Arts & Culture News

No, Austin, You Aren’t the Most Expensive City in Texas

The fact that Austin is more expensive for renters than Dallas is a complete myth. It's not cooler, either.
The fact that Austin is more expensive for renters than Dallas is a complete myth. It's not cooler, either. Joe Potato/iStock
click to enlarge The fact that Austin is more expensive for renters than Dallas is a complete myth. It's not cooler, either. - JOE POTATO/ISTOCK
The fact that Austin is more expensive for renters than Dallas is a complete myth. It's not cooler, either.
Joe Potato/iStock
You've certainly heard, over and over, just how expensive Austin is becoming, especially with so many tech transplants relocating to the city.

But it turns out that Dallas is more expensive overall than Austin. Brian Carberry, senior managing editor at Rent.com, was struck by this revelation when digging through data compiled by the company.

“That Dallas is more expensive than Austin was my biggest takeaway,” Carberry says. “Overall, Austin is 1.8% more expensive than the overall national average of cost of living while Dallas is 7.7% more expensive than the national average.”

Dallas can also claim the honor of being the most expensive Texas city to live in.


“Dallas is the most expensive metro area in the state when comparing it to the national average,” Carberry adds.

The data that Rent.com analyzes include larger metro areas and separates suburbs and neighboring towns from the city itself. These numbers show that the cost of living in Plano is more expensive than in the city of Dallas, which Carberry also found noteworthy.

“A big surprise to me ... in most cities you look at, the city itself is the most expensive,” Carberry says. “But the Plano numbers are higher, almost across the board, with the exception of groceries and healthcare.”

In looking at the cost of housing, which encompasses rent, mortgage, insurance costs and etc., the Dallas metro area is almost 16% over the national average; Austin is almost 10% above the national average. San Antonio’s cost of housing is 10.5% below the national average and the Houston metro area’s cost of housing is almost 15% below the national average.

As things go back to “normal” in regards to COVID, Carberry notes that housing prices are increasing across the board.

“If you look solely at rent costs, Dallas fares pretty well,” Carberry says. “It’s generally below the national average. But when you put in all the housing factors in there, that’s what brings it up.”

“Due to the amount of people that are trying to buy right now, you’re going to see a lot of people get frustrated with that process and decide to rent because they get priced out of trying to buy a home.” – Rent.com's Brian Carberry

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“You’re going to see more demand for renting,” Carberry adds. “Due to the amount of people that are trying to buy right now, you’re going to see a lot of people get frustrated with that process and decide to rent because they get priced out of trying to buy a home.”

Some good news for Dallasites, though, is that rent prices are lower here than the national average and that rents in the metro area are decreasing compared with one year ago.

The average one-bedroom rental in May 2021 was $1,500, down 7.1% from last year. And the average two-bedroom rent in May 2021 was $2,166, down 6.1% from last year.

Compared with large cities across the country, we don’t have it too bad in Dallas, though. In Miami, housing is 42% higher than the national average. Housing in Chicago is 63% higher; in Los Angeles it’s almost 128% higher, and Manhattan is 442.3% higher than the national average.

“As a whole, there are more deals to be had in Dallas for renters than other cities of comparable size across the country,” Carberry says.
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Paige Weaver
Contact: Paige Weaver