Texas Best City - Dallas vs Austin Where to Live in 2023

When comparing Dallas vs Austin, both cities share one thing—they stand out as Texas' most desirable destinations.

Locals and transplants from other states all desire to own a piece of the real estate that characterizes the exquisite neighborhoods the two cities offer. Buoyed by rapid growth, the city of Austin has gained value exponentially in recent years. Likewise, Dallas has experienced a significant increase in premium real estate.

For buyers looking to invest in a market that offers plenty of growth opportunities deciding which metropolitan city is most suitable can be a dilemma. You have come to the right place, as this article will discuss what living is like between Dallas and Austin.

If you've already decided which Texas City best suits your lifestyle, contact us today and we'll help you make your next real estate transaction a success.

Job Market

You will likely need a job before settling on a place to stay. With that in mind, both Dallas and Austin have outdone the rest of the country in employment opportunities. The tech industry in particular has played a major role in fueling both cities’ rapid growth.

In terms of employment, Austin was ranked 23rd out of the 180 largest U.S. metropolitan areas even after the economy took a beating from the Covid-19 pandemic. This was on the back of an over 25% job growth in the last 10 years.

The same rankings placed Dallas 112th, and though it hovers around the middle of the employer pack, the city still has plentiful job opportunities. Home to over 1,000 corporate headquarters, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in particular features one of the largest concentrations of company headquarters in America.

Additionally, the DFW metropolitan area is home to two major airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which both create plenty of job opportunities in the area as well as nearby offices. Other top employers that call the DFW home include:

  • Verizon
  • Texas Instruments
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Lockheed Martin

These many options add to the variety of jobs available for DFW residents.

Many companies also call Austin home with notable corporate residents including Google, Amazon, and Facebook. What's more, the headquarters of Elon Musk's Tesla Motors was recently established in Austin. Along with Charles Schwab and Whole Foods, the bulk of Austin's major companies specializes in the tech industry.

Housing Costs

Both Austin and Dallas markets feature diverse homes in swanky downtown areas, hipster neighborhoods, as well as simple family-friendly spots. Bearing in mind that the city of Dallas is much larger than Austin is, you'd expect the housing costs to be higher. Not the case.

Dallas real estate tends to be more affordable than Austin. According to recent data, the median home cost in Dallas is $259,800 while the same in Austin is $551,200. With a median home cost that is 112% higher in Austin, housing contributes the biggest factor in the housing costs difference.

Buyers are also likely to find newer constructions in Austin real estate than in Dallas. That said, the age of a home contributes significantly to the higher or lower prices depending on the city and respective neighborhoods.

  Dallas Austin USA
Median Home Cost $259,800 $551,200 $291,700
Median Home Age 42 31 41
Average Rent $1,662 $1,730 $1,681
Homes Owned 36.5% 41.4% 56.2%
Rented Homes 52.9% 50.3% 31.6%

For example, Downtown Austin has the highest concentration of homes for sale among Austin neighborhoods. The bulk of the housing inventory comprises condos that have a median sale price of $500,000. Meanwhile, the affluent neighborhood of Preston Hollow makes up the bulk of the housing inventory in Dallas. A sizable single-family home has a median listing price of $1,050,000. More affordable options in the mid $100s range are available in neighborhoods such as South Dallas and Pleasant Grove.

For those who prefer to rent, an apartment in Dallas has an average rent of $1,662 while a similar one in Austin costs $1,730. With that in mind, Dallas offers the preferred destination for budget-minded buyers searching for a home whose value will continuously increase.

Cost of Living

With a cost of living index of 101, Dallas is relatively inexpensive compared to other metropolitan cities in the country. Relative to Texas, it's 28.1% more expensive to live in Austin than it is to live in Dallas. Cost of Living Index Dallas Austin Difference Food & Groceries 99.1 96.7 2.4% less Transportation 117.1 109.9 6.1% less Utilities 100 99.1 0.9% less Health 98.1 101.6 3.6% more Overall Index 101 129.4 28.1% more

Cost of Living Index Dallas Austin Difference
Food & Groceries 99.1 96.7 2.4% less
Transportation 117.1 109.9 6.1% less
Utilities 100 99.1 0.9% less
Health 98.1 101.6 3.6% more
Overall Index 101 129.4 28.1% more

Crime Rate

The bigger a city is, the more crime it tends to experience. The first thing that comes to mind when comparing the crime rate in Dallas vs Austin is the fact that Austin's murder rate has hit a 10-year high. But does this mean Austin is more crime-prone than Dallas is? According to the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System, the crime rate in Austin sits in the middle of 21-cities of similar size.

In 2019, 79,931 crimes were committed within Austin's city limits. The bigger city of Dallas reported 95,428 crimes in the same period. Note that, the Dallas population of 1.3 million people outnumbers Austin's population of 1 million people. Based on their size, we can conclude that the crime rate in both cities evens outs.

Transportation Network

With the bulk of commuters using personal vehicles to move around, both Dallas and Austin are largely car-centric cities. According to recent data, Dallas has one of the worst commute times in Texas at 26.7 minutes. At 24.8 minutes of commute time, Austin ranks #9 among Texas' worst commutes. As for mass transit, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system operates a network of buses, light rails, streetcars, and trolleys within the city borders extending to the suburbs.

Meanwhile, Austin's CapMetro system includes Metro Rail trains and buses linking downtown Austin with suburbs such as Leander. Austin is also popular for its scooter-share and bike-share programs. Some of the options that serve Austinites on the move include Jump Bikes, B-Cycle, Lime, and Bird. Citing resistance from local businesses and residents, Dallas forage into bike-sharing hasn't been as successful.

With an emphasis on serving major destinations, the Austin transit system doesn't have to cover as much ground as Dallas' considering its smaller size. Meanwhile, the Dallas transportation system leans heavily on personal vehicles, with mass transit primarily focused on a few destinations across the DFW Metroplex.

Spectator Sports

While both cities offer spectator sports fans plenty to cheer, Dallas pips Austin for its many professional teams. Besides hosting world-class events such as the World Series and Super Bowl, the DFW Metroplex is home to several pro teams including Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, FC Dallas, and Dallas Mavericks.

Austin tends to focus more on college sports, with the University of Texas football team being a major draw. In case you're wondering, professional sports fans in the Texas capital city love to barrack for the Austin FC and the Round Rock Express.

Where to Shop

Shopping is a sport for shopping enthusiasts in Dallas. Whether it's a budget- and family-friendly spree or shopping for luxury brands, shoppers will discover an array of retail adventures. Top shopping destinations in the Big D include Highland Park Village, NorthPark Center, and Galleria Dallas. Meanwhile, smaller gems in neighborhoods such as Knox/Henderson and the Design District, ensures there's no shortage of places in Dallas where you can enjoy a shop-till-you-drop experience.

Austin also has its fair share of retail therapy. Several neighborhoods such as 6th and Lamar, SoCo, and 2nd Street District offer a mix of locally-owned shops and eclectic and high-fashion destinations. Some of the best shopping malls in Austin include The Arboretum at Great Hills and the high-end Barton Creek Square.

For those looking to snag a unique gift, you may want to hunt down Austin's shopping treasures such as Allens Boots, Uncommon Objects, and Sunroom among others. From high-end home goods to eclectic gift shops, the shopping scene in Austin is everything you want it to be—extravagant, weird, and a little more than necessary.

Vibrant Nightlife

If a night on the town is more your speed, Austin is known for its vibrant nightlife. To the delight of music lovers, the city classically referred to as the Live Music Capital of the World features over 250 live music venues that offer every genre of music you can imagine. From grown-up getaways to adult fun, the entire 6th Street District is known for its enthralling entertainment options.

Dallas equally has its fair share of entertainment venues such as the Deep Ellum neighborhood that attracts artists of all genres. The Texas Live complex in Arlington also features several bars and restaurants where local and visiting bands entertain the crowds. Though Austin edges out Dallas as the live music capital of Texas, the Big D features more sports-themed hangouts and bars.

Local Schools

Both Dallas and Austin boast outstanding schools. Three Dallas-area high schools were recognized in the U.S. News list of top 10 high schools in Texas. However, only one Austin school appeared in the top 10 list.

Rank School Location
1 School for the Talented & Gifted Dallas
2 Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School                 Dallas
3 Science & Engineering Magnet School (SEM)  Dallas
4 Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA)  Austin
5 Carnegie Vanguard High School Houston

For higher educational pursuits, the Dallas area comprises 37 colleges and universities including the University of Dallas and Southern Methodist University. Meanwhile, Austin has only 15 colleges. But its flagship campus, the University of Texas at Austin (UTA), offers Austin a more "college town" reputation than Dallas does. UTA is also one of the largest and highest-ranked universities in the U.S, with their football team, the Longhorns, boasting a cult-like following.


Dallas tends to be more of a business-oriented type city. It’s more refined and upscale while Austin tends to be laid back, funky, fun, and with a hip vibe. Dallas is also known to be more materialistic—at least that's the perception the city has across the country. But when it comes down to it, it will all depend on the type of vibe that you're looking for.

If you want to color your hair pink or tattoo yourself from head to toe, Austin will be more welcoming as no judging eyes will gape at you in the streets. What’s more, there’s a slogan in Austin that says keep Austin weird and Austinites are true to that.

Closing Thoughts

Buyers who focus more on value for their investment and a larger space should consider Dallas as the ideal destination. For those who don't mind paying extra for an easier commute to work or school along with a wide array of entertainment options, Austin offers a better fit. If any city in Texas fits your ideal destination criteria, get in touch with our Texas-savvy agents and we'll help you own your dream home.

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