Regional Guide: The Southwest Cost of Living Breakdown
The Southwest region of the United States is mainly made up of states that have a dry, arid climate. The landscape of the Southwest features desert plains, mesas and mountains dotted with lush and verdant forests and prairies. Many of these states lay along the coast and are located on natural oil and gas reserves, so major cities within this region tend to have industries that are focused on energy production and transport. Throughout the years, the region has developed a diverse scene, filled with an array of different climates, cultures, and landscaping. This can also be seen throughout the region’s real estate market.
Down below, we’ve covered the Southwestern states and their demographic background to show you how the cost of living and real estate market varies across the region. So, prior to packing up your bags and heading out west, check out what each state has to offer and more!
Arizona is the 17th most populous state, and it boasts a population of about 6.8 million people. It is the sixth largest state in the U.S., and it was the last contiguous state to be added. The median home value in the state is $207,300, and the median rent residents pay is $915. Like many other states in the southwestern region of the country, it has a desert climate with hot, arid summers and mild winters. If you’re thinking about moving to Arizona in the near future, check out their top leading cities as well as their demographic information down below to see how they differ and compare to these above median figures.
Median home price: $204,000
Median rent: $1,350
Median household salary: $43,150
Median age: 33
Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, and it is the sixth largest city in the U.S. with a landmass that exceeds Los Angeles. It is located in the area called the Valley of the Sun, and due to its canal system, the local economy was focused on agriculture and providing natural resources until after World War II. Today, the majority of the city's economy is based on health care, finances, real estate and manufacturing. Phoenix is also home to four Fortune 500 companies.
Median home price: $168,000
Median rent: $1,150
Median household salary: $43,000
Median age: 38
Home to the University of Arizona, Tucson is also the seat of Pima County, and it is the second most populated city in the state. One of the biggest industries in the area is optics, and the city is home to well over 100 companies involved in the development and manufacturing of optics, which is why Tucson has been given the nickname Optics Valley. Electronics and missile production are also major industries in the area. The two largest employers are the Fort Huachuca U.S. Army installation and the university.
Median home price: $310,000
Median rent: $1,850
Median household salary: $49,765
Median age: 35
Located in the northern part of the state of Arizona, Flagstaff is on the edge of the Colorado Plateau. Thanks to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park and Meteor Crater, the city has a bustling tourism industry. Flagstaff is also home to the Northern Arizona University as well as the Lowell Observatory, which is where Pluto was discovered in 1930. The city's economy also relies on medical device manufacturing and transportation.
Oklahoma is the 28th most populous state in the U.S. with around 3.8 million residents, and it is the 20th largest in terms of land mass. People living in the state pay a median of $737 per month in rent, and the median home value is $113,900. Taken from the Choctaw words "okla" and "humma," the state's name means "red people," and it was the 46th state to enter the union. The majority of the state lies in the Great Plains, Cross Timbers and the U.S. Interior Highlands, so the landscape of Oklahoma features forests, mountain ranges, mesas and prairies. Check out Oklahoma’s top leading cities as well as their demographics down below.
Median home price: $174,000
Median rent: $1,000
Median salary: $38,140
Median age: 35
Oklahoma City is the state capital and the largest city in the state. It is in the Great Plains region, located on an oil field. Unsurprisingly, the largest industries in the area are oil, petroleum and natural gas. Along with the state being a major producer of energy, technology and health services make up a large portion of the economy. The city's largest employer is the state of Oklahoma, and the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center and Integris Health are other significant employers in the city.
Median home price: $128,000
Median rent: $1,050
Median home salary: $40,924
Median age: 36
Labeled the second most populous city in the state, Tulsa is located on the Arkansas River near the Ozark Mountains. Tulsa is considered to be the cultural center of the state, and it is home to the Waite Phillips museum and the Philbrook Museum of Art as well as opera and ballet companies. The majority of Tulsa's economy is based on energy; the city is home to several major oil and gas companies, including WPX Energy and Syntroleum.
Texas is the second largest state in terms of both population and land mass, with more than 27,469,000 residents, and it is the largest of the 48 contiguous states. Citizens of the state of Texas can expect to pay a median of $896 a month for rent, and home values are at a median of $156,200. Although Texas tends to be grouped in other states with desert climates, only about 12 percent of the state's land area is actually desert. Many people might be surprised to learn that most of the populous areas of the state are in or around forests, coastlines and grasslands. Down below you’ll find the state’s top cities and their real estate demographics.
Median home price: $848,120
Median rent: $1,650
Median household salary: $41,765
Median age: 33
Dallas is the ninth most populous city in the U.S., and the city started out as a center for the cotton industry thanks to its proximity to railroad lines. The city's importance was cemented when oil was discovered nearby. Although oil is still a major part of the local economy, telecommunications also represents a large portion of economic activity in the area. The city is sometimes referred to as the Silicon Prairie, and Dallas is home to a number of major tech companies, including Texas Instruments.
Median home price: $435,711
Median rent: $1,650
Median household salary: $44,387
Median Age: 33
Located near the Gulf of Mexico, Houston is the most populous city in the state and the fourth most populous in the U.S. As with other major cities in Texas, the city got its start as a center for oil and transportation. The local economy is large and widely varied. The city is also home to both NASA's Johnson Space Center and the Texas Medical Center, which is the largest concentration of research institutions dedicated to health care. Energy, manufacturing and transportation are also major parts of the local economy, and several Fortune 500 companies call Houston their home.
Median home price: $278,980
Median rent: $1,400
Median household salary: $42,431
Median Age: 34
San Antonio is located in the Texas Triangle, and it is the third largest city in the state— the second most populous. The city is known for several Spanish colonial missions, and the most notable is the Alamo. The U.S. military is a major employer in San Antonio because there are several air force bases in and around the city. Other major contributors to the economy are the financial, health care, oil, and gas industries.
Considered a mountain state, New Mexico was the 46th state added to the union. It is the 36th most populated state in the country, with a population of just over 2 million. Although it is fifth largest in size, New Mexico it is the sixth least densely populated state. The median home price in the state is $164,000, and people who rent pay a median of $777 per month. The state is largely made up of deserts, mountains and mesas, but the northern part of New Mexico has large tracts of forests and mountain wildernesses. In fact, millions of acres of the state's forests are protected, including the Santa Fe National Forest and the Cibola National Forest. See how their top leading cities demographics compare down below.
Median home price: $252,260
Median rent: $1,250
Median household salary: $47,602
Median age: 39
Albuquerque is located on the Rio Grande in the center of the state. It is the most populous city in New Mexico and is home to the University of New Mexico, which is a major employer. Other employers in the area include Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories and Intel. Due to the variety of industries and the number of available jobs, the city was named one of the Top Best Cities for Jobs in 2007 by Forbes magazine.
Median home price: $223,133
Median rent: $995
Median household salary: $42,049
Median age: 34
Also known as The City of the Crosses, Las Cruces is the second most populous city in New Mexico. It is located in the Mesilla Valley in the southern part of the state, and it is just 10 miles away from the Organ Mountains. The city's largest employer is the federal government through the White Sands Test Facility and the White Sands Missile Range. Las Cruces is also home to Virgin Galactic, which offers sub-orbital space flights, and the New Mexico State University.
(Real Estate Information Source: Trulia.com)