8 Best Places to Live in Texas

Texas has become a popular destination for relocation in recent years, ranking among the top states for people looking to move. According to the United States Postal Service data, Texas gained the most residents in 2021 and came in second in 2022 after Florida. There are many reasons why people choose to move to Texas, including a strong economy, a plethora of well-paying jobs, safety, good schools, and recreational opportunities, all of which are readily available in the state.

Texans are fortunate to have hundreds of miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, two national parks (Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains), over 40 mountain ranges, picturesque landscapes, popular festivals, and top-rated entertainment options.

If you are considering moving to Texas, real estate experts have identified eight of the best places to live in the state.

Best Places to Live in Texas

  • Austin
  • San Antonio
  • Houston
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Corpus Christi
  • Southlake
  • Tyler
  • Lubbock

1. Austin

Austin, Texas is a popular city known for its booming economy, excellent education system, entertainment options, and recreational opportunities. It’s also one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the United States, having added over half a million new residents between 2010 and 2020 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In recent years, many new residents from cities such as Los Angeles and New York City have been attracted to Austin’s fun and laid-back atmosphere. However, the real estate market in Austin has become competitive, although not as much as in other major metro areas on the East and West coasts.

If you’re looking to buy a home in Austin, now is a great time to do so, according to Suellen Young, a realtor at Moreland Properties. Recent higher interest rates have caused many potential buyers to pause their search, resulting in qualified buyers having less competition and greater negotiating power than at any time since the pandemic.

Austin offers a variety of neighborhoods that cater to different types of homebuyers. For those looking to be in the heart of the action, the East and South Austin neighborhoods, as well as the downtown area, offer hip restaurants, music venues, and bars. On the other hand, Tarrytown and Westlake are more affluent and family-friendly, with tree-lined streets and great schools, as noted by Joe Keenan, a real estate agent with Realty Austin. These neighborhoods are just a few examples of the many fabulous communities in Austin and surrounding areas, making it one of the best places to live in Texas.

2. San Antonio

San Antonio, which was founded as a Spanish settlement over 300 years ago, has become a top destination for families looking for a place to settle down. With its diverse culture, historic downtown area, and growing economy, the city has attracted over 13,000 new residents between 2020 and 2021, making it one of the best places to live in Texas with family.

According to Jennifer Shemwell, CEO of Phyllis Browning Company, San Antonio offers excellent food, museums, theaters, and cultural celebrations like Fiesta, making it an ideal place for families. Moreover, the city’s traffic is much milder than other major cities, and families can easily travel by car to nearby lakes, the wine region in Fredericksburg, or the Texas coast.

Shemwell also noted that the local real estate market in San Antonio remains steady despite the market swings that have affected other metro areas. This makes it a great time for families to buy their dream home in San Antonio, as the city is gaining popularity among other Texas cities.

3. Houston

Houston is a thriving city in Texas that continues to attract new residents with its strong economy and affordable housing market. With an unemployment rate of less than four percent, Houston’s population growth has outpaced most major cities in the US, offering newcomers access to top-notch medical care, a vibrant arts and museum scene, and a plethora of parks and gardens.

Houston’s median home sale price was $293,000 in January 2023, making it an ideal location for first-time homebuyers or real estate investors looking for a more affordable option than other major metro areas.

Nancy Almodovar, CEO and broker at Nan and Company Properties, highlighted that several neighborhoods in Houston are currently popular among homebuyers. The Heights, Montrose, and Midtown are highly sought-after areas with a strong demand for housing and a great variety of amenities, including historic homes, new constructions, local businesses, and entertainment options. These neighborhoods offer an ideal mix of urban and suburban living that appeals to a wide range of homebuyers.

4. Dallas-Fort Worth

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area offers a blend of urban excitement and laid-back living, making it one of the best places to live in Texas. With a strong economy fueled by a dozen Fortune 500 companies, such as Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and AT&T, the region boasts a low unemployment rate of three percent as of December 2022. The area also boasts excellent public schools with high grades and well-maintained parks, including White Rock Lake, a popular spot for locals to unwind and participate in outdoor activities like paddleboarding, sailing, and jogging.

Dallas’s central location in the United States makes it an ideal travel base for those who want to explore the Gulf Coast beaches or the Colorado mountains. Moreover, the local real estate market has witnessed a steady increase in appreciation and is expected to continue this trend.

If you’re looking for a neighborhood to settle down in, consider Lake Highlands in Dallas. This area features one of the top high school basketball teams in the country and is known for its small-town feel within the big city. With its proximity to nature, parks, and creeks, it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, it’s just a short trip to downtown Dallas, the world-famous Northpark Center, and the newer business developments just north of the city.

5. Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is one of the best places to live in Texas, especially for those who love beach living. Nestled in the Gulf of Mexico, this city is popular among residents looking for a great work-life balance and coastal amenities. Boating, fishing, and beachcombing are favorite pastimes in Corpus Christi. The city is also home to the Texas State Aquarium, the waterfront campus of Texas A&M, and many museums and arts institutions, making it an ideal spot for families, young professionals, and retirees.

According to Karen King, a Group One Real Estate broker, housing in Corpus Christi is as diverse as the city itself. As a city that wraps around water, Corpus Christi offers great variety in housing, from new traditional subdivisions to waterfront living on the canals at Padre Island. Despite the increase in interest rates, the housing market has remained stable. Island homes are particularly popular and have become an upper-end market. While condos come in various sizes and prices, single-family homes on the Island start in the $300,000 range.

6. Southlake

Southlake is one of the best places to live in Texas and is considered one of the state’s wealthiest communities. Located just a 30-minute drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Southlake offers residents an exceptional standard of living. It is especially popular with families as it boasts one of the top-rated school districts in Texas and provides access to several stunning parks and Grapevine Lake. Southlake’s town square is the heart of the community, offering high-end shops, excellent dining, and family-friendly entertainment.

However, living in Southlake comes at a steep price. According to Kim Bedwell, a broker at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, values in Southlake now start in the $800,000s and go up from there. For a newly constructed home, one can expect to pay more than $3.5 million in the area. Most existing homes, however, sell between $1 and $2 million. Despite the high prices, the current real estate market in Southlake remains strong, and multiple offers for a single listing are still standard.

7. Tyler

Tyler, the largest city in East Texas, is not just the “Rose Capital of America” but also boasts a thriving job market. Health care providers are the biggest employers in the area, contributing to the fastest-growing job market in Texas in 2021.

Tyler’s attractions extend beyond its famous rose garden, which spans 14 acres and features over 35,000 rose bushes. The city has 25 parks, including Tyler State Park, which offers almost 1,000 acres of outdoor activities. Tyler is also surrounded by 25 lakes that are ideal for fishing and boating, as well as several golf courses. In addition, Tyler’s brewery, winery, and distillery scene is a popular draw for residents aged 21 and above.

The local real estate market is diverse, offering everything from historic brick street homes to new developments, golf course homes, and lake homes. According to Jana Dillard of Staples Sotheby’s International Realty, Tyler remains a sought-after destination for both full-time and second homeowners.

8. Lubbock

Lubbock is considered one of the best places to live in Texas due to its low cost of living, affordable real estate market, and record-low unemployment rate of just 2.9% in December 2022. This city, which is home to about 300,000 people, was ranked sixth in the country for the best business climate in mid-sized metro areas and one of the top places to start a business in Texas.

According to Kerri Thompson, a real estate agent at WestMark, Realtors, Lubbock is a unique blend of Western history and metropolitan living, with a thriving arts and culture scene, including fine wine, eclectic food, craft beer, world-class art, and musical heritage. Despite a 17.25% increase in the average sales home price since last year, Thompson notes that homes in Lubbock remain affordable, with the current median list price for a single-family home at $273,700, according to data from Movoto.