If you are at least somewhat familiar with the history of the USA, you are probably aware that its cities are fairly young in comparison to major cities in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. This also holds true for Houston: being just shy of 200 years old and having experienced a number of growth spurts and booms, the city you will experience when you move to Houston is a very modern one. This may not come as a surprise, however, due to the city’s economic and technical prowess, which is what made Houston famous in the first place. Many people settle in Houston because of its status as a hub for the energy sector, medical research, and the aerospace industry.
As is typical for major cities in the USA and many other parts of the world, Houston, however large the city itself may be, boasts an even more impressive metropolitan area. In fact, in Houston, you’ll find yourself in the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the entire country. If you do not mind commuting and would like to escape the hustle and bustle that invariably comes with life in a metropolis, you might want to opt for the city’s satellite towns rather than moving to Houston proper. Keep in mind, though, that moving to the suburbs might mean spending a lot of time in your car, although other transportation options also exist. See our article on living in Houston for details.
A very clear line separates the city center from the suburbs, namely the inner city ring road, Interstate 610. Locally known simply as the Loop, this road is an important point of reference, as neighborhoods are often referred to as being either inside or outside the Loop. Inside, you will not only find the core of Houston’s business world, but also quite a few residential areas. In fact, new, high density areas have been and are being added to accommodate the growing interest in moving to Houston’s center.
If you are going to hit the beltway anytime soon, prepare for what awaits you by reading our guide on driving in the USA.
With over 80 distinct neighborhoods in Houston, every expat is sure to find his/her place in this big city. Where you’ll end up depends on your wishes. Below we have listed some of the most popular neighborhoods:
Among people moving to Houston and around the nation, the city’s housing market is renowned for being one of the most affordable among all major cities. In fact, Houston has the second-lowest cost of living among the country’s ten most populous metropolitan areas, in large part thanks to the affordable housing market. Due to a strong demand, however, it’s been unavoidable that prices have been on the rise. Nevertheless, there should be something for every taste in the range of different housing options available to expats.
If you have lived in other major cities around the world before moving to Houston, you have almost certainly been faced with the problem of available housing being scarce. In Houston, this is not as big of an issue, but it would be wise to still keep in mind that demand is high, and competition can be fierce.
Many employees are granted relocation benefits by their employer, who may also pay for a relocation company to help with the process of moving to Houston. Of course, taking matters into your own hands is also an option. If you do shop around for housing yourself, hiring the services of a reputable agency or realtor, whose knowledge of the city will no doubt prove useful, is definitely recommended in a metropolis as extensive as Houston.
Free resources are also available, many of which aim to assist expats and other newcomers in making Houston their home. The Greater Houston Partnership offers a highly useful guide at no cost on moving to Houston in both digital and print form — be sure to ask for your copy of their Houston relocation guide.
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