Greater Houston is unquestionably big – and full of variety. According to the 2010 census, our fair city is the nation’s fourth largest, and our metropolitan area (which stands at over six million inhabitants), is now the nation’s fifth largest. Add to that our incredible diversity: A Rice University study shows that Houston is now the nation’s most ethnically diverse metropolitan area. That’s good news for home seekers, as the metro area’s varied cities and neighborhoods offer a wide range of choices sure to fit any lifestyle and budget.
All population data courtesy of the US Census – 2010. All housing/rental price data courtesy of Zillow.com Market Trends, as of 9/12/2013.
Sugar Land, TX
Population: 78,817 | Median Home Price: $329,000 | Median Rental Price: $1,360
Sugar Land is most certainly a sweet place to live. The city named for the local headquarters of Imperial Sugar is also home to CVR Energy and other major employers, creating a healthy economic base. Sugar Land’s location in affluent Fort Bend County features top-notch public schools, burgeoning entertainment districts (such as the Sugar Land Town Square development), and a plethora of master-planned communities. Examples include First Colony and New Territory, which offer single-family homes, apartments, condos and convenient shopping centers.
Population: 91,252 | Median Home Price: $220,000 | Median Rental Price: $1,200
Pearland is booming. The Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area’s fastest-growing city is also the state’s second-fastest growing, and ranks 15th in the nation. It’s no wonder, too, since its housing stock is among the most affordable on our list, and recent developments include the Pearland Town Center district; spanning Brazoria, Fort Bend and Harris counties, it features close proximity to the warm waters of the Gulf.
The Woodlands, TX
Population: 93,847 | Median Home Price: $335,000 | Median Rental Price: $1,400
Located more than 30 miles north of Houston proper, this affluent bedroom community is quickly developing into an important business district, too, as companies such as Chevron Phillips, Anadarko Petroleum and Maersk Lines have built local campuses since 2000. This contributes to a flourishing local economy and ample job opportunities – both big draws for prospective residents. The city is no slouch in the entertainment and cultural departments, either; with more than 150 restaurants, the eponymous Woodland Mall, and the popular Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, it draws visitors from throughout the region.
Population: 14,102 | Median Home Price: $202,000 | Median Rental Price: $1,444
With strong public schools and a location near the renowned Energy Corridor (home to the likes of British Petroleum and KBR), Katy is an affordable alternative for area residents seeking a suburban lifestyle. The Katy Mills mall is among the state’s largest, and the recent renovation of I-10 means extra traffic lanes for city commuters. The West Houston location also means closer proximity to the many amenities of the city proper.
West University Place, TX
Population: 14,787 Median Home Price: $1,024,000 Median Rental Price: $2,100
West University is synonymous in the minds of many Houstonians with broad, tree-lined neighborhoods, exclusive homes and an enviable location near Rice University, the Texas Medical Center and the Museum District. With a median home price in the vicinity of $1 million, it is an undoubtedly tony address, and the many cultural offerings in the vicinity are a testament to its refinement. Local residents can enjoy strolling the campus of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Houston Science Museum, or enjoy the Houston Zoo and Rice’s lovely walking trails.
Population: 3,334 Median Home Price: $189,500 Median Rental Price: $1,556
Water lovers, rejoice! At just 40 minutes from downtown Houston, Kemah offers direct access to Galveston Bay and proximity to Clear Lake, making it ideal for fishing and water sports enthusiasts. The famous Kemah Boardwalk entertainment district is known for waterfront fun and features the Aquarium Restaurant, roller coasters, and more. Home prices are on the lower end of our listing, too, making it even more attractive for young families.
Population: 2,160,821 Median Home Price: $199,900 Median Rental Price: $1,350
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Houston itself. The nation’s fourth-largest city, Houston is renowned for diversity and offers a broad range of neighborhoods, housing options and lifestyles. From historic neighborhoods like Montrose and The Heights to the opulence of River Oaks, Houston is an urban delight. You can enjoy its many performance and arts venues, such as the Alley Theatre, Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, and the Houston Opera. Or, delight in its ethnic enclaves, such as the Bellaire Asian district or the many Hispanic neighborhoods and eateries.