Why Are Texas Houses So Cheap? (11 Reasons Why)

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Brandon Porter

Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

Have you ever thought you may want to live in Texas? Housing in Texas is inexpensive compared to other parts of the United States. 

If you are looking for inexpensive housing that is good quality and built well, I have found some reasons why buying a house in Texas is less expensive. Take a look at what I have discovered.

Why Are Texas Houses So Cheap?


1. Do You Need A Basement?

Houses in Texas do not have basements because the ground surface is within ten feet of the water table. If you had a basement, it could flood. 

However, they do build their houses on concrete slabs. Also, the soil is filled with clay. When clay gets wet, it expands. If you had a basement, it would put too much pressure on the walls. 

The clay expands and can crush the basement walls or create cracks in the walls. The soil also has limestone, which is softer, but a rock is a rock, and you still need to dig through it.

The cost to build a thousand-square-foot basement could run up to $1,000. Therefore, the price of your house just went from low cost to elevated cost of elevated pricing. 

2. Low Property Taxes

Property taxes are determined by multiplying your borough’s effective tax rate by the most recent evaluation of your property. 

The average property tax is 1.81 percent of the home’s value. If you purchase a house for $200,000, your yearly tax could be $3,620. 

However, the property tax rate is 2.42 percent if you live in New Jersey. If you live in New Jersey, the same price house would cost $4,840 at 2.42 percent.  

3. No Income Tax

Texas pays no state income tax, and they make decent incomes. Because the tax is so low, the houses are relatively inexpensive. 

Owning a home is also cheap, which means that the cost of home ownership and general living is lower than in most states. 

You can decide to rent instead of buy. In Houston, a 1400-square-foot apartment could cost about $1450 a month. 

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A New York City apartment at about half the size of the one in Texas could cost $5,600 a month. As you can see, you get more bang for your buck in Texas. 

4. Land Is Plentiful

There are no limitations to the quantity of land just waiting for housing to be built. The buyer starts with a green field and can have acres if they want and create the home of their dreams. 

It is excellent for families with dogs and kids who want to run freely. However, some areas in Texas have limited land, but it is also cheaper.

Austin is an excellent example of a place where land is limited. The average cost of one acre of land in Texas is $20,000 per acre. However, it may also be as low as $4,000 per acre, depending on the area. 

5. Location, Location, Location!

If you live beyond the city, it is cheaper to build, and land is less expensive. The closer you get to town, the pricing is higher. There is not as much land closer to the city. 

Some people prefer to live closer to the city because there is a whole world of shopping and entertainment at their disposal. 

However, if you prefer to live in a rural area, without the hassle of big crowds or a lot of hustle and bustle, it would benefit you to live farther away from the city, which is less expensive. 

The order of expense and amount of people include:

  • Urban or the city (the highest price)
  • Suburban or a mix of urban and rural (middle range) 
  • Rural or the country (the lowest price)

However, if you work in the city and cannot tolerate a long, grueling commute, it would help if you lived closer to the city, even though the price is higher.  

6. Cheap Labor

Cheap Labor 

When hiring people to help build your home, the wages are lower in rural areas, and it will not cost you as much. For a carpenter in Texas, the mid-range salary is about $59,000

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The top salary for a carpenter in Texas is about $77,000, and for a carpenter in New York is $112,000. A laborer in Texas has a top salary of $46,000. General labor in New York City is $56,000

As you can see, the cost of hiring labor in Texas is considerably less than in New York, making housing costs in Texas less than in New York.    

7. Follow The Codes 

In some states, you must get a permit before you can put a shovel on earth. This red tape is expensive and time-consuming. Everything you do requires a permit:

  • Plumbing permit
  • Electric permit
  • Building permit

As you can see, this costs time and money. However, builders want to build in Texas because their building codes are very relaxed. 

There are some local ordinances that you must abide by, but the building process is relatively straightforward. 

The builder can build faster, which makes the building cheaper. The permits are also easier to obtain. 

8. Moderate Climate

Texas can get rather hot, but the overall climate is moderate. Houses can be built without worrying about tornadoes and harsh winter weather. 

Texas averages about two inches of snow per year. The average snow for Buffalo, New York, is about 95.4 inches per year. Ice dams are one of how snow and ice can damage your home. 

Many parts of the home are susceptible to damage in the winter. In Texas, there is no need to worry about snow or ice damaging your home. 

Homes in Texas are much less expensive than in other places that are susceptible to disasters or inclement weather events. 

9. Building Materials Are Easily Accessible

Texas has an overabundance of sand and concrete. Having access to these two items significantly lowers the cost of building. 

The reason is that they have the items right there instead of shipping them in from overseas. They also do not need to come from another state. 

Having access to these items lowers the price of a building drastically. The cost of building materials in other areas is not as reasonable. 

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10. A Room With No View

Texas is flat and not very visually appealing. You are not paying for waterfront property or a place that has a lakeside view. Hills and valleys are non-existent in Texas. 

You see most of your yard when you look out of your window. It’s not like Florida, where you can see the beach from your house. It is all basic flat land in Texas. 

11. Strong Economic Area

Globally, Texas has one of the strongest economies. The cost of living is relatively inexpensive, and the taxes are low. All of these make housing prices more affordable. 

Texas is a very safe area to live in, and you do not need to pay as much for homeowner’s insurance. No one is going to vandalize or break into your house. 

Texas is a veritable powerhouse of all things that make an economy strong: 

  • Rate rail and road infrastructure 
  • US ports of entry
  • Multilingual workforce
  • Diplomatic hub 
  • Multiple financial resources

These are all things that combined help to make Texas and Texas housing an affordable and great place to live. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why moving trucks are so expensive, why landlords are so greedy, and why townhomes are so expensive.

Conclusion

Texas houses are cheap because of the low property tax, cheap labor, relaxed building codes, and moderate climate. There is no need for you to be concerned about crime, and there is no state income tax. 

Building your home will not cost you an arm and a leg. Texas is the way to go when it comes to locating a reasonably priced home without much fuss.  

Author

  • Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

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