Home prices in Texas rank among the most affordable in the United States. If you’ve ever wondered why housing is so inexpensive in the Lone Star State, you’re not alone. Texas offers homebuyers the perfect combination of low costs, job opportunities, favorable taxes, and business-friendly regulations that keep real estate economical.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Texas has ample land available for new construction, a pro-growth policy environment, low property taxes, and relatively few regulations on developers – all of which make building homes cheaper.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the main reasons Texas housing bucked the national trend of skyrocketing home prices over the past decade. Whether you’re looking to buy your first home in Texas or are just curious to learn what’s behind the state’s budget-friendly housing market, read on for the full scoop.
Plentiful and Affordable Land
One of the major factors contributing to the affordability of houses in Texas is the plentiful and affordable land available in the state. Texas is known for its vast expanses of undeveloped land, offering ample opportunities for housing development.
This abundance of land helps to keep housing prices relatively low compared to other states with limited land availability.
Vast Amounts of Undeveloped Land
Texas is the second-largest state in the United States, spanning over 268,000 square miles. With such a vast land area, there is plenty of space for housing development. Unlike more densely populated states where land is scarce, Texas has an abundance of undeveloped land that can be used for residential purposes.
This allows for greater competition among developers, resulting in lower land prices.
Low Land Prices in Texas
Another factor contributing to the affordability of houses in Texas is the relatively low land prices. The cost of land plays a significant role in determining the overall cost of a house. In Texas, land prices tend to be more affordable compared to other states, making it easier for developers to acquire land at a reasonable cost.
These lower land prices translate into more affordable housing options for buyers.
Weak Zoning Laws Allow Growth
Texas has a reputation for having relatively weak zoning laws compared to other states. Weak zoning laws allow for more flexible land use and development regulations. This means that developers have more freedom to build and expand housing projects, resulting in a greater supply of affordable houses.
The less restrictive zoning laws also contribute to the lower overall cost of housing in Texas.
Booming Population and Job Growth
One of the key factors contributing to the affordability of houses in Texas is the state’s booming population and job growth. Texas has experienced a significant influx of people from other states and even from abroad, making it one of the fastest-growing states in the United States.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas gained over 3.9 million residents between 2010 and 2020, marking a population increase of 15.9%. This influx of people has created a high demand for housing, leading to a competitive market.
More People Moving to Texas
There are several reasons why more people are choosing to move to Texas. The state offers a lower cost of living compared to many other states, with affordable housing being a major factor. Additionally, Texas has a favorable business climate, with no state income tax and a thriving economy.
The state’s diverse landscape, warm climate, and abundance of recreational activities also make it an attractive destination for many individuals and families.
Surging Job Market Attracting Residents
Aside from the affordable housing market, Texas is also experiencing a surge in job opportunities. The state has a robust job market, offering a wide range of employment opportunities across various industries, including energy, technology, healthcare, and manufacturing.
Many companies are relocating or expanding their operations in Texas, creating new job opportunities and attracting residents from other states. This strong job growth has not only improved the state’s economy but has also contributed to the affordability of housing.
High Housing Demand Keeps Prices in Check
The high demand for housing in Texas has played a significant role in keeping housing prices in check. With more people moving to the state and a booming job market, the demand for housing has increased substantially.
However, Texas has been able to keep up with this demand by continuously building new housing developments and expanding existing ones. This increased supply, coupled with the strong demand, has prevented housing prices from skyrocketing, making it more affordable for individuals and families to purchase homes.
According to data from the Texas Association of Realtors, the median home price in Texas was $242,000 in 2020, which is lower than the national median home price of $295,000. This affordability factor makes Texas an attractive destination for those looking to buy a home without breaking the bank.
Less Regulation and Red Tape
One of the main reasons why houses in Texas are so cheap is due to the state’s less regulation and red tape when it comes to housing development. Texas has a reputation for having a business-friendly environment, and this extends to the real estate industry as well.
Streamlined Permitting and Approvals
When it comes to building a house in Texas, the permitting and approval process is streamlined and efficient. The state has implemented measures to reduce the bureaucratic red tape that often slows down construction projects in other states.
This allows builders to get their projects underway quickly, saving both time and money.
According to a report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas has one of the fastest permitting processes in the country. This efficiency in the approval process helps to lower construction costs and ultimately leads to more affordable housing options for residents.
Limited Impact Fees
Another factor contributing to the affordability of houses in Texas is the limited impact fees imposed on new developments. Impact fees are charges levied by local governments on new construction projects to help fund infrastructure improvements.
In many states, these fees can add significant costs to the overall price of a home.
However, in Texas, impact fees are generally lower compared to other states. This is due to the state’s approach of encouraging economic growth and development. By keeping impact fees at a reasonable level, Texas is able to attract more builders and developers, which in turn leads to more affordable housing options for buyers.
Texas has a reputation for having builder-friendly rules and regulations. The state’s pro-business environment extends to the construction industry, making it easier and more cost-effective for builders to operate.
This includes factors such as lower taxes, fewer regulations, and more flexibility in land use regulations.
By creating a favorable environment for builders, Texas is able to attract more construction companies to the state. This increased competition helps to drive down construction costs, which ultimately translates into more affordable housing options for buyers.
Lower Property Taxes
One of the main reasons why houses in Texas are so cheap is due to the lower property taxes in the state. Texas has a unique tax system that benefits homeowners by keeping property taxes relatively low compared to other states.
Texas Has No State Income Tax
One important factor contributing to lower property taxes in Texas is the absence of a state income tax. Since the state does not rely on income tax revenue, it places a greater emphasis on property taxes to fund local government services and public schools.
This absence of a state income tax means that homeowners in Texas do not have to worry about paying a percentage of their income towards the state government. This in turn allows for more disposable income, which can be used towards purchasing a home or investing in real estate.
Caps on Property Tax Growth
Another reason why houses in Texas are more affordable is the presence of caps on property tax growth. The state has implemented measures to limit the growth of property tax assessments, providing homeowners with more stability and predictability when it comes to property tax bills.
These caps prevent property taxes from skyrocketing, even as property values increase. This ensures that homeowners are not burdened with sudden and significant increases in property taxes, making it easier for them to budget and plan for their housing expenses.
Comparatively Low Tax Burden
When compared to other states, Texas has a relatively low overall tax burden. According to the Tax Foundation, Texas ranks 46th in the nation for total state and local tax burden as a percentage of income.
This lower tax burden allows homeowners to allocate more of their income towards housing, resulting in lower house prices. The savings from lower taxes can be significant over time and can make a significant difference in the affordability of homes in Texas.
Minimal Natural Disasters
One of the reasons why houses in Texas are so cheap is the minimal occurrence of natural disasters in the state. Texas is fortunate to have a low risk of earthquakes, which can cause significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.
Unlike states in the West Coast, such as California, Texas does not lie on any major fault lines, making it less prone to seismic activity.
Low Risk of Earthquakes
Texans can rest easy knowing that their homes are not at a high risk of being affected by earthquakes. The state’s geological makeup, with its stable tectonic plates, contributes to this low risk. Unlike residents in earthquake-prone areas, Texans don’t have to worry about costly earthquake insurance or the potential for extensive property damage.
Hurricanes Rarely Strike Inland
Another reason why houses in Texas are more affordable is the rarity of hurricanes striking inland. While coastal regions of Texas, such as Galveston and Corpus Christi, can experience the impact of hurricanes, the majority of the state remains relatively safe from these powerful storms.
The risk of hurricane damage is significantly lower in comparison to states like Florida or Louisiana, where coastal properties are more expensive due to the higher risk.
Mild Impact From Tornadoes
Although tornadoes can occur in Texas, the state generally experiences milder tornado activity compared to the infamous “Tornado Alley” in the central United States. The risk of a destructive tornado hitting a specific area is relatively low in Texas, which contributes to the lower cost of housing.
This lower risk means homeowners don’t have to invest as much in tornado-resistant construction or insurance coverage.
The unique combination of abundant land, low taxes, employer-friendly regulations, and high domestic migration help explain why housing remains so affordable in the Lone Star State compared to other parts of the country.
While prices are rising due to increased demand, Texas still offers some of the best home values to be found anywhere in the United States. Understanding these key factors can help you identify the most budget-friendly markets for buying your first or next home in Texas.