average Austin income is $71,576. Use our rent calculator to see for yourself how you might need to tweak your budget to afford the average rent for an apartment in Austin.

Living in Austin

Most locals will tell you that life in the ATX lives up to the hype. “Come for the mild weather, stay for the Tex-Mex,” they say. OK, maybe nobody says that, but they definitely should.

Austin offers all the amenities of a big city — a booming economy, excellent food and world-class entertainment — while maintaining a famously small-town feel. From professional opportunities at tech companies to natural beauty, there’s always something more to explore in Texas’ capital city.

Regardless of your budget or tastes, there’s a home in Austin waiting for you. Check out the apartments for rent in Austin and find your landing spot today.

Cost of Living Index comes from
The rent information included in this summary is based on a calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Rent. as of March 2022. Rent prices are for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.


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