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Moving From California To Houston - Expert Tips & Advice

Houston is one of the popular cities in Texas that is culturally, ethnically, and economically dynamic. This appeals to a large audience and has been one of the many reasons why people have been moving here in recent years. It has a low cost of living, extensive job opportunities, quality education, and shared love for sports among its residents which makes the city very attractive to people looking for a new place to call home. It's truly a city that has something for everyone at an affordable price range, which makes it the ideal place to live in.

If you’re currently based out of California and are looking for an alternative place with a lower cost of living, the city of Houston in Texas is definitely a good choice to consider. Here’s everything you need to know about moving from California to Houston. Keep reading to know what to expect when you make this long distance move.


Factors To Consider Before Moving From California To Houston

Weather Conditions

Moving from California to Houston won’t be such a hassle when it comes to the weather since both the places have hot summers and mild winters. Since the Texas city is located in the Gulf of Mexico, its typical weather is humid and hot with occasional thunderstorms and rainfall. Rainfall is something that you'll have to get used to when living in Houston as it's not so common in California. Since it has the typical southern weather, you also don't have distinct fall and spring seasons. Other than the mild winters, it's pretty much only hot and humid in Houston.

Here’s the difference in temperature that you can expect during peak summers:

  • California in July: Average daily temperatures range between 71°F and 86°F.
  • Houston in July: Average daily temperatures range between 74°F and 93°F.

If you thought summers in California were hot, wait until you move to Houston. The typical hot and humid southern weather is something that will be a constant in your life now. The end of summer is a good time to explore the city and engage in some outdoor activities. So make sure you carry your sunscreen and prep your inner tourist to get out and see some of the touristy spots in Houston!

Here’s the difference in temperature that you can expect during peak winters:

  • California in February: Average daily temperatures range between 30°F and 44°F.
  • Houston in January: Average daily temperature range between 44°F and 63°F.

As you can see, the mild winters of Houston are not so mild when you compare them to the winters of California. The winters are also towards hot and normal temperatures which can be a bit annoying for people who enjoy the winters. And this shouldn't come as a surprise, but there's no snowfall in Houston. So if that's an important marker for you, you're free to feel disappointed.

Few Things To Bear In Mind About Houston Weather:

  • When you move from California to Houston, make sure to carry rain boots, umbrellas, and rain jackets as it's a rainy city. The average rainfall in Houston is 45 inches a year which surpass the national average rainfall of 38 inches.
  • April, October, and November are the favorable months of the year when the weather is pleasant and you get to enjoy the outdoors of Houston.
  • The rain and thunderstorm may seem too casual for Houston but the tropical storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and occasional flooding is also a pretty common occurrence here.

Cost Of Living

When you're moving to a new city or a state, there are many things to consider and the cost of living is one of the most important ones. So when you make the switch from California to Houston, you'd be happy to know that the cost of living in Houston is almost 2% lower than the national average. When you compare it with the cost of living in California, you know that California is more expensive than the national average and also Houston. Here are a few other parameters that will help you get a better understanding of your overall costs in Houston.

Buying A House

Buying a house is one of the biggest expenses you make and for that reason, you may like Houston compared to California. It has a relatively inexpensive real estate market and a competitive one as well. Compared to the real estate market of California, you'll find houses at much cheaper rates in Houston. California no doubt has one of the biggest real estate markets in the country, but the variety of houses in Houston also varies. There are houses, family homes, condos, apartments, villas, and many more kinds of houses in this city that you can choose as per your liking.

To give you a glimpse at the difference in the values of homes in each of the locations, we have listed the median home values below:

  • Median Home Value In California: $758,360
  • Median Home Value In Houston: $251,609

Renting A House

Just like buying a house, renting a house is also very affordable in Houston which makes the market for rentals very competitive. More than 45% of the people in the city choose to live in rentals. You’ll find all kinds of homes when living in Houston. Besides, it's gonna be comparatively much cheaper than renting in California.

Here's a look at the average monthly rent in both places as per Rentcafe:

  • Average Monthly Rent In California: $1,699
  • Average Monthly Rent In Houston: $1,265


Also See: Top Real Estate Markets


Your monthly and weekly expenses are important factors that affect your cost of living. Living in Houston, you'd have to pay an approximate $145 a month on your utility bill. This bill includes your basic utilities like water, garbage, heating, cooling, and electricity. Adding a monthly internet connection to this would add about $62 on a monthly basis. This bill is much more expensive in California as it amounts to up to $402 a month including the internet costs as well. So this is definitely one section where you'd be saving a few bucks when moving from California to Houston.

The healthcare expenses in Houston are almost 9% lower than the national average. The healthcare cost for an individual in Houston will be approximately $3,660 per year. And the same for an individual living in California would be $3,711 per year. The difference here is not too big, but it's still an area you could possibly be saving some more cash.

Job Market

The economy of Houston is thriving and there have been tremendous developments throughout the years. Its GDP was around $488,164.627 million in 2020 and it is one of the leading cities when it comes to economic growth. The city is one of the biggest contributors to the economy of the country and some of its thriving sectors are aerospace, bioscience, high-technology, healthcare, defense, oil, and manufacturing.

The job opportunities in Houston are extensive as it’s also the city with the second-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the USA. Some of the more prominent industries that provide job opportunities and also add to the economic stability and growth of Houston are automotive, construction, education, energy, finance, and hospitality.

Speaking of job opportunities, the unemployment rate in this Texas city is 5.3% as of 2022, which has been slowly but steadily decreasing. This unemployment rate is higher than the national average of 4% but nonetheless, the city has seen some good reduction in the rate in the past year itself when the rate was almost 8.3%.

Some of the top employers in Houston are:

  • Occidental Petroleum
  • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Kinder Morgan
  • HostGator
  • Apache
  • Phillips 66
  • United Airlines
  • Walmart
  • McDonald's Corp
  • cPanel
  • Center Technologies
  • While Houston
  • ConocoPhillips

This is what the economy of Houston looks like and it's going strong. Let's now have a look at the median income one can expect living in both Houston and California.

  • Median Household Income In California: $78,672
  • Median Household Income In Houston: $53,600


The transportation system in Houston is well-paced, available, and easily accessible throughout the city. The city is well connected with roadways and the city's transit system takes care of running the smooth operation as well.

METRO is Houston’s public transit system which runs most of the transportation in the city. This system is used by the locals a lot to get around the city in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The traffic in the city isn't half as bad as that of California. So, when you move to Houston, you'll be spending less time stuck in traffic.

Let's have a more detailed look at the transportation system in Houston:

METRORail - METRORail is Houston's light rail system that runs three major lines across the city. It has the Red Line, Green Line, and Purple Line which have more than 30 stops across these lines combined. They cover different parts of the city and help you commute long distances in just a matter of a few minutes.

METRO Bus - The METRO also offers public bus services to get around the different parts of the city. Just like the light rail, even the bus transit is divided into three main networks that cover different sections of Houston.

The Houston Airport System - This system is completely in charge of the domestic and international flights in the city. It has two major airports - the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby Airport. Both of these airports have international and domestic flights coming in and out on a daily basis.

Taxis - Like any other city or state in the country, Houston, too, has cabs available all across the city that you can hop on and out of. They are convenient modes of transit that will drop you off at your required destination. 


Houston's Strong Points

  • The city has a thriving job market that enables many newbies and professionals to excel in their careers and get a head start as well.
  • Houston is a city that has a diverse population which allows you to explore more diverse food and celebrate the different cultures as well.
  • The city is proud of its green spaces and has been taking measures to preserve them. The city has more than 5,000 acres of green space that it is protecting and expanding by building more parks and greenway projects.
  • The state of Texas has no income tax which means that living in Houston, you have to pay no income tax.
  • The education system in Houston is one of the finest in the country. It has some of the best school districts in the state. Houston Independent School District (ISD), Aldine ISD, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, and Fort Bend ISD are some of the most popular school districts in the city.

Top Neighborhoods To Move To In Houston

Clear Lake

Clear Lake is one of the popular neighborhoods among families as it’s rated one of the best places to raise a family in Houston. This neighborhood is more affordable compared to its neighbors and has some of the greatest schools as well. It also offers ample job opportunities for people interested in space and technology-related sectors. This has made it a popular place for people who are looking for an affordable place to live or are planning to grow their families and careers as well.

Median Home Value: $231,680

Monthly Rent: $1,436

Spring Branch

One of the most diverse neighborhoods in Houston is Spring Branch. You have people from different walks of life living here and the culture and traditions of each of these ethnic groups shine through in the neighborhood. The restaurants, festivals, stores, bars, and local spots are a true melting point of poetry that mix. Spring Branch was initially a neighborhood established by German immigrants in the 1800s. This neighborhood has been under work and development as more and more people have been moving here over time.

Median Home Value: $608,771

Monthly Rent: $1,121

Braeswood Place

Braeswood Place is a group of subdivisions in Houston that is located a bit away from the downtown area. This gives this neighborhood a more laid-back and low-key vibe but with urban amenities. This neighborhood is known for its education institutions at both higher and primary levels of education. It has ample green spaces as well which makes it a very desirable place to live in and has also attracted families with children to move out here. This neighborhood has a few sections that have different kinds of houses that you can live in. Depending on what amenities and houses you need, you can pick out the section of this neighborhood to live in.

Median Home Value: $580,500

Monthly Rent: $1,626


Midtown is one of the older neighborhoods in Houston that was established in the late 1800s. This is why you’ll find a few charming restored Victorian houses in this part of the neighborhood. But don't let the Victorian charm of this neighborhood fool you, it has a dynamic nightlife and the neighborhood is very happening. It is located close to downtown Houston and has ample restaurants, bars, cafes, and clubs that you can hop on and out of as they are also located within walking distance from one another.

Median Home Value: $349,900

Monthly Median Rent: $2,018

Also See: 7 Best Neighborhoods In Houston For Families

Things To Take Care Of When You’re Moving From California To Houston

  • The distance between California and Houston is over 1,700 miles. So, when you're moving such a long distance, it's best to hire a moving company as you're going to be dealing with a lot anyway.
  • When you move from California to Houston, you've not escaped the taxes as a whole. Even when there is no income tax in the city, the sales tax and property tax are higher than the national average.
  • The traffic in Houston is not the worst in the state. The peak hours could get a bit stuffy in the downtown regions but that is the only time you'd need to be patient with the traffic here. But having your own vehicle helps you get around much easier.
  • If the crime rate in a city is something that matters to you, you need to know that you might not like Houston. It's a city that has a high crime rate compared to the national average.

California To Houston Moving Costs

Moving is a huge expense that cuts a hole in your wallet as it is. When you're moving a long distance from California to Houston, you're expected to pay the long price too. Moving companies have different services that they charge for depending on the kind of move, the distance, and the size of the move. Considering all these things, moving from California to Houston will cost you anywhere between $4,000 and $7,000. This is a big price tag on the moving services but they can be altered as well. You can also reach out to us for getting a rough estimate of your moving costs.

Also See: Moving From Dallas To Houston – Expert Tips & Advice

Summing Up

Being the fourth largest city in the country, Houston remains to be one of the more affordable and family-friendly places to call home. The weather might be a bit harsh for someone who loves winters, but the education institutes, job opportunities, booming economy, and good healthcare system all contribute to making it a very appealing city to move to. So if these are some of the many things that appeal to you, moving from California to Houston will be a good idea.


FAQs On Moving From California To Houston

Why Are Californians Moving To Houston?

Californians are moving to Houston as the city offers you quality living at lower prices. You can live a comfortable life in Houston at a marginally lower expense. That combined with the opportunities the city offers you, makes it an even more appealing city to move to.

Is Moving To Houston A Good Idea?

Houston is a city with dynamic cultures, economy, and opportunities which are all appealing characteristics. It offers you ample job opportunities, affordable houses, quality education, a low cost of living, along with plenty of outdoor activities. If comparatively hotter weather doesn’t bother you as much, moving to Houston might definitely be a good idea for you.

Is Houston Expensive To Live In?

The cost of living in Houston is lower than the national average. From real estate to food expenses and even utilities, you'll be spending lower than the national average when living here. Overall, Houston is among the affordable places to live in the US.

See also: Moving from California to Chicago | Top Neighborhoods in Houston for Singles and Young Professionals