Why make the move from Dallas, 240 miles south to Houston? From the Texas Medical Center to NASA to the four resident performing arts companies, Houston offers so much. Maybe you’re relocating for work, moving to be closer to family, or heading to Houston for all the fantastic recreational options in the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever your reason for moving, you’ll enjoy Houston’s housing prices that are about 16% lower than those in Dallas.
From economies to traffic and from culture to demographics, Dallas and Houston share many similarities. Read on to learn if moving from Dallas to Houston is a worthwhile choice for you.
What to Know About Moving from Dallas to Houston
Here’s what to know before you move.
Housing and Cost of Living
With Houston housing costs at about 16% lower than in Dallas, the wide range of affordably priced homes in Houston is a huge draw for new residents. The median home cost in Dallas is $214,700, and in Houston, it’s $185,500 – about $29,000 lower.
Home appreciation in both cities is strong, although Dallas has seen even higher increases with an influx of new residents. Dallas homes appreciated 62% over the last five years compared to 42% in Houston. About 37% of Dallas residents own their dwellings while about 39% own in Houston. Although you’ll likely pay less for a home in Houston, rents are almost equivalent. A two-bedroom in Dallas averages $1,217, and in Houston, the average is $1,208.
The overall cost of living index in the U.S. is 100. The cost of living in Dallas is 101.6, and in Houston, it’s below the national average, at 96.5. With comparable cost of living data, you’ll save slightly in Houston. For example, you’ll save about 1% on food and groceries, 1.6% on health costs, 3.5% on utilities, and 5% on miscellaneous expenses like child care, repairs, dining out, and clothing. Your transportation costs will be about 2% higher in Houston.
With a lower cost of living and slightly higher family median income of $54,682 in Houston, compared to Dallas’ $51,220, it appears that moving from Dallas to Houston is a wise financial choice.
When it comes to what you’ll fork over in state and local taxes, don’t expect much of a change:
- Income tax: As you’re already aware, Texas doesn’t levy a state income tax, so moving to Houston from Dallas keeps you in the zero state income tax category.
- Sales tax: The sales tax rate in Houston is 8.25%, the same sales tax rate that you pay In Dallas.
- Property tax: In Houston, the property tax rate is 2.259%, a fraction higher than the 2.17% that Dallas property owners pay. However, with slightly lower home prices, your property tax bill may not look much different.
Economy and Job Growth
Many of the same industrial sectors, such as energy, health care, transportation, finance, agriculture, and retail, fuel the economies of both Dallas and Houston. Additionally, Houston’s economy is firmly based on aerospace (it’s home to NASA), as well as bioscience and medical research. The Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical complex, is Houston’s largest single employer.
The thriving job market is another main draw that lures new residents to Houston. The engineering and tech sectors are a bit stronger in Houston than they are in Dallas and are over 2% stronger than in the US overall.
At slightly over 3%, job growth is equal in both cities. However, growth over the next ten years is forecast to be 14% higher in Dallas. In Houston, the ten-year job growth forecast is 31%. Dallas will see 45% predicted growth and 34% in the US overall.
Transportation and Traffic
The mode of transport and the time it takes to get there is almost equal in both Dallas and Houston – about 76% of residents commute in their cars, 11% carpool, and about 4% use public transit. The commute time in both cities is identical. You’ll spend an average of 27 minutes one-way getting to work, and Houston is notorious for having the state’s worst traffic.
Weather and Climate
Dallas is somewhat colder in the winter and hotter in the summer than Houston. Located close to the Gulf of Mexico, Houston gets about 53 inches of rain annually while Dallas sees about 39 inches every year.
The July high in Dallas is 95 °F, whereas Houston sees average July highs of 93 °F. Both cities are hot and sticky throughout the summer, but Houston wins the award for being the muggiest. Houston’s Downtown underground walkways add ease and convenience for pedestrians who want to avoid high heat and humidity during the summer.
Dallas sees average January highs of 57 °F and lows of 36 °F. Sleet and ice accompany some winter storms, and the occasional snow flurry will slow down the entire city. Ice and snow don’t happen in Houston, where the average January high runs 62 °F and lows get down to an average 43 °F.
Houston is more prone to hurricanes than Dallas; bestplaces.com rates Houston the #6 Hurricane Hotspot in the nation. Hurricanes are most prevalent between June 1 to November 30. With the legacy of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey fresh in everyone’s mind, be prepared for weather threats by reading the City of Houston’s Disaster Preparedness Guide.
Houston has higher crime rates than Dallas, and both cities’ crime rates are higher than the US average. Based on a scale of 1 to 100, property crime in the US is 35, and violent crime is 28. In Houston, property crime is 63, and violent crime is 50. In Dallas, property crime is 51, and violent crime is 37.
As long as you have the opportunity to choose a new neighborhood, choose one with high safety ratings. The safest suburbs in the Houston metro area include Sugar Land, League City, and Friendswood, while the safest spots within city limits include Midtown, Spring Branch, and Westchase.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
With a professional resident ballet, opera, theater, and symphony orchestra, Houston is a cultural hub of Texas and the South. An array of museums, galleries, and entertainment fill the city with culture that’s enhanced by Houston’s diverse ethnicities.
Over the past twenty years, the Dallas population grew by about 9%, while Houston’s increased by 16% and is now the most populated Southern United States city and the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country. Both towns enjoy ethnic diversity. Dallas is 29% White, 42% Hispanic, 24% African American, 3% Asian, 0.1% Native American, and 1.6% two or more races. Houston is 25% White, 45% Hispanic, 22% African American, 7% Asian, 0.1% Native American, and 1.2% two or more races.
The population of Dallas is 1,300,122, and the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area is estimated to be 7,573,136. Houston’s population is 2,267,336, with the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area totaling 6,997,384 residents.
Houston covers 637 square miles, and Dallas is almost half that at 340 square miles. But with Houston’s larger population, the density is almost equal in both cities at approximately 3,700 people per square mile.
The majority of voters in both cities are registered Democrat. In Dallas, 60% of voters are Democrat, 34% Republican, and 5% Independent. In Houston, 54% are Democrat, 42% Republican, and 4% Independent.
Houston spends 7.2% less per student than Dallas and has a slightly higher student-teacher ratio. However, just like Dallas, highly rated public schools are found throughout the city. While 19 school districts serve the city, Houston Independent School District is by far the largest. With 283 campuses serving 213,000 students, HISD is the largest school district in the state and the 8th largest nationally. While an alarming 53% of schools rated as “below average,” there are plenty of gems across the city that offer outstanding public education.
If you’re moving to Houston with school-age children, it’s wise to investigate the quality of the schools in your desired neighborhoods. You can easily do that at greatschools.org. By reverse searching on the Great Schools website, you can select a list of either elementary, middle, or high schools, see the school ratings, and then click on homes for sale near your chosen schools.
A port city, Houston, is located fifty miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico on a coastal plain bordered on the south by Galveston Bay. Lakes, rivers, bayous, and canals intersect the city, and low-lying areas are prone to flooding.
Best Neighborhoods in Houston
Here are some of the top communities to consider moving to in the Houston area:
Located about two miles southwest of Downtown, urban Braeswood Place has about 35,000 residents. Seven subdivisions within the community feature single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, and condos. Many parks and green spaces with trails, plus lots of convenient shopping, make Braeswood Place a convenient and pleasant place to live. Learn more here.
Considered the #2 best neighborhood in Houston, by niche.com, Clear Lake is a suburb located about 21 miles southeast of Downtown. Many residents work at NASA’s Lyndon B Johnson Space Center or other space-related companies. Housing is affordable and available in apartments, single-family homes, townhomes, and condos. An array of ethnic restaurants and small businesses reflect the cultures of the diverse residents. Find out more about Clear Lake here.
Niche.com rates Memorial the #1 neighborhood in Houston. Why? Highly-rated public schools, amenities that include everything from trendy restaurants to beautiful green spaces and parks, the range of housing options, and fast and easy commutes to nearby businesses are just a few of the many reasons urban Memorial is top-rated. Here’s more info about Memorial.
About 13,700 people live in historic Midtown, an urban neighborhood initially established in the late 1800s. Ethnically diverse Midtown is full of restaurants, cafes, bars, and locally-owned businesses amid a wide range of housing. You’ll find restored Victorians among the single-family homes, low-rise apartments, townhomes, and condos. Learn more about Midtown here.
Just west of Downtown, historic Montrose has about 33,630 residents. The urban vibe is a result of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, and shops plus historic and vintage single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, and condos. The nearby Museum District, plus a collection of artistic and creative residents, adds to the eclectic tone of Montrose. Find out more about Montrose here.
Suburban Spring Branch is about 14 miles west of Downtown. The ethnically diverse neighborhood has about 36,000 residents. With affordable home prices, Spring Branch is an excellent choice for first time home buyers. Good public schools, innovative businesses, and family-friendliness are reasons more people are moving to Spring Branch. Learn more about Spring Branch here.
West University Place
Established in the 1920s, historic, charming, and intimate West University Place is an affluent neighborhood about six miles southwest of Downtown. Beautiful one-off homes line leafy streets, and 89% of residents are homeowners. Lovely parks and highly-rated schools make West University Place attractive to families. Exclusivity makes it appealing to professionals. Here’s more information.
Cost of Moving from Dallas to Houston
On average, it costs about $1500-$2500 to move from Dallas to Houston. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 239 miles across the state. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Dallas to Houston movers now!