The 5 Best Places to Retire in Texas, Based on Taxes, Amenities, and More

By Lindsay Stefan

Posted on August 22nd, 2022

Texas Retirement Taxes | Texas Health Care | Price to Income Ratio in Texas | How to Choose a Texas City for Retirement | The 5 Best Places to Retire in Texas | Alternatives | Tips for Selling Your Current Home | Methodology

Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas

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Retirees are streaming into the Lone Star state. Texas has the fourth-highest net migration of retirees in the nation, according to 2020 U.S. Census data, and it’s easy to see why.

Texas offers a colorful and vibrant culture, low taxes, and a wide variety of atmospheres to choose from, whether you’re looking for a cozy little border town like Corpus Christi, or a bustling, growing city like Austin. Of all the places to settle into retirement in Texas, it wasn’t easy to narrow the choices down to just five.

We evaluated the best Texas cities for retirees according to publicly available data on:

  • Local tax rates

  • Health care quality and accessibility

  • Home values

  • Cost of living

Then, we ranked the top five according to how ideal they are for retirees. Learn more about our methodology.

Whether you’re deciding on a city in Texas or you’re hoping to find a good retirement community in a specific city, you’ll need some insider perspective — something hard to get if you don’t currently live nearby.

If you're looking for a local realtor who can provide on-the-ground insights into Texas's best retirement cities, our friends at Clever Real Estate can help. Clever offers a free service that matches you with the best real estate agents from Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century21, and other top-rated brokers.

In Texas, you can get up to 0.5% cash back after closing — just for finding a fantastic real estate agent through Clever! And if you need to sell your current home, Clever can introduce you to local agents who work for pre-negotiated listing fees of just 1%. The average Clever seller saves $9,000!

👋 Meet the best real estate agents in Texas’s top retirement cities today!

Texas Taxes for Retirees

Texas is a low-tax state. In fact, the Tax Foundation recently ranked it 14th in the nation for low taxes. And the tax situation is even better for retirees.

Texas doesn’t have any state income, inheritance, or estate taxes. Social Security isn’t taxed, and neither are retirement distributions like 401(k), IRA, or pensions.

While Texas has no state property tax, local property taxes are high – the seventh-highest in the nation.

To offset this, residents 65+ years old can claim an additional $10,000 exemption for their primary residences. This is on top of the myriad of other tax exemptions available to Texan homeowners, like the Residence Homestead exemption of up to $40,000 for anyone with a primary residence.

Sales tax can also be a burden at 6.25%. However, most necessities like groceries, over-the-counter medicines, and prescription medications are not subject to sales tax.

Texas Health Care

Texas’s health care system isn’t highly regarded (ranking 40th out of the 50 states in a recent study), but health care is fairly affordable and widely available for most Medicare recipients.

The average monthly Medicare Advantage premium is only $10.68, and the lowest monthly premium is $6.90 for a stand-alone prescription drug plan. Texas offers 111.3 Medicare providers per 100,000 residents. In total, there are 31,881 Medicare providers in the state.

Price-to-Income (PTI) Ratio in Texas

Price-to-income is a formula used to determine an area’s affordability based on home prices and household income. The number represents the number of years of income it would take to have enough to buy a house.

The PTI ratio generally recommended for affordability is 2.6 or lower.

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The average PTI in Texas is 4.9 – so the average Texas resident would have to work nearly five years in order to afford a home. That means it's difficult for the average person to buy a house in the state, but is more affordable than many other states.

Here's how we calculated this number:

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How to Choose the Best Place to Retire in Texas

Every person is unique, so you might be looking for a very different environment than another retiree. Whether you’re looking for the best health care or plenty of outdoor activities, we’ve put together a list to help you narrow down your choices.

  • 💰 On a budget? Check out Corpus Christi for its low housing costs.

  • 🏥 Want the best health care? Austin has access to tons of grade-A hospitals.

  • 👭 Looking to meet people? Corpus Christi has the highest percentage of residents 60+ years old on this list.

  • 🎉 Like going out? Austin is a world-class arts city and offers tons of things to do for people of all ages.

  • ☀️ Want great weather? Dallas and Austin offer some of the most consistently moderate weather in Texas.

  • 🏅 Looking for the best overall city to retire to in Texas? Austin may be expensive, but it offers the best all-around experience for retirees.

Buying a house in a different city or state can be tough when you aren’t familiar with the local market. A good local real estate agent will know the market front-to-back and can help you find the perfect neighborhood and home for you.

Our friends at Clever Real Estate make it simple to find the best Texas real estate agents from top-rated brokerages such as Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and more. Their fully licensed concierge team will learn about your preferences and goals to connect you with the right agents for your specific needs.

Get matched with local real estate agents today!

The Best Places to Retire in Texas

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1. Austin

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Austin is one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S., and it also happens to be a great choice for retirees.

Known as a great arts city, Austin offers a dizzying variety of recreation options — earning it a perfect 100 out of 100 recreation score. It has the most performing arts spaces, flea markets, botanical gardens, music venues, art classes, tours, and hiking options per capita of any city on this list.

It has a number of lakes within the city, including Lady Bird Lake in the heart of downtown, where you can rent boats and kayaks while enjoying city views.

Austin has the best retirement homes in Texas and the most high-quality hospitals per 100,000 residents, so you’ll have access to great health care with little worry about capacity.

Home values are high in Austin after years of steep growth, but utility costs are relatively low, and you get a lot for your money. Home to the University of Texas-Austin, the city has excellent walkability, so it’s easy and pleasant to get around, whether you’re going to an art class or just taking a walk to watch the sunset.

2. Houston

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Houston is a sprawling, diverse city and home to giant oil, gas, aerospace, medical, and tech companies. It’s a thriving metropolis with the highest population of any city in Texas (and the South in general).

The city has the highest count of art galleries, museums, bingo halls, and stadiums of any city on this list, so however you like to spend your free time, you’ll have plenty of options in Houston.

Houston is also incredibly affordable, with the second-lowest average home value on our list (right behind Corpus Christi). Houston home values actually increased less than the U.S. average over the past decade.

Utilities are very cheap, and Houston offers the second-lowest average cost of a meal for two on this list. All in all, the cost of living is incredibly reasonable.

The city also has the highest walkability score of any city on this list, even exceeding pedestrian-friendly Austin.

3. Dallas

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Dallas rivals Houston for its plentiful recreation and easy walkability, but it really shines in the realm of health care.

It has a staggering 26 high-quality hospitals per 100,000 residents – far more than the other cities on this list – so you’ll have no trouble accessing good medical care.

Home values here are in the middle of the pack for cities on this list, but Dallas has the lowest property taxes.

Dallas offers a ton of recreation and entertainment options for retirees. The city has the highest-rated amenities like senior centers, movie theaters, and stadiums (home to some of the most successful teams in the country) on our list, as well as many options for tours and golf.

If you retire in Dallas, you’ll never be bored.

4. San Antonio

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Even though San Antonio is a pretty large tourist destination because of its wide array of historical sites, museums, universities, cultural festivals, and amusement parks (including SeaWorld), it’s actually very affordable.

Home values have appreciated the least of any city on this list, and San Antonio offers the second-lowest property tax rate, too. Translation: it’s easy to buy into the housing market here, and you won’t have a lot of expenses as a homeowner.

If San Antonio has a major drawback, it’s that it has the lowest walkability score on this list — though public transportation is very affordable, with a monthly pass priced at a very reasonable $38.

5. Corpus Christi

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Even though it’s the smallest city and ranks fifth on this list, Corpus Christi is an excellent all-around choice for retirees.

It has the highest percentage of over-60-year-old residents on this list, so there’s a large and thriving community of retirees already in place.

On top of that, it’s one of the cheapest cities in Texas with the lowest cost of living. It has the lowest average home value on this list and a market that, after a decade of gradual appreciation, looks to be primed for growth. Public transportation here is also the cheapest of any city on this list.

Corpus Christi punches far above its weight class when it comes to recreation, too. Per capita, it has the most golf options, art galleries, bingo halls, and senior centers, and the second-most art classes, flea markets, and botanical gardens.

The city is in last place on our top five list because of one big shortcoming: there are zero 4- and 5-star rated in-network Medicare hospitals per 100,000 residents in a 50-mile radius.

Not Sold on Texas? Consider These Alternatives

Sarasota, Florida. Sarasota is the best city for retirees in Florida, which means it may be the best retiree city in the U.S. It has a huge retiree community, great walkability and affordability, and excellent health care options.

Phoenix, Arizona. Come for the dry heat; stay for the steadily climbing home values. Phoenix offers endless recreation for retirees, and great health care quality and access.

Hilton Head, South Carolina. This small island paradise offers historic architecture, amazing golf courses and beaches, and a sizable retiree community.

Need to Sell Your Current Home?

Selling a home, moving, and buying a new home involves spending a lot of your hard-earned money at once — something that can particularly affect new retirees who are just cashing in on their retirement fund.

Our friends at Clever Real Estate have already negotiated with Texas's best realtors to give you low listing fees of just 1% (a fraction of the standard 3%). In fact, the average Clever customer saves $9,000 on their home sale! That’s thousands back in your pocket to help you cover moving expenses, splurge on your grandkids, or simply save for a rainy day.

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Methodology

Home Bay compared 5 popular Texas cities across a number of metrics, listed below. Each metric was normalized and then graded on a 100-point scale. The combined weighted average of the scores determined the “retirement city” score upon which the final ranking was based.

The metrics used are as follows:

  • Percent of the metro area population that is 60 years and older (18.52%)

  • Count of 5- & 4-star Medicare in-network hospitals in 50-mile radius per 100K residents (14.81%)

  • Estimated median annual property tax rate (14.81%)

  • Walkability score (14.81%)

  • Average Yelp Star Rating of Retirement Homes in the Metro (11.11%)

  • Normalized score of recreational activities based on number of options per capita and average star rating on Yelp (11.11%)

  • Seasonal weather score based on highest average winter temperatures and lowest average summer temperatures for each metro (7.41%)

  • Percent increase in typical single-family home values (2012–2022) (7.41%)

  • Monthly cost of internet (3.70%)

  • Monthly cost of basic utilities for a 915 sq. ft. apartment (3.70%)

  • Cost of a meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant (3.70%)

  • Cost of a monthly public transit pass (3.70%)

Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Census American Community Survey, US National Centers for Environmental Information, Tax Policy Center, AARP, Zillow, Yelp, Walkscore, & Numbeo.

About Home Bay

Where your real estate voyage begins. Since 2014, Home Bay has helped thousands of readers confidently sail through their next home sale or purchase. In 2021, Home Bay was acquired by Clever Real Estate, a free agent-matching service that has helped consumers save more than $82 million on real estate fees. Research by Home Bay's Data Center has been cited by The New York Times, CNBC, MarketWatch, NPR, Apartment Therapy, Yahoo Finance, Black Enterprise, and more.

Recommended Reading

Frequently Asked Questions About Retiring in Texas

What are the cheapest cities in Texas?

Wichita Falls is the cheapest city in Texas to buy a house, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Check out our list of the five best places to retire in Texas.

What are the least humid cities in Texas?

The least humid cities in Texas are Leary and Red Lick, according to USA.com. As far as large cities go, Houston is the least humid, with only 73% humidity. Most other large cities in Texas have 76–78% humidity. Check out our list of the five best places to retire in Texas.

Is Texas cheap?

Yes, Texas is pretty cheap relative to other U.S. states. The average cost of living is 7% less than the national average, which makes it fairly affordable. Check out our list of the five best places to retire in Texas.

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