It Adds Up

How much Houston parents save by living in the suburbs

How much Houston parents save by living in the suburbs

Family coming out of house
Seems like the suburbs are a sound investment. Photo courtesy of Texas Health Resources

You already know it's wise to scout outside the metro borders of Houston if you're looking to stretch your housing dollar, but where should you settle if you have a family? Is living in the suburbs really the better plan?

Absolutely, says Zillow and Care.com. The two websites looked at housing (home values and property taxes) and child care costs for 30 metro areas and their surrounding suburbs, and it turns out it's not just a little more affordable to live in the Houston 'burbs — we're actually up there with Boston and Portland, Oregon, for variance between urban and suburban living.

Nationally, the Cost of Living Report shows that families spend $9,073 more a year to live in the city compared to the suburbs. For Houston, that number is $5,368. It breaks down like this: Families living in the urban parts of the Houston metro spend $33,220 a year on housing and child care. In the suburbs, they spend just $27,852. That’s an extra $450 that urban families spend every month.

Houston city dwellers are shelling out $3,954 a year more for homes that are about 264 median square feet smaller than their suburban counterparts. To rub salt in the wound, our urban commute time isn't that great: just over two median minutes shorter.

Those in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs save $14,128 by not living in the city, while Austinites can sock away $11,522 a year by settling in the 'burbs. San Antonio is the only Texas city in the study where it's cheaper to live in town: $2,474 can be saved annually.

But the study found that not all suburbs are coming out on top. Those surrounding Philadelphia will cost you $13,849 a year more to enjoy, while the urban parts of Baltimore, Cleveland, and Milwaukee are also significantly cheaper in which to raise a family.