Moving to Houston
Affordability 4 out of 5
Safety 4 out of 5
Healthcare 3 out of 5
Traffic Flow 2 out of 5
Property affordability 5 out of 5
Climate 5 out of 5
Environment quality 4 out of 5
Houston, home to 2.16 million and one of the youngest populations in the United States. Over 90 languages are spoken in Houston making it a truly cosmopolitan city.
The climate of the city is humid subtropical with temperatures averaging 29.2 °C in August and 11.7 °C in January. This is great for those who are cold adverse but the downside is the average relative humidity is at 78%, making it one of the top ten humid cities in the States, with New Orleans and Jacksonville also making the list.
Most famously Houston will always be known for NASA and the Mission Control Center. Nowhere else in the world can boast its name being the first word uttered from the moon.
Houston has a lot to shout about culturally, too. It is home to the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest museums in the US. Within the 1.5 mile radius of the Houston Museum District, there are a total of 19 museums for you to explore once you get settled.
Houston not only survived the recession but has also led the nation in job recovery. Houston takes 15th place on Forbes 2014 list of Best Places for Business and Careers and 4th place on Forbes 2014 list for Job Growth, which grew in 2013 at a rate of 3.5%.
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The leading industries in Houston are energy, manufacturing, aeronautics and transportation. It also has strong healthcare sectors and oilfield equipment manufacturing industry.
Wind and solar energy are also growing economic bases. Houston is designated a global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.
Houston is also home to the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions – the Texas Medical Center – and the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is a significant researcher and employer.
The average disposable monthly salary is $3,611 (£2,230) and the city has a relatively low cost of living compared to most other major cities in the US.
Housing is more affordable in Houston than other cities in Texas like Austin, the reason being that it didn’t experience a housing bubble in the way the rest of the States did.
The city’s land use regulations are also praised for contributing to low cost of housing, although they can also be blamed for the city’s low density, urban sprawl.
If you are considering buying property in Houston you should be aware of No Zoning laws. Anything could be built next to your property, from a high rise to a petrol station, which is also why Houston is sometimes described as ugly or poorly planned.
Property taxes are also high in Houston. The median price of homes currently listed in Houston is $272,000. The median rent price in Houston is $1,459.
At 655 square miles Houston is sprawling. To put it into perspective the City of Houston could contain the cities of New York, DC, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Miami. When choosing a neighbourhood to live in, it is imperative to understand what your commute to work will look like first.
Houston has the largest number of bike commuters in Texas; there are more than 300 miles of dedicated bikeways. The city also has a bicycle sharing scheme called Houston B Cycle, which operates 29 different stations in Downtown and surrounding neighbourhoods.
Public transport in the city is improving but the sheer scale of the place makes for many transfers. Traffic congestion is bad and Houston rates in the top ten in numerous lists for worst cities for traffic in the US.
Family Friendly: The Woodlands – The Woodlands is an attractive suburb for young families, although being 27 miles from Downtown will put some off. The area has an exemplary school system.
Hip and Trendy: Montrose – Montrose is home to thrift shops, hidden art galleries and an eclectic bar scene.
Upmarket: River Oaks – Mansions! Mansions! Mansions! River Oaks is also home to the River Oaks Country Club.
Up and Coming: East End – The new East End Light Rail Line is opening this once industrial area up and plans to develop walkways and bicycle paths will soften the feel of the place.
Schools & education
There are 17 school districts in the city of Houston. The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the seventh-largest school district in the United States. Overall the city of Houston is rated 5 out of 10 by Great Schools based on its public school’s test results.
Top public schools include Alief Early College High School, Birkes Elementary School, Bush Elementary School, Carnegie Vanguard High School and Challenge Early College High School, all of which are scored 10 out of 10 by Great Schools.
The University of Houston, University of Houston – Clear Lake, University of Houston – Downtown, Rice University and Texas Southern University are all located in the city.
The University of Houston is a Tier One research university.
Cost of moving
The average shipping cost of moving for a family of four from the following cities will cost approximately:
A day in the life
Ever had a breakfast taco? Well you should, and you can in Houston. And one of the best spots to try this delicious treat is Taqueria La Macro in downtown. If you like a coffee to kick-start your day, then make it an iced one in Houston.
Depending on the time of year, you should make sure you don’t miss one of Houston’s major events or festivals. If it’s March then the only place to be is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the world’s largest. Attendance reached a record high in 2013 with 2,506,238 people!
In addition to the livestock shows and rodeo action the event has drawn some of the world’s biggest recording artists. Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Selena, Bon Jovi, ZZ Top, Taylor Swift and Lynyrd Skynyrd have all played the rodeo.
Other important events in Houston’s calendar include Houston Pride, Houston Greek Festival, Art Car Parade, the Houston Auto Show, the Houston International Festival and the Bayou City Art Festival, which is considered to be one of the top five art festivals in the US.
On a day when the city is not in the midst of a festival or major event, you could just head to one of the city’s main 19 museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Holocaust Museum Houston.
The best way to wind down after a hot and humid fun day in Houston is with a mojito.