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Renter's Guide to Houston
Houston, TX is a place for those with unlimited thinking. While “Houston” was the first word heard from the Moon, the city is also known for the first domed stadium and the first artificial heart transplant. Forbes ranked Houston the Fastest-Growing US City in 2015, and according to Travel + Leisure, Space City is the best place for foodies.
As the fourth largest in the US, the city of Houston only trails New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago in population. Houston, TX counts 2 million plus residents inside the city limits. However, the region is a 13-county area known as Greater Houston and covers more than 8,778 square miles (larger than the state of New Jersey and almost as big as Massachusetts.)
Houston is the largest of the four cities included in the popular Texas Triangle. San Antonio is only a 3-hour drive (197 miles) to the West, and Austin is about a 162-mile drive. Traveling North, Dallas is only 239 miles away.
Known for its hot, humid summers, there are only an average of 99 days with a temperature above 90°F and the city has moderate weather year-round. Since 1939, Houston has only experienced 15 measurable snowfalls. In fact, the temperature in Houston only drops below freezing for 18 days per year on average
Houston, TX Demographics
- Total Population2,267,336
Female 1,135,634Male 1,131,702
- Median Age32.9
Cost of Living in Houston, TX
Perhaps the most attractive feature of the area is the unrivaled affordability compared to other big cities. There is something for every “age and stage” in life. Residents can choose from a downtown loft or a master-planned community in the suburbs for very reasonable rental costs compared to other large US cities.
Utility costs for an average one-bedroom unit will range between $85-200. Eating out is also easy on the wallet with a meal at a mid-range restaurant averaging somewhere between $40-75. At an inexpensive restaurant you can get a good meal for as low as $14.
The public transport system serves only a small portion of the city. Those who live close to the METRORail and bus system pay a little more than $45 for a monthly pass. A Metro Day Pass is only $3 a day for unlimited stops.
Average Rent in Houston, TX
- Houston, TX Average Rental Price, December 2019 $1,109 /mo
Houston, TX Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,0005%
Houston, TX Rent Trends
|Nov / 2016||Mar / 2017||Jul / 2017||Nov / 2017||Mar / 2018||Jul / 2018||Nov / 2018||Mar / 2019||Jul / 2019||Nov / 2019||Dec / 2019|
Average rent is projected to grow by 2% in 2019 compared to 2018.
Please note that projected rent growth is calculated at city level.
Living in Houston
The metropolitan area is affordable, relaxed and pleasant. With more than 100 languages spoken in the city, it’s one of the most ethnically diverse major metro areas in the nation. 92 countries have consular offices in Houston, which is the third highest count in any US city.
There are pros and cons of living in Houston. Residents are rightfully proud of the city’s diversity, culture and friendly “can-do” attitude. However, most would complain about traffic and urban sprawl. With no zoning, the city is a sprawling metroplex requiring most people to own a car. While this sounds awful to some, the population density of less than 3,500 people per square mile is inviting (compared to 26,000 in New York City).
Things to do in Houston
Houston residents can find an endless number of activities in the vast green spaces, cultural venues and professional sports. It’s easy to find a restaurant - with more than 10,000 food establishments - ranging from the inexpensive and casual to world-class fine dining. There are also more than 150 private and public golf courses in and around the city.
The most popular annual attraction is the Houston Rodeo: about 2.2 million attend this non-profit event each year. More than $400 million in scholarships have been awarded to youth who participate.
Like major league sports? Enjoy a Houston Texans football match, root for the Houston Astros baseball team, watch the Houston Rockets slam dunk their way to victory, or book a ticket to see the Houston Dynamo soccer team play.
The downtown Theater District includes one of the few US cities to offer world-class and award-winning resident companies in all four major performing arts—live theater, symphony, ballet and opera. The district has about 13,000 seats (2nd only to New York City.)
The fun never ends with Houston’s 83 museums. The dinosaur exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is packed with active prehistoric predators and prey showing how plants and animals have evolved over time. Budget-friendly options include more than 10 museums that are accessible free of charge. Other museums have special free hours (or even days) each week. Families are thrilled to visit the Space Center Experience adjacent to NASA’s Space Center Houston and the Houston Zoo. Adults may enjoy a tour, concert or lecture at the Rice University or University of Houston campuses.
The region includes two of the largest public parks in the nation. It also boasts a lively 12-acre, non-profit, downtown park across the street from the 1.9-million-square-foot George Brown Convention Center with more than 600 events each year. The city’s Bikeway Program is a 345-mile network. Memorial Park is 1,466 acres centrally located inside Loop 610. Amenities include 30 miles for hiking, bike trails, picnic grounds, playgrounds, golf, tennis and a fitness center.
Houstonians also know how to shop! Variety is key as you can choose from more than a dozen shopping centers, from vintage clothing to the most up-to-date fashion. The three most popular shopping destinations are the Galleria boasting 375+ stores, Highland Village and Uptown Park with its 50+ quirky boutiques, spas and restaurants.
Employment & Economy
Houston maintains a robust and thriving economy. Once known for space, oil and gas exploration only, diversification and international promotion has infused the local economy with dozens of Fortune 500 companies and even more promising start-ups and rapidly advancing small to mid-size businesses. One of the fast growing employment opportunities are in the technology sector. The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world, employing 106,000 to serve more than 7.2 million visitors each year.
Houston, TX Households
- Total Number of Households838,950
Family 510,538Non-family 328,412
Children 278,210No Children 560,740
- Average People Per Household2.66
- Median Household Income$49,399
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$971
Education in Houston
There are a whopping seventeen different school districts in Houston, including the Houston Independent School District, one of the largest in the county. The city also has more than 300 private schools and 100 magnet schools.
As for higher education, there's the University of Houston, the third-largest school in the state. You also have Rice University, The University of St. Thomas, and Houston Baptist University, as well as the historically black college, Texas Southern University.
Houston, TX Education Statistics
- No High School12%
- Some High School34%
- Some College20%
- Associate Degree5%
- Bachelor Degree18%
- Graduate Degree11%
Tips for Renting in Houston
In Texas it is most common for landlords to require your signature on a written lease, however, some of them prefer oral agreements. The Texas Attorney General controls laws applying to tenants. These cover a wide range of issues including Fair Housing, Health and Environmental matters.
Your rights as a tenant include the right to "quiet enjoyment," as it is called in the law—meaning that the landlord cannot evict you without cause or otherwise disturb your right to live in peace and quiet. You also have a right to demand that the landlord repair any condition that materially affects your health and safety. Under Texas law, by renting you the property, the landlord guarantees that the unit will be a fit place to live. Security measures include smoke detectors, window locks, keyed deadbolts on exterior doors and pin locks for sliding glass doors.
Although standard leases can be quite stringent, your landlord may be willing to modify the contract in special cases—for example, allow a pet if you put down extra money as security.
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