Houston is one of the nation’s biggest cities, and it’s also one of the most diverse metros in the country.
Also called Space City, Houston has one of the most vibrant culinary scenes of anywhere else in the U.S. with more than 10,000 restaurants. It’s home to the Texas Medical Center, which is the largest medical center in the world.
In fact, Houston brings to life the concept of everything being bigger in Texas. Houston is home to the largest mall in the state—The Houston Galleria. It’s also where you’ll find one of the biggest rodeos in the world—the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
There are around 2.3 million residents in the bustling city, which does create some issues. For example, there is a high rate of auto accidents in Houston, and commutes can be challenging to say the least.
The city is growing fast, and while it has been hard hit by coronavirus, the hope is that the sense of optimism present before the pandemic will once again surge.
Even with virus concerns, there are a lot of good things Houston offers.
So what should you know if you’re thinking of moving there?
You’ll Need a Car
In many of the world’s big urban areas, you don’t need a car to get around. Not the case in Houston. If you’re planning a move, you should also be planning to have a car. Traffic can be a nightmare, but it’s really difficult to get around the city otherwise because their public transportation system isn’t especially robust.
In addition to needing a car, you should know that commutes tend to be long on average. Many people move to the Houston suburbs and then drive into work.
Homes Are Pretty Affordable
Throughout the nation, including in Houston the real estate market is booming. That’s making it difficult for buyers, who are finding bidding wars and low inventory, and leading to spikes in prices.
Even so, homes in Houston are relatively affordable, especially compared to other big cities.
If you’re going to rent, you may pay around $1,600 a month for a three-bedroom in City Centre. If you’re coming from somewhere like New York or San Francisco, that might not sound so bad.
For example, New York is nearly 133% more expensive than Houston in terms of rent.
In general, Houston and the whole of Texas are pretty affordable. For example, along with lower housing and rent prices than many big cities, there’s no state income tax in Texas. That does mean sales and property taxes are higher, but still many people do prefer to move to no- or low-tax states.
Disasters Can Strike
Again, there are some downsides to any place that you might choose to live, and Houston is no exception. Primarily, the city is in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes. Flooding can be an issue as well, so if you’re thinking about moving there, consider these factors when you choose a home and make sure you have a disaster plan in place.
Inside or Outside the Loop
When you’re in Houston you’ll hear a lot of references to the Loop. This is Loop 610 and it runs north, south, east, and west. You give directions either inside or outside the Loop when you call Houston home.
Living inside the Loop means you’re in a more urban part of the city, while outside of the loop tends to be more suburban.
Some of the suburbs in the metro that are popular include The Woodlands, which is known for great schools, as well as Katy, Sugar Land and Pearland.
Travel is Easy
Houston is home to two major airports, making it a great place to live if you travel frequently.
North of the city is George H. Bush Intercontinental Airport. This is a United Airlines hub, and you’ll find international flights coming in and out of the airport daily. There’s also William P. Hobby International Airport, which is a Southwest hub. All major airlines fly in and out of Hobby with the exception of United.
Finally, while Houston tends to be a fairly safe city, as with any other big cities crime does happen. Crime is more common in certain parts of the city than others. As an example, crime is particularly dangerous around the intersection of Dowling and McGowen Streets. The crime rates are usually lower the further out you go from the center of the city.