Texas Towns That Are Getting Too Expensive for Retirees (Plus Some Affordable Alternatives)

RETIREMENT - RETIRED LIFE
These once-affordable Texan towns are now out of reach for retirees.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Texas is becoming a popular place for retirees who may not want to move to a more traditional retirement state like Florida or who want to stay deep in the heart of Texas.

But some cities in the state have become too expensive whether you want to retire early or not. If you plan to retire in the Lone Star state, you’ll need to consider the costs for groceries, utilities, and distance to amenities In addition to housing.

Check out these Texas towns and cities that are pricing out retirees along with some good alternatives that can keep you deep in the heart of Texas.

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Galveston

cbruzos/Adobe joyful amusement park with thrilling water rides along the beautiful coast in Galveston County.

Galveston could be a good option for retirees who want the sand and a beachy feel without moving to Florida. But you should double-check the cost of housing before you pack up and move, especially if you're trying to keep more money in your bank account.

The average sale price for a home in the city is $354,864, which is higher than median cost of a house in Texas, according to real estate website Zillow. That high cost may be out of reach if you’re on a budget.

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Lubbock

Patricia E. Thomas/Adobe green park with benches and trees in lubbock town square

Lubbock may seem like it’s affordable when you consider the housing market. After all, the city has an average sale price of $206,736 for a home.

However, it's up 0.8% this year. Lubbock also lands on the list because it’s more than just about the cost of a home. Lubbock is a city oasis surrounded by quite a bit of nothing in West Texas.

That could be an issue if you like outdoor activities or seeking out culture. So consider how much your wallet might take a hit if you want to do anything while you’re retired.

Lakeway

Reagan/Adobe aerial view of lake travis during the day with boats docked at the port

Outside of Austin is the town of Lakeway, with beautiful scenery and plenty of water sports if you enjoy them. You can swim in the waters of Lake Travis, enjoy boating, or take in the view from nearby restaurants and outposts.

But that enjoyment comes with a price. The average sale price for a home in Lakeway is $791,497, which is significantly higher than the average cost of a home in Texas. That jump could mean the difference between a home for retirees in Lakeway or a busted budget.

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Red Oak

luis/Adobe beautiful red oak tree in texas

Red Oak may be a good place to consider if you want to be close to a major city and the culture that comes with it. Its location in the southern part of Dallas-Fort Worth could be a major selling point for a move there.

But that proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth also comes with a steep price tag. Red Oak goes for an average sale price of $341,395.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is also considered the most expensive in the state, which will bump up your extra expenses like groceries, utilities, and transportation.

Pro tip: No matter where you retire, make sure to avoid making foolish money mistakes that many seniors are making so that you can afford the lifestyle you choose.

Alamo Heights

Zak Zeinert/Adobe bluebonnets blooming under a purple sky in marble falls

Near San Antonio is Alamo Heights, which is home to restaurants, boutique stores, and an art museum that residents can enjoy.

But you may not enjoy the price if you plan to retire there. The average sale price for a home in the area was $696,101, jumping 2.7% from the previous year.

Austin

Reagan/Adobe aerial view of skyscrapers in austin

Austin has become more popular in recent years as a destination for music fans or those who want to live in a hip town in Texas.

The good news is that housing prices seem to be coming down, with the current average home price sitting at $543,380, marking an 11.1% decline in year-over-year price.

So if your heart is set on Austin, it may be a good idea to keep an eye on prices and see if there’s any more room for them to go down.

Santa Fe

Liudmila/Adobe mountainous landscape paired with dark clouds in sky at santa fe trail in texas

Yes, there is a city in Texas named Santa Fe, and it could be a great place for you to consider for retirement.

The average sale price for a home is $311,333, which may be in your budget. But it’s also close to Galveston and the city's amenities, such as a beach and the water.

On the other hand, it doesn’t have the higher price tag that Galveston has if you’re looking to save a little.

Midland

Hundley Photography/Adobe vacant windmills near midland odessa texas with barren land

Western Texas is home to Midland and important Texas industries like oil and ranching. The city is also home to a performing arts center, planetarium, and George W. Bush’s childhood home.

It’s also an affordable place to retire in Texas, with an average home price of $290,109, according to Zillow.

Killeen

Lamar/Adobe vacant farm near garner state park at sun set time

Killeen is best known for its location near the Fort Cavazos military base, formerly Fort Hood. Its location to the base could make it a great place to retire if you’re a veteran.

The average price for a home in March was $226,340, making the city one of the more affordable options for those who want to retire in Texas.

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Aranas Pass

Eric/Adobe corpus christi bay with blue water and cloudy sky with green garden at the coast

Aranas Pass is located on Corpus Christi Bay but is smaller and more affordable than Corpus Christi, its neighbor on the opposite side of the bay.

As a result, the area is perfect for water activities like fishing, boating or other options you may want to pick up when you’re retired.

The city had a median sale price of $203,312 for a home in the area, which is down more than 1% compared to a year earlier, according to Zillow.

In comparison, a home in Corpus Christi cost an average price of $216,807.

Bottom line

ElenGrant/Adobe elderly female gardener using a ladder to work in the yard.

It can be hard to decide where to live if you retire early or are on a tight budget, but there are some things to keep in mind as you decide where to live next.

Remember to create a budget that includes everyday expenses like rent or a mortgage and one-time costs like traveling to help you keep more money in your bank account. You don't want to run out of money in retirement, regardless of where you end up living.

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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