Texas, best known as the Lone Star State, is home to the Alamo, Astrodome, and many famous historical sites. Texas is also known as having some of the most affordable, high-quality places to live in the country as folks pour into places like Austin and San Antonio from more expensive states.
Many people move to Texas because it provides an affordable lifestyle allowing you to experience the best of the state without breaking the bank. You can attend the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or go out for Tex-Mex while still finding a cheap place to live.
The cheapest places to live in Texas include Elsa and Muleshoe based on real estate prices and incomes from the most recent Census. Whether you’re a Texan at heart or considering a move to the Lone Star State, you can find an affordable place to live in Texas below.
The 10 most affordable places to live in Texas
What’s the cheapest place to live in Texas? The cheapest place to live in Texas is Elsa according to our analysis of cost of living data.
Although most of the cheapest cities are in Northern Texas, if you are looking for that beach town, you still have plenty of options.
Interested in how we figured out the top ten cheapest cities in Texas? Read on to learn about each of the top ten affordable cities in Texas and the methodology.
Check out some more reading about Texas and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 cheapest places to live in Texas for 2023
We’re heading to Hidalgo County, near the Mexico border, to reach the most affordable place in Texas, Elsa. The cost of living in Elsa is 25% lower than the Texas average, so you’ll pay less for things like healthcare, services, and transportation.
But where Elsa stands out is housing costs, which are only 31% of the national average. Elsa has the fifth cheapest homes and 13th cheapest rent anywhere in Texas.
The median home price in Elsa is $59,300, while you can find a place to rent for just $633.
Just because Elsa is cheap, don’t think that it skimps on quality. The city is currently investing a bunch of money into a brand new park that will transform an old railroad site.
Located in western Texas near the New Mexico border, Muleshoe ranks as the second most affordable city in the state. Muleshoe really shines by having some of the lowest home prices in the state, with a median price tag of a measly $94,100. Combine that with a median income of $64,655, and you’ve got the ninth best home price to income ratio in Texas. So it’s probably best to buy instead of rent in Muleshoe if you want to take full advantage of the city’s uber-affordability.
In any case, most of the best things to do in Muleshoe won’t cost you a dime.
Crystal City, located in Zavala County, ranks as the third most affordable place in Florida. Homes in Crystal City are relatively cheap at a median price of $63,900, and with residents earning a median income of $44,328, Crystal City has the eighth best ratio of home price to income in texas.
Crystal City has a rich history as a farming and ranching community and was once a major railroad stop. Today, it is known as the “Spinach Capital of the World” thanks to its thriving spinach industry. Additionally, the city played an important role in Mexican American political self-determination as the birthplace of the La Raza Unida Party.
Center, located in Shelby County, ranks as one of the most affordable places to live in tx. With a median home value of $62,100 and a median rent of $893, it offers an overall cost of living of just below the Texas average. This makes it an attractive option for those looking for affordable housing options or wanting to save money on their day-to-day expenses.
Center is home to some of the major employers, including Brookshire Brothers, Farmers State Bank, and Panola Community College. The city hosts annual events like the Watermelon Festival and the East Texas Poultry Festival, which crown annual festival queens.
It’s not easy being green…unless you can save loads of money like you can in Kermit. Earning enough money to buy a home is easy as pie in Kermit, where the home price to income ratio is the fourth lowest in Texas. Part of that is low ratio is due to the fact that homes in Kermit are among the cheapest statewide, so it’s a great place to move if you’re arriving with your savings ready.
How cheap are these homes exactly? Well the median home price is $82,100, while the town’s median income is $63,871.
Vidor, located in western Orange County, ranks as the sixth most affordable city in the state. Vidor has some of the cheapest home prices on this list, with a median price of $90,800. Folks in Vidor earn a median income of $53,091, which gives Phillipsburg the 22nd lowest home price to income ratio in texas.
Aside from affordability, Vidor has a lot to offer its residents. It is conveniently located at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Farm to Market Road 105, which makes it easy to access nearby cities like Beaumont and Port Arthur.
Located just north of I-70 and the Colorado River in the western part of the state, Port Lavaca is the seventh most affordable place to call home in texas. Port Lavaca’s median rent of $719/month is less than half of the statewide average. With residents earning a median income of $58,221, Port Lavaca has a very impressive rent-to-income ratio. The median home price is $108,500, giving Port Lavaca the 37th best home price-to-income ratio in the state.
Port Lavaca also offers an excellent quality of life. The city has a population of 11,654 and is known for its scenic location on the Gulf Coast and world-class saltwater fishing. Residents can enjoy outdoor activities like beaches, marinas, swimming, and various local restaurants and shops.
Located in Jackson County, Edna ranks as the eighth cheapest city in Texas. Home prices are steep in Edna, with a median price tag of $92,000. But Edna also has plenty of high-paying jobs that’ll make coming up with the cash seem like a piece of cake. Edna ranks as the 11th best in the state for the ratio of home price to income. Even if you decide to rent in Edna, the income-to-rent balance ranks as the #82.0 spot in Texas.
Edna, “The Flag City of Texas,” serves as the gateway to Lake Texana and offers a range of amenities and attractions. The city has a hospital, library, museum, golf course, retirement community, and a thriving agricultural sector with petroleum and natural gas production, making it a prosperous and vibrant community.
Remember the Alamo… if you’re looking for one of the most affordable cities in the Lone Star State. Located in the Rio Grande Valley, Alamo is the ninth cheapest city in Texas, with a super low median rent of $625. You won’t have to live on microwavable dinners to keep your wallet happy in Alamo. And with all your leftover cash, you can easily take weekend trips over the border to Mexico, where your money will go even further. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Borger, tx, is a great place to call home for those looking for affordable living. With a population of 12,612, Borger enjoys a median home value of $78,500 and a median rent of $789. This is significantly lower compared to other cities in the state, making it one of the most affordable places to live in Texas.
Bolger provides residents with a large set of recreational activities. These activities include a climbing wall, a disc golf course, a Johnson Park Youth Center swimming pool, and the Borger Municipal Golf Course.
Cheapest places to live in Texas FAQs
The county in Texas with the lowest cost of living is Uvalde County. The average living wage in Uvalde County is $75,965 according to MIT data. Uvalde County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Texas as a whole. Childcare costs $10,143 a year in Uvalde County for two children compared to the Texas average of $14,973. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $8,808 per year in Uvalde County compared to $13,442 on average in Texas.
The cost of living in Texas is 3.3% lower than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Texas is $86,749 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Texas household is $63,826.
The cheapest housing market in Texas is Marlin. The average home value in Marlin is $46,100, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Texas is $187,200, almost 4.1 times higher than Marlin.
Methodology: How we determined the most affordable places to live in the Lone Star State for 2023
Determining affordability for places in Texas boils down to two factors:
- How much money do I make?
- How much does it cost to live here?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make to determine affordability. For example, imagine a place in Texas where median incomes are $100,000 and housing costs $200,000 to buy. That’s more affordable than living in a place with a median income of $50,000 where houses cost $101,000. The ratio of income to home prices is higher in the first example.
With that logic in mind, we derived several cost of living statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2017-2021 for Texas. The cost of living statistics are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Rent / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Home Price
You can include median home price as a stand alone variable because high home prices generally correlate with higher costs for all goods and services (heating, electricity, food, etc). You then compare these cost of living metrics for each place in Texas to figure out which is the least expensive.
We aggregate those rankings into a “Cost of Living Index” for each city in Texas. The “Cost of Living Index” allows you to rank all of the 350 places in Texas that have more than 5,000 people from least expensive to most expensive.
The place in Texas with the lowest cost of living according to the data is Elsa.
We updated this article for 2023. This reports reflects our tenth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Texas.
Texas Affordabilility Summary
This is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Texas for 2023, if you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Texas.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Texas according to the data:
- College Station
For more Texas reading, check out:
Cheapest Places To Live In Texas
|Rank||City||Population||Median Income||Home Prices||Rent||Home Price To Income||Rent To Income|
|23||Rio Grande City||15,494||$42,050||$96,700||$539||2.3x||0.15x|