Living in a growing city is expensive—the average Austinite pays $2,447 per month to live here, which is more than any other major city in the state. However, you may be surprised to learn 25 other Texas cities are even more expensive to live in.
According to a study done by doxo, which broke down the 10 most common household bills, Texas is the 20th most expensive state in the country. More than 4,000 cities nationwide were included in the study, with Austin ranking 964th and within the top 25% most expensive.
Austinites pay 22.2% more in monthly bills than the national average, which is $2,033. However, Austin isn’t the most expensive by a long shot with 25 suburbs coming in ahead, and upscale Dallas suburb Southlake taking first place in Texas at $3,655.
Southlake is an outlier, at $600 more expensive than Houston-adjacent Bellaire in second place, though three Austin suburbs came in higher than the capital city: Buda in 10th place, Dripping Springs in 19th place and Hutto in 21st. Round Rock was one place behind Austin.
Luxury house in Travis Heights. (Austonia file photo)
Moving to the suburbs is bound to get you a cheaper price on a house, but you’re likely to pay almost the same price in rent. Dripping Springs had the highest Austin-area mortgage price—Austin came in $200 cheaper at $2,173 per month—but the average price in Buda, Hutto and Round Rock was around $1,500.
When it comes to rental prices, you’re going to find similar rates from the city center to suburbs. Doxo’s average rent for Austin falls at $1,316, which turned out to be cheaper than Buda, Hutto and Round Rock, though Dripping Springs clocked in $100 cheaper.
When it comes to owning a car in Austin, it tends to be cheaper than its suburban counterparts except when it comes to insurance. While Austinites tend to pay about $50 more than the average American car payment, which is $433, buying a car in neighboring suburbs is actually more expensive. In Hutto, the average was nearly $800 per month in car payments.
The average American pays $196 per month on car insurance, though the average Austinite pays $228, which capped out all the nearby suburbs.
Utilities in Austin are on the cheaper end—the average resident pays $203 per month compared to the American average of $328 monthly. Austin was cheaper than all the other suburbs except Hutto but Buda soared high above the rest of the cities at $460 per month in utility payments.
As for health insurance, Austin was most expensive but only by around $20 per month. The average resident here pays $116 for medical insurance, $97 in Hutto and Dripping Springs, and $50 in Round Rock.
Thankfully, Central Texans pay about the same on cable and internet as the rest of the country. Austin was only $10 above the national average of $114, while Hutto paid $127 per month.
All that info will have you thinking twice before choosing which suburb to move to!
Is the key to a new Sixth Street making it more like Broadway?
In Nashville, Tennessee, the mix of bars, restaurants and honky-tonks playing live music on the major thoroughfare of Broadway keeps the city’s downtown lively even as other parts of the area bring in office workers and residential units.
Crissy Cassetty, director of economic development with the Nashville Downtown Partnership, says she thinks Nashville has always kind of compared itself to Austin, and that Broadway is their Sixth Street.
“That's where the majority of our live music is. We have several artists and venues downtown,” Cassetty said, noting music spaces from country stars Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.
“Over the years, our smaller, local honky tonks have kind of transformed into bigger entertainment venues that take multiple floors, and levels,” Cassetty said. “The growth and the attraction of Broadway hasn't slowed down forever.”
In Austin, the pandemic took a toll on Sixth Street and other parts of downtown. A recent report by the Downtown Austin Alliance noted that pedestrian foot traffic has started to return to downtown nightlife districts, including East and West Sixth. Total monthly visits surpassed 200,000 on West Sixth in October 2021, beating out the visits in that month in 2019, though East Sixth slugged behind the 2019 total. On the progress of recovery for downtown entertainment districts, the report says, “the live music economy continues to suffer as ticket sales and attendance at shows remain depressed,”
Public safety concerns haven't helped with a revival of Sixth Street. Sunday marked a year since a mass shooting that led to 14 injuries and one death. On the last day of SXSW this year, another shooting left four injured. To address incidents like these, the city has moved forward with a Safer Sixth Street initiative to tackle gun violence, ensure EMS can care for patients quickly and look into more seating and dining in the area, among other practices.
But investments from commercial agency Stream Realty aim to transform the district by adding improvements between Neches and Sabine streets. Caitlin Ryan, the head of the Austin office says Sixth Street is the city’s special tool in the center of downtown.
“If I can fast forward 10 years, I think we look back, and we've made a significant change and Sixth Street is not only a place for night, but also the day,” Ryan said. “But it's evolved from not only our city council preservation asset, historic landmark, but everybody in our city, the music commission, coming together to form a street that our city can be proud of.”
For Broadway’s public safety approach, Cassetty says groups like the mayor’s office, police department and the convention and visitor’s bureau have the common goal of making the street feel clean and secure.
Still, she described the matter of keeping nightlife alive while also keeping the area safe and friendly as an “ongoing battle.”
“The more successful an area becomes, you just have to figure out how to balance all of it. Especially when you're in a downtown footprint, that balance of the play, along with the residential population and the workforce population,” Cassetty said. “And making sure you don't upset the residents or the employees because they're a big part of the downtown culture. You don't want to lose that because you have a successful entertainment district.”
Aside from that, improvements also involve infrastructure. Julie Fitch, chief operating officer of Downtown Austin Alliance, said they’d like to see investment from both the private sector and the city in rebuilding the infrastructure of Sixth Street. Part of the vision from Stream involves introducing wider festival sidewalks, only three lanes of traffic and the construction of four- and five-story buildings.
The entertainment elements will remain, which Fitch said is fantastic.
“I think that with the opportunity that comes with this level of investment, it really has a chance to expand Sixth Street’s appeal to a wider variety of audiences,” Fitch said.
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Travis County is hosting a free Juneteenth gathering filled with food trucks, dancing and activities for all ages in celebration of freedom. The theme is “Homecoming: Meet us at the gathering spot."
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday | 📍 Lower level parking garage, 800 Lavaca St.
Start your weekend at the ballgame! This week Round Rock takes on the Houston-area Sugar Land Space Cowboys at home. Tickets start at $12 and there will be fireworks after the game.7:05 p.m. Friday | 📍 Dell Diamond, 3400 E Palm Valley Blvd.
Sneakerheads listen up—Music Lane is getting a new fashion boutique, Konnect, by former Longhorn and Gamers First founder Kenny Vaccaro. The boutique will rotate designer brands and luxury shoes.10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday | 📍 The Kollective, 200 Academy Dr.
Honoring the historically Black holiday of Juneteenth, this year’s Freedom Fest will feature a barbecue competition, sling-shot showcase, a performance by the Soul of our City musicians, local food trucks and children’s activities. Best of all, the event is completely free.1-4 p.m. Saturday | 📍 Colony Park District Park, 7201 Colony Loop Dr.
Contracommon and The Little Gay Shop are teaming for a quick pop-up showcasing LGBTQ+ and BIPOC artists. The market was curated by Molly Sydnor to go along with her exhibition, Hysteria.3-6 p.m. Saturday | 📍 Contracommon, 12912 Hill Country Blvd.
The Austin Motel is inviting everyone to dance under its neon lights, pose and relive prom with festive cocktails and Hot Dog King on site. Winner of the Prom Star parade will win a membership to the Austin Motel Swim Club. Tickets are $25 per person.
6-10 p.m. Saturday | 📍 Austin Motel, 1220 S Congress Ave.
Catch some classic, collector, antique, sports cars and more at the monthly Round Rock Car Show. The event is free and open to all ages.10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday | 📍 Old Settlers Park, 2002 Harrell Pkwy.
Join May Magdalene, Mars and Veronica Valentine and special guests for a lively drag brunch you won’t soon forget on the patio at The Volstead Lounge. This event is 21+ and don’t forget to tip your queens!1 p.m. Sunday | 📍 The Volstead Lounge, 1500 E 6th St.