Bargain ’burb

Surprising Austin suburb among best places in U.S. to live for under $40,000

Surprising Austin suburb among best places to live for under 40K

city of san marcos
San Marcos is one of the best places to live for under 40K. City of San Marcos/Facebook

You may know San Marcos as the home of Texas State University and two popular outlet malls. But this Austin suburb isn’t just for students and shoppers. AARP The Magazine has named San Marcos one of the best places to live for under $40,000 a year. It was the only Texas town to make the magazine’s list.

“The Greater San Marcos region is a unique place with a quality of life that rivals few,” Adriana Cruz, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, a regional economic development organization, says in a release.

The magazine praises San Marcos — whose population is over 63,000 and growing rapidly — for its ethnic diversity, natural beauty, and Texas tradition, which combine to create “the perfect mix.”

“One of Texas’ oldest towns, San Marcos is full of life,” the magazine raves. “For one thing, environmentalists fiercely defend its natural beauty and wildlife. As for nightlife, the town’s bars and live-music scene helped launch the careers of George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

Housing affordability is among the most attractive aspects of living in San Marcos. In April 2018, the median price for a single-family home there was $229,500, down 3.6 percent from the same time a year earlier, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. That compares with $390,000 in Austin, $285,000 in Buda, $259,200 in Pflugerville, and $215,000 in Kyle.

AARP The Magazine also notes the proximity of San Marcos to Austin (about 30 miles to the north) and San Antonio (about 40 miles to the south). And for all the foodies out there, it plugs the enchiladas at Herbert’s Taco Hut as the best way to spend $10.

While AARP The Magazine’s target audience is 55 and over, its anointment of San Marcos as an inexpensive place to live appeals to people of all ages, as does what the publication calls the town’s low-key Hill Country vibe. “Multimillion-dollar downtown redevelopment echoes the historic character of the town square. Put on your cowboy boots for a stroll, or lace up your sneakers to explore 1,200 acres of parks,” the magazine says.