Expats and new arrivals from elsewhere in the US moving to Houston will be glad to know that their hard-earned dollars will have higher buying power here than in many other major metropolitan areas in the country. The cost of living in Houston is significantly cheaper than other major US cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. In Mercer's 2022 Cost of Living Survey, Houston is ranked 85th out of 227 cities worldwide. 

While the cost of living in Houston tends to be more affordable than in other large US cities, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved in various activities and recreational pursuits – naturally, this can cut into one's budget. The cost of living in the city is likely to vary according to each individual newcomer's priorities and lifestyle choices.

Cost of accommodation in Houston

Accommodation in Houston is plentiful, though the cost of purchasing a house is outpacing salaries in some areas. An alternative is renting, which tends to be much more affordable.

For some, renting may even be preferable if they're planning to be in Houston only for a limited time. Most rental accommodation in Houston comes fully furnished. Even rental homes 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 new arrivals can do lots of activities without paying a fortune, such as visiting one of the city’s many parks. Houston is also home to several outlet malls where designer clothing is sold at discounted rates.

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

Cost of transport in Houston

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

Cost of education and schooling in Houston

There are a number of good public schools in Houston that can be attended free of charge. Still, some parents choose to send their children to private or international schools, these parents will need to shoulder the high fees usually associated with these schools.

Cost of living in Houston chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for February 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

USD 1,600

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

USD 1,300

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

USD 3,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

USD 2,000


Eggs (dozen)

USD 3.59

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.94

Rice (1kg)

USD 3.32

Loaf of white bread

USD 3.11

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 9.11

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2.27


USD 4.74

Local beer (500ml)


Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

USD 75


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)  

USD 0.37

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 72

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 170


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 3.10

Bus/train fare to city centre

USD 1.25

Petrol/gasoline per litre

USD 0.84