Price Check National Edition

5 houses in Houston, Texas, where everything's bigger and a little cheaper

This three-bedroom, two-bath house was built in 1970 and is in Houston's Spring Branch neighborhood.

CB Realty

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Texas's most populous city is in the doghouse with New Yorkers this month after the Astros knocked the Yankees out of the American League Championship Series—unless you're a Mets fan, in which case you were spared the indignity of a Yankees/Nationals World Series.

But there's more to Houston than baseball—a lot more, considering it's a sprawling city of 2.3 million, with a low cost of living to boot. Like Austin, Houston's got a thriving job market, but the cost of living is also about 13 percent cheaper, which can make it a tempting Lone Star State alternative. Houston's less restrictive zoning laws make it an attractive spot to start a business, and there are also a ton of jobs in the medical and energy industries, as well as aviation and aerospace.

There's a great food scene here—while Houston doesn't have the same foodie reputation as Dallas or Austin, the barbecue in town is pretty incredible, with standouts like Killen's, Gatlin's, and Jackson Street BBQ holding down the fort. Barbecue aside, Houston's got a diverse collection of eateries, cocktail, and dive bars. Keep in mind that Houston's a big driving city, so do be sure to have a designated driver if you're imbibing.

It's a surprisingly big running city, with spots like Memorial Park, Hermann Park, and Rice University hosting throngs of would-be marathoners. There's also a walkable Museum District, with standouts like the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. And the sports scene in Houston is super fun, with those Astros, the Houston Rockets, the Texans, and college sports at Rice University and the University of Houston. 

And of course, there's the housing—according to Zillow, Houston's got a median listing price of $289,000, and though that fluctuates depending on how far out you live from Downtown (the city's main hub is located inside "the Inner Loop," and everything outside of it's a little less expensive), you can still find a lot more space and better deals than you might in Manhattan. If any of that sounds appealing to you, here's a taste of what's out there.

CB Realty

2003 Eaglerock Dr., Spring Branch

Spring Branch is located just outside the Inner Loop, making it a slightly more affordable spot, and popular with young families in search of a first buy thanks to its proximity to Houston's main hub. This three-bedroom, two-bath house, also pictured top, has a white cabinet-filled kitchen, a marble fireplace, and a big master suite with double sinks and whirlpool tub. Other highlights include a nice-sized yard and carpeted flooring. The house is priced at $369,966.

 

Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty

1701 Fairview Ave., Montrose

This three-bedroom, three-bath property in Houston's hip Montrose neighborhood was built in 1930, and has vintage touches like original hardwood and red painted trim. Other highlights include a spacious open concept living/dining area, an updated kitchen with what looks like tin backsplash and stainless steel appliances, and a side deck and yard. Montrose is considered one of Houston's best neighborhoods, thanks to its  artsy vibe and vintage properties. The house is priced at $689,000.

 

RE/MAX Top Realty

2000 Bagby St., Apt. 5400., Midtown

If you're looking for a slightly more urban feel, this one-bedroom, two-bath condo in Houston's Midtown neighborhood has floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed ducts, and a sleeping loft, in addition to a modern kitchen  with stainless steel appliances and a private terrace. The building itself has a rooftop pool and hot tub, along with a lounge area with great views. Midtown is an easy commute to downtown, and stocked with great bars and restaurants. The unit is priced at $350,000.

 

Champions Real Estate Group

105 N Super St., Second Ward

This four-bedroom, three-bath house in the Second Ward has an open-concept kitchen with quartz countertops, a four-burner cooktop, and a sleek eat-in island. Other highlights include an updated master bath, a cozy porch, and a new air-conditioning system and roof. The Second Ward is a hip neighborhood filled with funky bars and eateries, and is popular with millennials and young families. The house is priced at $379,950.

 

Hometown America Incorporated

619 Winston Ln., Sugar Land

Sugar Land is a suburb of Houston, which makes it an ideal and cost-effective spot for families looking for more space close to the city. This four-bedroom, four-bath house is 3,365 square feet, and comes with front and back yards, hardwood floors, light-filled rooms, and bay windows. Other highlights include an elegant formal dining room, a big kitchen with granite countertops, and walk-in closets in every bedroom. The house is priced at $402,000.