The Best Places to Live in Texas for Families

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Mike Romano

Jul 17, 2023

Mike Romano is a mortgage industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. His expertise spans mortgage technology, credit risk, and loan origination, and he has spoken at many mortgage and fintech conferences. He has a Bachelor's and MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and currently resides in Austin, TX. NMLS # 2515901

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    Texas is a big state, which gives you tons of options for places to live. But, if you’re moving with your family, you’re probably going to be a little more picky about your location. To help you find your way around, we did some digging to discover the best places to live in Texas for families. 

    Our list includes top-tier spots with a good mix of reasonable housing prices, quality schools, and kid-friendly activities.

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    The main barrier to moving is the upfront cost, especially if you plan to buy a home. Down payment assistance can help.

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      Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or financial advice. Please consult an attorney, mortgage lender, or CPA for guidance on your specific situation.

      Best places to live in Texas for families: The shortlist

      • Round Rock
      • Richardson
      • Coppell
      • Fulshear
      • Oak Park – Northwood

      The 5 best places to live in Texas for families: All the info

      Broadly speaking, the best and most affordable places to live in Texas for families are near Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, but not too deep in the city. The outlying areas around each of these locations give you decent access to amenities, with fewer of the downsides that come with living in the heart of a big city.

      1. Round Rock

      Round Rock is a community on the northeast side of Austin, not far from Lake Travis and the Colorado River. It’s a suburb, in relation to Austin, but the area has all the amenities you need. So frequent trips into Austin are unnecessary, but it’s not a tough drive if you need to commute.

      The schools in the area are highly rated, and there are two universities within driving distance. Additionally, the bordering town of Brushy Creek is very similar to Round Rock, if you’d like to expand your housing choices. 

      Average home price: $453,854

      Top-rated schools: 

      • Cactus Ranch Elementary (10/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • James Garland Walsh Middle School (9/10)
      • Meridian World School, K-12 charter (8/10) 

      Family activities: Rock’N River Water Park, Dell Diamond Ballpark, Kalahari Resort

      2. Richardson

      Richardson is northeast of Dallas, but decently located if you need to commute into the city for work. It’s bordered by a handful of lakes and parks (including popular Clear Lake Park), all of which offer ample opportunities for day trips. 

      The majority of elementary schools in Richardson and surrounding communities are highly-ranked (we’ve only named one in our list below, but there are several to choose from.) This includes a STEM-focused elementary school within city limits, as well as a STEM high school four miles away in Dallas. 

      For families hoping to keep older children close to home, the University of Texas, Dallas is on the west side of town. If you’re interested in the area, but maybe prefer to be a bit further from the university, Plano and Garland also offer similar communities. 

      Average home price: $448,990

      Top-rated schools:

      • Canyon Creek Elementary (9/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Richardson Classical Academy, K-8 (8/10)
      • Richland Collegiate High School of Math and Science, Dallas (9/10)

      Family activities: Heritage Farmstead Museum (Plano), Duck Creek Linear Park

      3. Coppell

      Coppell is on the northwest side of Dallas and offers a better commute if you work in the Fort Worth area. It’s near two large lakes — Grapevine Lake and Lewisville Lake — and several parks. The airport is nearby, which can be handy if you need or want to travel, but not so close that the noise is disruptive.

      Like Richardson, Coppell boasts an impressive list of top-rated schools, too many to mention here. Families moving to the area have a wide choice of public and public charter options, the majority of which are ranked at least 8/10 by GreatSchools.

      Lastly, there are a handful of well-reviewed Texas barbecue restaurants in the area, which is always a plus.

      Average home price: $618,080

      Top-rated schools: 

      • Lakeside Elementary (10/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Coppell Middle East (10/10)
      • Universal Academy Coppell, K-12 public charter (8/10)

      Family activities: Grapevine Lake, Andrew Brown Park West, Hard Eight BBQ 

      4. Fulshear

      Fulshear is located on the outskirts west of Houston, bordered almost entirely by rivers and forest land. It’s definitely a suburb, and may not offer the best commute into town. However, it comes with a more secluded feel and easy access to outdoor recreation.

      Although schools in Fulshear aren’t rated quite as highly as the other communities on our list, there are still several options that come in above average. Alternatively, the neighboring community of Katy has a number of schools rated 9/10 and 10/10. 

      Average home price: $615,052

      Top-rated schools: 

      • Huggins Elementary (6/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Dean Leaman Junior High (7/10)
      • Fulshear High School (6/10)

      Family activities: Mary Jo Peckham Park, Arbor Park at Cross Creek Ranch

      5. Oak Park – Northwood

      Oak Park is another town that’s like a suburb, but close enough to downtown San Antonio for a decent commute, with quick access to three highways. It’s near a large swath of green space, which is a combination of Olmos Basin Park, Brackenridge Park, and the San Antonio Zoo.

      Oak Park is a small community, though, and buyers frequently consider homes in the bordering neighborhoods of Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills.

      In terms of schools, Oak Park falls in the middle of the pack, with most ranking 5 or 6 out of 10 on GoodSchools. School of Science and Technology, a 6-12 charter school, is also in the area and ranks 8/10. 

      Average home price: $474,557

      Top-rated schools:

      • Cambridge Elementary (6/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Alamo Heights Junior High (6/10)
      • Alamo Heights High School (6/10)
      • School of Science and Technology, 6-12 charter (8/10)

      Family activities: San Antonio Zoo, Brackenridge Park, SeaWorld San Antonio

      How to get help buying a home for your family in Texas

      Although Texas is more affordable than many other states, the good areas in Texas to raise a family tend to be on the pricier side of the Texas housing market. This means upfront costs — closing costs and a down payment — could pose a challenge for families buying a home in Texas.

      The good news is that down payment assistance can help you cover these upfront costs. Down payment assistance programs offer loans and grants that help first-time home buyers make larger down payments and cover closing costs.

      Loans are the most common type of down payment assistance. Down payment assistance loans typically have lower interest rates and ways to pay back just part of the loan or have the loan entirely forgiven if certain criteria are met.

      Grants are similar to loans, except they don’t need to be repaid. This makes grants an excellent form of down payment assistance, but grant programs are less common than down payment assistance loans.

      Stairs can help you find down payment assistance loans and grants.

      Stairs collects information about all the down payment assistance programs you qualify for, makes it quick and easy to compare all the programs side-by-side, and connects you with a trusted lender who will help you close a sale using down payment assistance.

      Learn more about all your down payment assistance options.

      Best affordable places to live in Texas for families

      Incredible affordability comes at a price. The best affordable places to live in Texas for families are located outside the major population centers. However, they do come with their own brand of charm and beauty (and low housing costs).

      Pecos

      Average home price: $108,064

      Pecos is a small town east of El Paso. It’s a rural community, but within driving distance of a few larger towns such as Odess and Carlsbad, New Mexico.

      Breckenridge

      Average home price: $122,555

      Housing prices in Breckenridge are surprisingly low, considering the location is near Hubbard Creek Lake. It’s also less than two hours drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

      Harlingen

      Average home price: $162,841

      Harlingen is a decently affordable town in south Texas with great proximity to beaches and the larger border town of McAllen.

      Brownsville

      Average home price: $163,148

      Brownsville has quick access to a lot of coastline and even a few islands. It’s also near McAllen, though Brownsville has all the essential services.

      Odessa

      Average home price: $199,784

      Odessa is one of a collection of towns in west Texas that form a small rural community. The town is bordered by West Odessa and Midland.

      What is the safest city in Texas to raise a family?

      According to Safewise’s 9th Annual Safest Cities Report, Trophy Club is the safest city in Texas to raise a family. Trophy Club has an average of less than three crimes per 100,000 citizens, likely due to being relatively small and far from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. 

      The bottom line: Is Texas a good place to move with kids?

      Texas is a popular place to move with kids. The primary reason for this is affordability. Texas has one of the most affordable housing markets in the nation, and there are plenty of rural and suburban communities in Texas that offer families an alternative to city life and more outdoor activities.

      In addition to affordable housing, Texas also boasts a lower overall cost of living than many other states, which is a pretty big deal for families, especially those living on a single income. Texas also has no state income tax, which is another important bonus to the pocketbook. 

      When you pair the affordability and broad range of options for places to live with the family-oriented culture, Texas looks like a good place to move with kids.

      Get help moving to Texas with down payment assistance

      Moving is expensive. Add moving expenses to closing costs and a down payment, and that’s a lot of upfront costs. Down payment assistance (DPA) helps reduce these costs. You could potentially qualify for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in DPA to help you buy a home in Texas.

      The problem is that most first-time home buyers don’t even realize down payment assistance exists, because the information is hard to find and scattered across the internet.

      Until now.

      Stairs Financial brings all of this information together in one place. Stairs connects you to qualified lenders who work with down payment assistance programs, then lets you compare your options side-by-side.

      Learn more about all your down payment assistance options.

      Find up to $15,000 towards a home 🏠

      Compare local down payment assistance and find a mortgage, fast.

      Where do you want to buy?
        Search by ZIP code, address, city, county, or neighborhood
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