You already know it's wise to scout outside the metro borders of Austin if you're looking to stretch your housing dollar, but where should you settle if you have a family? Is living in the suburbs really the better plan?
Absolutely, says a report from Zillow and Care.com. The two websites looked at housing (home values and property taxes) and child care costs for 30 metro areas and their surrounding suburbs, and it turns out it's not just a little more affordable to live in the Austin 'burbs — we're actually up there with San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington for the highest variance between urban and suburban living.
Nationally, the Cost of Living Report shows that families spend $9,073 more a year to live in the city compared to the suburbs. For Austin, that number is a staggering $11,522. It breaks down like this: Families living in the urban parts of the Austin metro spend $47,790 a year on housing and child care. In the suburbs, they spend just $36,238. That’s an extra $960 urban families spend every month.
Austin city dwellers are shelling out $8,382 a year more for homes that are 572 median square feet smaller than their suburban counterparts (that's also the biggest space difference in the study). The saving grace is that the urban commute time is a solid 4.4 median minutes shorter (second-best on the list).
Those in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs save $14,128 by not living in the city, while Houstonians can sock away $5,368 a year by settling in the 'burbs. San Antonio is the only Texas city in the study where it's cheaper to live in town: $2,474 can be saved annually.
But the study found that not all suburbs are coming out on top. Those surrounding Philadelphia will cost you $13,849 a year more to enjoy, while the urban parts of Baltimore, Cleveland, and Milwaukee are also significantly cheaper in which to raise a family.