The cost of living is one of the most important factors you need to consider as you look for a retirement destination. When it comes to common day-to-day expenses that matter to older adults who are trying to make ends meet with their retirement savings, Houston is affordable in some areas and costlier in others.
According to Forbes, the overall cost of living in Houston as of July 2015 is 6.6% higher than the nationwide average. Considering that Houston is the fourth largest city in the country, the costs are actually quite reasonable for a city of its size. But, how does Space City compare to the rest of the nation on key expenses?
Rents and home values in Houston are on an upward trend, and with the job growth and steady stream of new residents moving to town, the increase in housing costs is not expected to end soon. The median home value in Houston was $146,600 in July of 2015. And, as of June 2016, rent was $1,219 per month on average for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,574 for two bedrooms. Yet, there are many deals to be found in Houston’s surrounding suburbs if you do not mind living outside of the city limits.
Houstonians spend slightly less than (but not significantly so) the national average on food according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report also found that Houston residents spend much less than the United States average on groceries. Instead, they choose to eat out more. Some of the more common grocery expenses in Houston are milk at $3.12 per gallon, eggs at $2.98 per dozen, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts at $3.47 per pound as of July 2016.
Overall, the transportation costs in Houston are greater than the US average but not significantly so. Nearly eighteen percent of the average household’s budget goes to transportation in Houston, but golden agers can expect to pay less if they do not have a workday commute. The gas prices range from $1.57 to $2.49 per gallon. Houston’s car insurance rates are among the highest in the country at $2,212 per year. This is more than double the national average. However, depending on your history, vehicle, and how you drive, you may be able to get a significantly lower rate.
Senior care costs are all over the board in Houston. You can expect to pay less than the national average for adult day health care and nursing home care. Adult day health care is $15,600 per year in Houston and $17,680 nationally. Nursing home care is $82,125 for a semi-private room and $92,378 per year for a private room nationally. This is compared to $55,298 and $84,315 respectively in Houston. Home health care is not significantly different, whereas assisted living facilities are more expensive in Houston at $45,900 per year.
To ensure you stretch your retirement savings as far as possible in Houston, comparison shop for housing based on cost-effective transportation options, prices, and walkability.
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