Moving to San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is a lesser-known city in Texas compared to its more popular counterparts like Dallas and Austin. However, that’s what makes moving to San Antonio so great. It’s like a secret oasis, a hidden gem in the largest state of the country.
There is a close community feel across the city as locals, military, and businesses work together. Lifestyle in San Antonio is often regarded as what you may call laid back. There is no rush and no stress, but things get done. It’s a surprise the city remains so relaxed, as it is the 7th largest city in the country and growing.
If you don’t want to deal with harsh winds or shoveling snow, then move to San Antonio, Texas. It stays hot in the city year round. Summers can be very hot, but winters are gorgeous compared to the rest of the country. You might need a light jacket during some winter nights as temperatures can get as low as 5ºC.
Although there is a large entertainment aspect in the city that consists of the Alamo, Six Flags, Seaworld, and rodeos, there is also another side to San Antonio. Once you drift away from the main tourist attractions it feels like you’re in another world, a foreign country that you need a passport for. Sail down to the Riverwalk that is always shaded by trees and buildings, settle in for a margarita and some authentic mariachi music.
San Antonio hosts one of the largest concentrations of military bases in the country. The multitude of bases cover basic training, medical, skills training, and recruiting. You do not have to be in the military to work on a military base; there are many positions that must be filled by civilians.
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If you are not interested in working with the military, there are other sectors to consider. Government, healthcare, education, tourism and recreation are the most popular job markets in San Antonio. Texas currently has a slogan of “Wide Open for Business” which means they are ready to take on businesses that need to relocate from large cities that they’ve outgrown.
A majority of the population, over 60%, is Hispanic. The main language is English, however a very close second is Spanish. There is such a heavy Mexican culture influence in the city that it would be helpful for new residents to speak Spanish to stand apart from other expats.
Even though San Antonio is such a large metropolis and continuously growing, it is a very affordable place to live. If you are thinking about moving to Texas, San Antonio is a great alternative to its higher priced cities, such as Austin. You would need an extra $774 in Austin, TX to maintain the same lifestyle in San Antonio. Alcohol, Internet speed, and recreational activities cost the same in both cities, however.
Restaurant prices and groceries are less expensive in San Antonio than in Austin. A typical meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost you $50 in Austin, but only $35 in San Antonio. The main difference between the two Texas cities is the rental prices. Those who rent in Austin can pay up to 60% more than someone who rents in San Antonio.
San Antonio, and Texas in general, is one of the top places in the United States people move to retire. It is well known that Texas has no property tax and no individual income tax. Hence, residents do not get taxed on their retirement income.
House prices are considerably less expensive than other cities of the same size. Like most large cities, you can find houses for less than $150,000 or houses for $1.5 million. The median house price in San Antonio is $185,500. This is an 8% increase from the previous year, and the market is not expected to slow down.
Residents that live in apartments generally choose one or two bedroom layouts. Average rent price in San Antonio is $900, which is an increase of 5.4% from the last year.
|Property Type||San Antonio||Austin|
|Apartment (1bdr) City centre||$937||$1,587|
|Apartment (1bdr) Outside city||$761||$912|
|Apartment (3bdr) City centre||$1,425||2,787|
|Apartment (3bdr) Outside city||$1,138||$1,550|
- Family-Friendly: If you’re looking for a family friendly area to move to in San Antonio, look no further than Castle Hills. This quaint town is located 10 miles north of downtown San Antonio, and is close to the Riverwalk and the International airport. This well-established part of town has single-family homes, great schools, and a booming job market.
- Upmarket: Monte Vista is a picturesque, historical part of San Antonio that offers beautifully preserved housing that features architecture from the early 20th century. The neighborhood’s restaurants also have some history. San Antonio’s oldest Mexican restaurant is located here.
- Hip & Trendy: Like any major U.S. City, downtown San Antonio offers entertainment, condos, and a great food scene. If you choose to live in the downtown area be prepared to be surrounded by young, energetic people hopping from the gym, to work, to their favorite lunch spot, then finishing their night at a Spurs game.
- Up & Coming: The neighborhood of Five Points had its rough patch in the past, but it’s on the mend. Businesses and local townspeople are rallying together to revitalize this part of the city. They are driving out crime and renovating old houses. The goal is to have an area that is close to downtown but allows families to live in single-family homes instead of apartments or condos.
Cost of moving to San Antonio
The following are price estimates for shipping a 20-foot container to San Antonio. A typical 20-foot container will comfortably fit the belongings of a 1,200 square foot apartment. You’ll also want to factor in flights, ground transportation, any apartment deposits.
|Rio de Janeiro||£2,060|
Schools and Education
There are 445 public primary and secondary schools in San Antonio, with a student/teacher ratio of 15:1. Public primary education in San Antonio was ranked 5 out of 10, and was given a “C” rating.
Some of the top-rated elementary schools are Curlington Elementary, Cibolo Creek Elementary, and Fabra Elementary. All three schools scored a 94% or higher on math and reading proficiency exams in 2014.
San Antonio falls below state and national averages when it comes to completing a degree. However, they are on the same pace as the rest of the country in reference to high school graduation, 75% of citizens have their high school diploma.
Universities in San Antonio
For those interested in pursuing a degree there are 31 colleges and universities located throughout the city, the following list are top rated schools in the city:
Trinity University: ranked 1 of Regional Universities (West); specialties include Business, Management, Marketing, and Social Sciences.
St. Mary’s University: ranked 21 of Regional Universities (West); specialties include Business, Management, Marketing, and Social Sciences.
The University of Texas at San Antonio: not ranked; specialties include Business, Management, and Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies.
Ranking against the world
You’ll never be bored when you live in San Antonio. The wonderful year-round weather allows its residents to enjoy every aspect of the city every day of the year. You could take it easy and enjoy the many public parks and walking paths.
Or get the whole family together and see a show at Seaworld. If you’re feeling particularly daring, you could scream your head off on a roller coaster at Six Flags.
Be sure to rest up in time for the biggest party in the biggest state. Fiesta San Antonio is an annual, 10-day party that the whole city participates in. It’s a celebration of a community that is proud of its city.
Moving to San Antonio From the UK
San Antonio is a typically spread out US city which means that owning or leasing an automobile is essential for getting around. The city is served by many freeways but traffic is still a problem at peak times so be prepared to do plenty of research when deciding on where to live (taking a temporary let while you find your bearings is advised).
The city has a Spanish speaking contingent which makes up more than 36% of the population so while a familiarity with the language would help you get most from your new home there’s no need to become fluent before arriving.
Brits moving to San Antonio may find it takes a while to get used to the extreme heat and humidity of the South Texas summer. Tornadoes are a rare occurrence but flooding has become a concern in recent times with major episodes in 1998 and 2002.
In line with the general trend in the US, house prices in San Antonio have recovered in recent years. The median sales price of $174,500 (£109K) in August 2013 represents an 8% rise year on year. Texas levies no real estate transfer tax. Renting a three bedroom in the city centre currently costs roughly $1,100 (£686) per month.
Comparing San Antonio vs London
|Living Costs||London||San Antonio|
|Disposable Salary||£1,992 GBPpcm||£1,965 GBPpcm|
|3 Bedroom Apartment||£2,590 GBP||£980 GBP|
|Imported Beer 0.33cl||£3 GBP||£3 GBP|
|Bottle of Wine||£7 GBP||£8 GBP|
|Marlboro||£7 GBP||£4 GBP|
|Eggs||£2 GBP||£1 GBP|
|VW Golf 1.4||£15,943 GBP||£12,095 GBP|
|Basic Utilities||£160 GBP||£114 GBP|
|Rice (1kg)||£1 GBP||£1 GBP|
|Capuccino||£2 GBP||£3 GBP|
|Meal for 2||£50 GBP||£28 GBP|
|Cinema Ticket (1)||£11 GBP||£5 GBP|
As well as lower property prices and lower rents than in London, San Antonio also offers cheaper meals out, cheaper groceries (expect for some fruit and veg), cheaper transport, cheaper utilities, cheaper entertainment and cheaper consumer goods.
On average San Antonians report putting up with less pollution than Londoners, spending less time commuting and receiving roughly equivalent healthcare. They also report greater purchasing power. They report feeling less safe however, perhaps an effect of the lenient gun laws in Texas.
A day in the life
After waking up on a gorgeous 24C February day in your downtown loft, or single family home, you’ll ride a bike into town. Not your personal bike, one that you picked up at a bike sharing station, one of many in the city. You’ll go to your favorite breakfast stop for a quick breakfast burrito where you’ll pass military service members in different colors of gray and green camouflage.
After a quick stroll down the Riverwalk your family might stop at their favorite barbecue restaurant that is the best kept secret in town. This is where you indulge and dig into your 1/3-pound of brisket you’ve been waiting for all week.
Next you’ll head to Market Square, a festive market that you can hear from three blocks away. Your children will grab some of their favorite Mexican candy and baked goods for dessert. And finally, like every other loyal local you’ll head to AT&T Centre to watch the San Antonio Spurs take on their rivals. With such a laid-back lifestyle you’ll wonder why you didn’t move to San Antonio sooner.