There are many good reasons to move to Austin. From excellent weather that allows residents to spend time enjoying the great outdoors to excellent education options and an impressive job market, it's easy to understand why people are flocking to the city. Unfortunately, despite Texas’ low state taxes, the cost of living in Austin is surprisingly high. In fact, Austin is currently ranked as the 12th most expensive US city.  


Cost of accommodation in Austin

Accommodation is almost always a person's biggest living expense but rental rates in Austin are particularly high as a result of the city’s rapidly rising population and short supply of accommodation. In fact, average rents in the Texan capital have increased by 11 percent over the last year.  Newcomers will also need to factor in the cost of utilities such as electricity, gas, water as well as optional extras including internet and telephone services. These aren’t always included in the cost of renting the property itself. 

Those looking to buy property in Austin will also need to be prepared to fork out as house prices in the city are higher than both the national and state averages. Homeowners pay around twice as much for a property in Austin than they would for a similar place elsewhere in Texas. Compared to national house prices, a home in Austin is around 50 percent more expensive. 


Cost of education in Austin

There are a range of public and private schooling options available in Austin. The amount a family would be expected to budget for school fees really does depend on the choice of school they choose. 

The Austin metro area is home to 29 public school districts and, while the standard of public schools varies tremendously, the cost of attending one will cost little to nothing. With charter and magnet schools, parents may be expected to pay for some of the extracurricular features, but anyone legally resident in Austin is entitled to attend a public school for free.

There are also more than 100 private schools in Austin. Parents who choose to pursue this option will need to factor in the cost of school fees which won’t come cheap. In addition to these tuition fees, they’ll also need to budget for various other expenses such as the cost of uniforms, extra-curricular activities, books and field trips. 


Cost of healthcare in Austin

Newly arrived residents and expats will be pleased to learn that the state capital has some of the best healthcare facilities in Texas. That said, residents will need to be in possession of a fully comprehensive health insurance plan to take full advantage of these services. 

While the cost of healthcare in Austin is slightly lower than both the national average and the average for Texas, it still isn’t cheap by any means. Anyone moving to Austin to take up a lucrative job offer should negotiate a healthcare allowance into their employment package as this will afford them a significant saving on their monthly expenses.


Cost of transport in Austin

Although much of Austin is still heavily car-dependent, the public transportation infrastructure of the city is evolving and more and more residents are becoming more inclined to find alternative means of getting around, rather than simply getting behind the wheel of a car. 

The cost of public transport is reasonable in Austin but because people tend to use various combinations of public transport, taxis and e-hailing services as well as their own private vehicles to get around, much of the total transport expenditure will depend on the individual. With the increased presence of e-hailing services, taxi companies have had to drop their fares to remain competitive. 

In terms of driving, the price of cars in Austin is fairly reasonable, as is the price of petrol (gas). When you consider the distances many people drive regularly as well as the cost of parking, especially in the downtown area, it is easy for these expenses to mount up.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Austin

Naturally, lifestyle expenses are really dependent on an individual’s priorities and preferences. While Austin does have its fair share of fine-dining establishments, swanky wine bars and nightclubs, the city also boasts a range of attractions that can be enjoyed at little to no cost. 

Most of the city’s museums and galleries have free admission or at least offer special discounts for kids, students and pensioners. Austin’s wonderful weather also makes it a real pleasure to spend time outdoors and having a picnic at Zilker Park or exploring the hiking trails around the city are just some of the low-cost activities available to residents. 


Cost of living in Austin chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Austin in February 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,750

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,100

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 3,280

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,900

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

USD 3

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.80

Rice (1kg)

USD 3

Loaf of bread

USD 2.20

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 7.66

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 8

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 7

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2

Cappuccino

USD 4

Bottle of local beer

USD 6

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 50

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.09

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 62

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 141

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.55

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 1.25

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.50