Planting roots

Austin declared among 10 best Texas cities for the middle class

Austin declared among 10 best Texas cities for the middle class

Austin aerial skyline with downtown
Austin beats out more than 90 other Texas cities. Photo by dszc/Getty Images

Middle-class families looking for the perfect place to call home may find what they're looking for in Austin, according to a new study.

Personal finance website Simple Thrifty Living ranked the best cities for middle-class families in every state, declaring Austin No. 6 out of 100 Texas cities. Using data from the Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey, the study analyzed each city based on socioeconomic factors that are important to families, such as local median income and home value (compared to the state as a whole), real estate taxes, unemployment rate, college educated residents, schools, and job availability.

Austin outpaces Texas' largest cities with its median income of $63,717, compared to the statewide median of $57,051. But, as we know, Capital City residents face an increasingly unaffordable housing market; the local median of $290,100 far eclipses the state's median of $169,500.

The study, interestingly, serves as a prime example of that change. In the two years since the Census Bureau crunched housing cost numbers, Austin's seen record median home prices, both crossing the $400,000 threshold for the first time ever in May before barreling to $420,000 in June. In July, the median home price dropped to $410,000, but it still represented a 6.9 percent year-over-year increase.

Despite that, Austin excels in jobs availability — with 16,639 openings within a 10-mile radius — and boasts low unemployment. The strong employment market shouldn't come as a surprise for Austin, as the metro area was recently recognized for record job growth over the last decade.

Outside Austin proper, only one community ranks in the top 30: Wells Branch at No. 23. The neighborhood, just 15 miles north of downtown Austin, where the median income is $52,556 and median home value is $201,900, stands out for its low unemployment rate, too.

The No. 1 city on the list is Houston, with a median income of $49,399, median home value of $169,600, and impressive 19,981 job openings. Two other Houston-area spots land in the top 10: West University Place, No. 7, and Richmond, No. 9.

Dallas comes in at No. 2, with a median income of $47,285, along with neighbors University Park, No. 3; Highland Park, No. 4: Irving, No. 5; and Fort Worth, No. 10. The West Texas enclave of Canyon, No. 8, rounds out the top Texas cities for middle-class families.