We’ve found seven neighborhoods with cheap rent in Houston: Willowbrook, Clear Lake City, Montrose, Woodlake – Briar Meadow, Eldridge – West Oaks, Copperfield, and Lazy Brook – Timbergrove. These far-flung neighborhoods are by no means interchangeable, so it’s vital to find the area that’s the right fit for you.
Is it more important for you to be near a big mall, or one of the 24 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Houston? Do you want to be close to quiet family life, or an exciting nightlife? In this article, we’ll break down the best—and worst—of each area so you can find the best value for both your budget and your lifestyle.
7 Neighborhoods Where You Can Find Cheap Rent in Houston
Houston is considered to be the most ethnically diverse city in America, with 145 languages spoken within its 665 square miles.
Maybe you’ll be happiest in quiet and super-cheap Willowbrook. Maybe the chic, inclusive Montrose neighborhood is more your vibe. There’s an atmosphere of driven success in Eldridge, and amazing recreation in laid-back Clear Lake City.
Willowbrook’s biggest draw is its affordability. The average rent here—$811 per month for a one-bedroom apartment—is 65.7 percent lower than Houston’s average. That means you could potentially save about $423 each month in rent or $5,076 over the course of a year.
Willowbrook offers a nice mix of families and working professionals. The schools are highly rated, crime is relatively low, and diversity is high.
The Willowbrook Mall fills up over 1.5 million square feet of Houston’s available commercial space with 161 individual stores. The mall is easily the neighborhood’s most recognizable landmark.
Another fun place is iT’Z Family Food and Fun—a family recreation center with bowling, arcade games, pizza, and more. A higher-adrenaline recreation option can be found only a mile away at the Sam Houston Race Park, a horse racing track.
2. Clear Lake City
Clear Lake City is the most outlying area on our list, southeast of downtown Houston. Locals complain of the horrible commute on the I-45, so this neighborhood is probably best if your lifestyle won’t take you into the city often.
The 2,000-acre Clear Lake—from which the city takes its name—is America’s third-largest pleasure-boat basin, and a popular vacation spot.
Plus, there are parks and hiking trails for even more outdoor recreation. Clear Lake City is near the NASA Space Center, which hosts many special events in addition to over 400 things to do on any given day.
Perhaps best of all, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Clear Lake City is only $950.
Known as “The Heart of Houston,” Montrose is central to the action in Houston. For only $1,050 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, you can live in this eclectic and stylish neighborhood.
Montrose is one of the few neighborhoods in Houston that’s actually considered walkable. This is great for the young and largely unmarried population enjoying Montrose’s indie-art galleries, museums, bars, restaurants, and fashionable thrift stores.
Montrose doesn’t rank highly in overall safety, but most of the crime is property-related, allowing the vibrant nightlife to stay strong.
4. Woodlake – Briar Meadow
For an average rent of $1,121 for a one-bedroom apartment there’s a little bit of something for everyone in this neighborhood of many names (Woodlake, Briar Meadow, and Mid-West). There’s a veteran-operated gun range, the Almadina International supermarket, and a martial arts training studio all within the neighborhood proper.
Right on the edge of Woodlake is the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, an urban green space with trails, workshops, and events.
5. Eldridge – West Oaks
Once a home to large ranches and rural neighborhoods, Eldridge – West Oaks has transformed over the last 30 years due to residential and business expansion.
Eldridge rocks a high-powered vibe. The focus here is on facilitating the success of residents. The area is known for its:
- easy commutes to work,
- top-level public schools,
- great parks for recreation and exercise, and,
- nice homes in and out of posh gated communities
Here you can expect to pay $1,135 a month to rent a one-bedroom apartment.
Only about 20 miles from downtown Houston, Copperfield offers its residents an average rent of $1,135 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
In the master-planned Copperfield neighborhood you’ll find a cool and eclectic mix of the best of Houston. Lovely homes, lots of trees, and easy access to shopping, dining, and top-rated schools.
7. Lazy Brook – Timbergrove
These two deed-restricted subdivisions are considered to be part of Houston’s “super-communities,” with average monthly rent here coming in at $1,199 for a one-bedroom apartment.
This area’s best feature is easy access to Houston’s all-important Interstate 610 Loop.
Civic associations in Lazy Brook and Timbergrove work hard to make the area safe, and while the public schools aren’t as highly rated as others on our list, they still have fairly good rankings.
There are a lot of restaurants and coffee bars in this neighborhood, but other shopping opportunities are limited.
How does Houston rent compare with other major cities?
One of the biggest drawbacks to the Houston area is the danger of flooding, highlighted by Hurricane Harvey’s historic destruction in 2017. Several neighborhoods on our list were impacted by the hurricane, including Eldridge and Woodlake – Briar Meadow.
Given this inherent risk, it might be tempting to choose to move to Atlanta, Georgia—a city less prone to natural disasters.
However, the cost of living is 9 percent higher in Atlanta. You could save $8,616 a year in rent alone at Houston’s overall average, and as much as $13,692 in Willowbrook. Houston is also home to:
- the world’s largest medical center,
- one of the biggest rodeos in the world, and,
- an underground tunnel system for pedestrian traffic
Here we focus on a rental cost comparison between Houston and several other major U.S. cities.
|Houston Rent vs. Other Major U.S. Cities|
|City||Average one-bedroom rent||Average two-bedroom rent|
|Houston, TX||$1,234 per month||$1,591 per month|
|Austin, TX||$1,619 per month||$1,879 per month|
|Dallas, TX||$1,396 per month||$1,879 per month|
|New York, NY||$4,549 per month||$6,378 per month|
|Boston, MA||$3,402 per month||$4,653 per month|
|San Francisco, CA||$3,388 per month||$4,707 per month|
|Miami, FL||$3,003 per month||$3,899 per month|
|Los Angeles, CA||$2,719 per month||$3,835 per month|
|Chicago, IL||$1,875 per month||$2,438 per month|
|Atlanta, GA||$1,952 per month||$2,420 per month|
Source: Rent.com (as of March 2023)
About the writer: Suzanna Fitzgerald is a professional content writer specializing in crafting your stories into irresistible online marketing blueprints. You can find out more about Suzanna (along with her contact info) on her writer’s biography page.
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