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San Antonio Cost of Living: What You Need To Know

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Apart from the fact that this vibrant city has a rich culture, delicious food, and romantic river walk, San Antonio’s cost of living is more affordable than most cities in the United States. 

So what makes it so affordable? In this article, we review the costs of accommodation, tax, transport, education, food, and healthcare to give you a holistic understanding of the cost of living in San Antonio.

San Antonio Cost Of Living

Renting

Accommodation options in San Antonio are in abundance.

Although there’s been a meteoric increase in housing costs since March 2020, San Antonio still remains affordable compared to the larger cities.

Before the turn of the new decade, the average rent for a local apartment outside the city would have cost just over 900$, but it’s since increased to just over $1,100 per month. This works out to an approximate 19.5% increase and $1.30 per square foot.

Renting in the city center is more expensive and goes for anywhere between $1,350 and $2,500 per month. 

While increasing for-sale prices and rental costs are making it more difficult for residents to find affordable housing, apartments are being leased faster than they can be built. If you are planning on moving to San Antonio, you should make sure you have your accommodation sorted before you arrive.

Buying in San Antonio

If you can afford to buy a home, it’s the best investment you can make for your family and the generations that follow. 

Recent estimates place the median price of a family home in San Antonio at just under $300,000. This number continues to increase as properties gain value and housing becomes more scarce, so it’s important to get in early.

With the right agent, you’ll be able to swoop up the house you’ve had your eye on, so it’s best to do a little research. Some good places to start are eXp Realty, Galleon Group, or Keller Williams Heritage.

Best Suburbs to Buy a House in San Antonio

Windcrest

Based in Bexar County, Windcrest is one of the best places to live in Texas. 

The feel is a little rural, but you can enjoy all the amenities of modern living. There are plenty of parks in Windcrest and its public schools are above average, making it a great place for a family.

  • Population – 5,800
  • Median home value – $200,000
  • Median rent – $1,100

Castle Hills 

Castle Hills is also based in Bexar County, so it has a similar feel to Windcrest. It’s a comfortable mix of urban and suburban with bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, and above-average public schools.

  • Population – 4,400
  • Median home value – $300,000
  • Median rent – $1,000

Olmos Park

Olmos Park has a suburban feel with parks, restaurants, coffee shops, and great public schools.

  • Population – 1,800
  • Median home value – $736,700
  • Median rent – $870

Terrell Hills 

Terrel Hill has a rural feel punctuated with coffee shops, parks, and bars. The residents are friendly and welcoming and their schools are some of the best in the state.

  • Population – 5,400
  • Median home value – $620,000
  • Median rent – $1,900

Property Tax

Bear in mind that property taxes in San Antonio can take a bite out of your budget as the average in Texas is 1.83% of the property’s value.

The property tax rate for the City of San Antonio is made up of maintenance and operations tax (M&O) and debt service. You must understand these calculations before buying, as they could easily add up unexpected costs if you’re not careful. 

These two tax rate components combined provide for a total tax rate of 55.827 cents per $100 of taxable value.

Exemptions 

The city of San Antonio offers property tax exemptions for qualifying property owners.

People with a residence homestead are entitled to a $5,000 exemption of the valuated assessment of their home.

Property owners aged 65 or older qualify for a special exemption. This exemption is capped at $65,000 of taxable valuation.

Additional Costs to Consider

The overall San Antonio cost of living is 14 % less than the national average. The cost of living will differ based on factors like the size of your family and real estate costs 

Now that you have an idea of what your housing and transport costs might look like, you need to consider other expenses like groceries and gas. These types of expenses vary significantly from state to state, so it’s important to factor them in.

Food

The average cost of food in San Antonio is approximately $265 monthly and families with kids need to budget for at least $600 per month. There are some great cost-effective grocery stores you could shop to stay within your budget, like H-E-B.

Healthcare 

When you move to another state, you’ll need to look for a new doctor

As soon as you settle, get yourself acquainted with the people and the new city so that they can help you out with all the local information.

Healthcare in San Antonio is 9% lower than the national average and visits to your local practitioners will cost as follows:

  • A doctor’s visit – $100
  • Dentist visit – $ 85
  • Optometrist visit – $95
  • Rx Drug – $400

Of course, it’s not just you and your kids that you need to consider. Moving with pets can be massively stressful, and it helps to know what costs to expect before you leave. The average vet visit runs just under $50, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank.

Safety

San Antonio has a moderate crime rate. Unfortunately, crime in San Antonio is on the rise over the last few years. According to the San Antonio Police Department, the total number of violent crimes is increasing year over year. So as in any new city, it’s best to be vigilant and take precautions. 

Consider investing in a home alarm system. This could cost you anything from $15 monthly for an easy DIY installation to $30 monthly for an advanced smart system.

Schools

San Antonio has an array of great public schools, but if you’re looking to go private, annual fees will take a large chunk out of your budget.

Average private school annual tuition in San Antonio are as follows:

  • Lower school tuition $24,210
  • Middle school tuition $26,270
  • Upper school tuition $27,710

Long-distance Moving Cost 

For an easier time during your move, it would be wise to call on the pros. Professional movers can pack your entire home or office if you need, it or just help finish last-minute boxing. And if you need storage units, no problem, many offer this service as well.  

Movers also provide you with accurate costs to calculate your move so that it works with your San Antonio cost of living budget. It’s just peace of mind, and they take the best care of your items and ensure that they arrive safely and on time. 

One of the biggest reasons many people move to San Antonio is that they have no state income tax. The Texas Constitution prohibits personal income taxes. Instead of collecting income taxes, Texas relies on high sales and use taxes. 

San Antonio’s current sales tax rate is 8.250% and distributed as follows: 

Sales and Use Tax 

  • 1% City of San Antonio;
  • 0.125% dedicated to the City of San Antonio Ready to Work Program;
  • 0.125% dedicated to the City of San Antonio Pre-K 4 SA initiative;
  • 0.25% San Antonio ATD (Advanced Transportation District);
  • 0.5% San Antonio MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority);
  • 6.25% State of Texas 

Utilities 

In San Antonio basic utility costs like water, electricity, garbage, heating, and cooling in a 915ft apartment could cost you around $175 a month. 

You also need to include other considerations. Internet 60 Mb/s could cost around $70 depending on your service provider. 

Transportation 

Gas in San Antonio costs you around $1,64 per gallon, which is on the low side. Insurance will add another $150 a month to your vehicle expenses. 

The average commute time by car is about 25 minutes, but there are many drivers on the road, so you can expect to hit traffic.

The traffic often comes to a standstill during rush hour due to constant construction. You might think of opting for public transport to work around this, but it’s not necessarily that easy. 

Public transportation in San Antonio is limited as there’s no metro system in the city. The bus system is called VIA Metropolitan Transit and it includes 89 bus lines as well as a downtown streetcar. The service is inexpensive and you can buy day passes online. 

Approximate fares: 

  • 31 Day Pass – $40
  • 7- Day Pass – $15
  • Day pass – $3
  • Semester Pass – $40
  • Annual Pass – $365
  • Regular bus – $1.30
  • Express Bus Service $2.60 

Fares differentiate between the different tickets. VIA offers reduced fares and passes for students, seniors, active-duty U.S. military, medicare recipients, and children between 5 and 13. 

Children 4 and under ride free.  

Making a Living in San Antonio 

The average household income in San Antonio is approximately $4,400 a month, based on the 2019 census. Looking a little deeper, the median earnings for women is $36,700 and the median earning for men is $41,600 annually.

San Antonio is not only a large tourist attraction, but its tech and finance industries are thriving.

There are plenty of job opportunities in San Antonio, and many employers pay a fair wage.

Some of the biggest industries hiring in San Antonio include banking, oil, and gas working, education, and medical sector work. San Antonio houses some of the biggest players in the nation in their respective fields, so competition can be stiff.

If you have the right qualifications and experience, there will be many opportunities open for you in San Antonio. It’s also a good place to go if you’re looking to get your foot in the door at a large corporation, as there are many entry-level positions available.

Conclusion

Relocating is a big step and therefore all aspects of the new city and the cost to get there need to be well thought out.

The cost of living in San Antonio is reasonable and having a plan will ensure that you get through it without any unwanted surprises.

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