Everything is bigger in Texas, as they say. But are rent prices?
Texas is a diverse — and enormous — state. Texans live in giant glass cities and small towns alike. They rent in dusty rural communities along farms to market roads and in massive bedroom suburbs. When you’re looking to move to, or move within, the Lone Star State, where are the cheapest places to live in Texas?
Texas average rent prices
Considering Texas has three of the 10 largest cities in the nation and more than 40 cities with populations above 100,000, you might think finding a cheap place to live would post a challenge. Thankfully, rents around the state are relatively cheap.
Just $1,276 a month on average will snag you a one-bedroom apartment statewide, from the Houston Skyline District to Throckmorton courthouse square. That figure marks just a 0.64 percent increase from this quarter last year.
The cheapest cities in Texas for renters
But what are the cheapest places to live in Texas? We studied the 190 largest cities and towns in Texas and calculated each one’s average rent for a one-bedroom apartment. Many were on the high end, including metropolises like Dallas and Austin, as well as suburbs like Plano and Pearland. But the cheapest places across the state reached every corner of Texas.
Here are the top 10 cheapest places, including rural oases, suburbs and big cities.
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $717
- Rent change in the past year: 17.39%
Beef is what’s for dinner in Amarillo. The meatpacking industry employs more Amarillians than any other. In fact, a quarter of the U.S. beef supply is processed in the region. Always an important cowboy town, Amarillo was a hub for historical mega-ranches, including the 140-year-old, still-operating JA Ranch.
Still not enough beef? Hit up Big Texan Steak Ranch restaurant for a free steak dinner. Well, it’s only free if you can finish the 72-ounce steak entrée in under an hour — otherwise, it costs $72. But even if you don’t finish, no worries. You can make up for the expense on your affordable rent. Amarillo is the cheapest place to live in the Panhandle.
But rents have beefed up in Amarillo, too, over the last year. Lease prices have increased by 17.4 percent year to year — the 16th steepest increase in Texas — but incredibly still remain the 10th lowest in the state. A one-bedroom can still be had for just $717 a month on average.
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $711
- Rent change in the past year: 1.08%
If you’re looking for a cheaper place to rent in a big Texas city, look no further than Lubbock. Lubbock is the largest city among the top 10, the 11th largest in the state and has a population of more than a quarter-million people. As well, the city also houses the campus of Texas Tech University.
Lubbock also has cotton and a lot of it. The Lubbock area is the largest cotton-producing region in the entire world. Cotton not the fabric of your life? The region also produces 80 percent of the state’s wine grapes — thanks to a unique soil composition — and offers five wineries open to the public. Come nighttime, students and locals descend on Depot District, the Hub City’s entertainment hub, featuring brewpubs, music venues, upscale restaurants, theaters and nightclubs.
Home to Buddy Holly and a Final Four college hoops team, Lubbock can also be home to you at a great price. Average rents list for just $711 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
Source: Rent.com / Vanderbilt Apartments
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $695
- Rent change in the past year: -6.86%
Clute is a Houston-area suburb with some interesting claims to fame. As recently as 90 years ago, Clute had a population of just 10 people before the chemical industry established itself. In 2010, a backhoe operator discovered a 38,000-year-old mammoth in a sandpit. And Clute hosts the annual “Great Texas Mosquito Festival” with more than 18,000 visitors each year and presumably just as many mosquitos.
The city of Clute is in a highly industrialized region of Texas along the coastal plains. Its 11,700 residents are spread between chemical manufacturing facilities and national chain retail corridors. Most of the population lives among single-family homes, but there are a number of apartment complexes dotting the city. With no true downtown to speak of, most restaurants and service businesses are along Brazosport Boulevard.
Rents in Clute have dropped nearly 7 percent over the last year, the largest decrease among the top 10 and 26th biggest in the state. The lease rate for a one-bedroom unit comes in at just less than $700 monthly on average.
7. Canyon Lake
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $640
- Rent change in the past year: 0.00%
Canyon Lake is a relatively new community built around the eponymous lake, which is actually an 8,200-acre manmade reservoir. The damming of the Guadalupe River that formed the lake in the 1960s allowed the city to develop around it. In 1980, just 100 people lived in Canyon Lake. Today, that number is well over 21,000. It’s also the cheapest place to live in Texas Hill Country.
The lake itself is one of the most popular recreational bodies of water in the San Antonio region. There are eight designated park areas around the lake, available for swimming, boating, camping and picnicking. Residential areas are scattered throughout the town along the lake’s 80 miles of shoreline and throughout the neighboring hills.
Among the city’s tourist and recreation destinations are a handful of residential rentals, which are unusually cheap considering its relaxing locale. Just $640 a month will snag you an average one-bedroom apartment.
6. Wichita Falls
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $638
- Rent change in the past year: 3.36%
Wichita Falls, the largest city in North Texas away from the DFW Metroplex, is the cheapest big city to live in Texas.
The city of 105,000 lies just 15 minutes south of the Oklahoma border. Its Red River Valley location is geographically advantageous, just two hours from both Dallas and Oklahoma City, an hour from its Sooner State sister city of Lawton and four hours down the interstate from that other Wichita in Kansas. This allows The Falls to offer the trappings of a big city but at an affordable cost of living.
Wichita Falls has a bustling downtown anchored by the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, a performing arts center and the infamous “World’s Littlest Skyscraper.” A century ago, a swindler convinced locals into investing in a 480-foot building downtown but instead received a 480-inch “skyscraper,” which still stands.
As jazz virtuoso Pat Metheny sang in his 21-minute opus, “As falls Wichita, so falls Wichita Falls.” But even with rents not falling (up 3.36 percent year to year), rents are still minuscule. An average one-bedroom apartment rents for just $638 a month.
Source: Rent.com / Pioneer Crossing Henrietta Senior Community
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $619
- Rent change in the past year: 0.00%
At the edge of the Chickasaw Nation just south of the Oklahoma border, Henrietta is the second-largest suburb in the Wichita Falls Region. This North Texas city of 3,100 is one of the oldest towns in the Red River Valley region, dating back to the pre-Civil War era.
The city’s grid system is highly residential, radiating out from the center of the town surrounding the Clay County Courthouse downtown. The commercial and retail heart of Henrietta is in this area and along nearby Omega Street, the city’s main street. The 1890 Jail Museum and Heritage Center is a block from the Courthouse.
The largest city in Clay County, Henrietta is an affordable Wichita Falls bedroom community. Rents here are the lowest in North Texas, with a one-bedroom apartment leasing for only $619 monthly on average.
4. Bay City
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $611
- Rent change in the past year: 0.28%
At the intersection of Texas routes 60 and 35, Bay City is an important stop between Houston and Corpus Christi. Just a half-hour south of town lies the Matagorda Bay along the Gulf of Mexico, the city’s namesake body of water. The Colorado River of Texas, the longest within the state, runs from west of Bay City to the Gulf.
In the heart of oil country, Bay City is home to a multi-billion dollar seamless-pipe mill manufacturing parts for the drilling industry. The city of nearly 18,000 features two museums, a regional airport and a popular downtown. Bay City’s downtown revitalization project has helped open a bevy of western shops, quaint stores, restaurants, cafés and apartment houses, particularly around the County Courthouse Square.
It won’t take you much to roll into Bay City to live. The lease price for a one-bedroom runs a sparse $611 a month on average.
Source: Rent.com / Lancaster Living Apartments
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $599
- Rent change in the past year: 0.00%
Texas is full of massive metropolises, large suburbs, mid-sized plains cities and small isolated towns. Moulton is most certainly the last. The town of fewer than 900 residents lies 90 minutes from both San Antonio and Austin and about two hours from Houston in Lavaca County.
Nearly all of Moulton is residential land of single-family homes. However, a number of small businesses lie off of Lavaca Drive on the east side of town. Several restaurants and cafés radiate from the intersection of Main Street and West Moore Avenue.
Not many live in the town of fewer than 400 households, but those who rent, do so on the cheap. The average rent for a one-bedroom unit is just a buck less than $600.
Source: Rent.com / The Residence at Wolfforth
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $573
- Rent change in the past year: 0.00%
With a population of just more than 3,600, Wolfforth is small, but it’s the cheapest place to live in the South Plains. The largest suburb of Lubbock, Wolfforth lies just a convenient 15 minutes from Texas Tech University.
Much of the small town’s commerce lies around its three interchanges with the U.S. Route 63/82 freeway. A number of big box stores, restaurant chains and an athletic park line the highway. A new housing development is under construction just off the northernmost exit.
Wolfforth’s convenience into Lubbock and TTU makes it a perfect, affordable rental spot for Red Raider students and staff alike. The rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Wolfforth lists for just $573 a month on average.
- Average one-bedroom rent price: $543
- Rent change in the past year: 4.14%
Several of the most expensive cities in Texas to live fall within the greater Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. But bucking the trend is Greenville, the largest city in suburban Hunt County. Just an hour northeast of downtown Dallas, Greenville is a commuter’s paradise. It’s a cheap place to rent, while still a convenient distance both to work and entertainment, but removed from the bustle of both Big D and crowded North Texas mega-suburbs like Plano and Irving.
But Greenville is not just some sleepy suburb either. The bedroom community contains a major defense contractor complex, a 50-arrival-per-day general aviation airport, a downtown winery, a vintage theater and a large waterpark. And formerly known as the “Cotton Capital of the World,” it also features the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum.
Greenville offers convenience to the best of big city life while maintaining its small-town feel. But it’s also the cheapest place to live in Texas and the second cheapest in the nation. Despite a rise of more than 4percent in the last year, the average rent for a one-bedroom is a steal at just $543 a month.
The 25 cheapest places to live in Texas
The 25 cheapest places to live in Texas spread out all around the state, from the High Plains to the Piney Woods to Big Bend. The good news is more than 20 cities in Texas have average one-bedroom rents of less than $800.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. We pulled our data in December 2020, and it goes back for one year. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
We excluded cities with insufficient inventory from this report.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.