Homeowners Insurance

Most and Least Affordable Cities in Texas for Homeowners & Renters

The affordability of housing costs for homeowners and renters in Texas vary significantly based on the city you live in. However, the city of Laredo was comparatively the least affordable whether you own or rent your home.

We analyzed housing costs in major cities across the state and found median housing costs for homeowners vary by 202% depending on location—ranging from $8,112 per year in Brownsville up to $24,516 in Frisco. Renters faced less drastic differences in absolute costs, as housing expenses only varied by 104% between cities. But only 18 of the 29 largest cities in Texas are affordable for renters, as housing costs in the other 11 cities exceed 30% of the median income for this group.

When you take into account the income of residents, to determine the affordability of these costs, renters faced much larger disparities between cities than homeowners. Renters in Laredo have a median household income of $22,867 and contribute 15.94% more of their earnings to housing costs than those in Frisco, the most affordable major city for renters.

Most and Least Affordable Cities for Homeowners in Texas

Our analysis found that the most affordable major city in Texas for homeowners was Midland. Homeowners in Midland have a median income of $87,547 per year, but housing costs are just $1,071 per month. In comparison, Houston's median housing costs are close at $1,062 per month, but median income in Texas' largest city is 18% lower, at $71,418 per year. One reason for this discrepancy is that home insurance rates in Midland are 16% cheaper than in Houston for a similar property.

Affordability of Texas Cities for Homeowners

Among the least affordable cities for homeowners in Texas, three were located within the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area: Garland, Dallas and Grand Prairie. However, Laredo, the least affordable city, is nearly 450 miles south, near the Mexican border.

Although Laredo's housing costs, $932 per month, were 14% below the average in major Texas cities, median homeowner income in the city was also much lower at $52,692. While housing costs in nearby San Antonio were just $10 more per month, median income in the city is $11,027 higher as well, meaning residents spend 3.48% less of their income on homeownership.

Most and Least Affordable Cities for Renters in Texas

Frisco, the most affordable city for renters, also has the highest rental costs among major cities—$1,313 per month—taking into account rent and utilities. But these expenses only account for less than a quarter of the median renter's income, $65,240. The median income of renters in Frisco exceeds that of any other major city in Texas, and it's $9,541 greater than the next highest-earning city, Plano. In fact, of the five cities with the highest-income renters (Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Midland and Carrollton), four made our list of most affordable locations.

Affordability of Texas Cities for Renters

Correspondingly, the three cities with the lowest incomes for renters—Brownsville, Laredo and Waco—were the least affordable in our analysis. The average housing cost across these cities was $726 per month, or $428 less per month than housing costs in the three most affordable cities. But the significant difference in median income causes these regions to be the least cost-friendly for renters.

Affordability of Homeownership in Texas

Housing costs can cover a variety of expenses, including mortgage payments or rent, as well as utilities, such as electricity, gas and water. Homeowners' costs additionally take into account property taxes, home insurance and flood insurance policies. Oddly, in three cities in our analysis, median housing costs for renters exceeded those for homeowners.

Cities in Texas Where Homeowners Pay Less on Housing than Renters

Housing affordability for an individual will depend on other elements of their financial situation. The government's standard metric of affordability compares housing costs to income. Residents whose housing costs equal more than 30% of their income are considered to be burdened by housing costs. By this measure, all major cities in Texas are affordable for the median homeowner, whereas 18 of 29 cities are not affordable for the median renter.

Methodology

We analyzed population and housing cost data from the Census Bureau's American FactFinder database. The 29 major Texas cities included in our analysis have a population of more than 100,000 as of the 2010 Census.

CityAnnual homeowner incomeHomeowner housing costsHomeowner affordabilityAnnual renter incomeRenter housing costsRenter affordability
Abilene$58,341$75715.57%$32,334$81630.28%
Amarillo$62,402$87316.79%$32,160$78129.14%
Arlington$75,933$1,16018.33%$34,446$89631.21%
Austin$92,148$1,47419.20%$42,935$1,10630.91%
Beaumont$58,958$77615.79%$27,303$78734.59%
Brownsville$45,385$67617.87%$19,418$64439.80%
Carrollton$92,381$1,39618.13%$48,298$1,06626.49%
Corpus Christi$67,813$94716.76%$36,417$92030.32%
Dallas$65,504$1,09119.99%$35,781$88829.78%
Denton$79,196$1,24718.89%$30,372$93236.82%
El Paso$56,192$84518.05%$28,709$76932.14%
Fort Worth$72,379$1,13618.83%$36,764$93130.39%
Frisco$135,024$2,04318.16%$65,240$1,31324.15%
Garland$64,224$1,07920.16%$35,833$97332.58%
Grand Prairie$73,338$1,21019.80%$39,819$94328.42%
Houston$71,418$1,06217.84%$35,250$89830.57%
Irving$78,771$1,18418.04%$44,310$95325.81%
Killeen$61,708$1,04120.24%$38,182$87627.53%
Laredo$52,692$93221.23%$22,867$76440.09%
Lubbock$64,983$91716.93%$30,187$85433.95%
McAllen$59,200$83216.86%$26,711$73933.20%
McKinney$101,418$1,64719.49%$54,098$1,17626.09%
Mesquite$65,938$1,08119.67%$35,971$97732.59%
Midland$87,547$1,07114.68%$51,204$1,14326.79%
Pasadena$64,515$90016.74%$34,513$83429.00%
Plano$111,693$1,56516.81%$55,699$1,19625.77%
San Antonio$63,719$94217.74%$33,690$88231.42%
Waco$53,750$81918.28%$24,026$77038.46%
Wichita Falls$59,560$80616.24%$29,163$74730.74%
Housing costs represent the median amount spent per month. Affordability is determined by comparing annual housing costs and income.
Maxime Croll

Maxime is a Product Manager at ValuePenguin focusing on insurance. Previously she was the Director of Product Marketing at CoverWallet.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.