Moving from San Jose to Austin is an increasingly popular choice for many, thanks to Austin’s vibrant culture and more manageable cost of living. If you’re planning this transition in 2024, here’s your comprehensive guide to making your move as smooth as possible.

Why Move to Austin?

The allure of moving from San Jose to Austin is bolstered by a variety of economic and lifestyle advantages. Notably, Austin presents a substantially lower cost of living compared to San Jose, with savings evident across housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation. 

Housing in Austin is about 51.2% to 55.9% less expensive than in San Jose, and even basic groceries like milk, bread, and eggs are significantly cheaper. For instance, a gallon of milk costs roughly 22.3% less in Austin. 

Such economic benefits are coupled with Austin’s burgeoning job market, often referred to as the “Silicon Hills” due to its tech industry boom, making it an enticing option for professionals in the tech sector.

Moreover, Austin’s vibrant cultural scene and recreational opportunities further enhance its appeal. The city is renowned for its music scene, outdoor activities, and community events that cater to a diverse population. Despite rapid growth and increasing living costs, Austin still offers a balanced lifestyle with ample opportunities for social and professional engagements. 

The city’s approachable vibe and progressive community are frequently cited by residents as key factors for their satisfaction. These attributes make Austin not only a practical choice for relocation but also a place where quality of life is emphasized.

Cost of Living Comparison

The cost of living comparison between San Jose, CA, and Austin, TX, highlights significant differences, with Austin generally being the more affordable city. In Austin, housing costs are considerably lower, averaging around 55.9% less than in San Jose. 

This translates into a median home cost difference where homes in Austin are about half the price of those in San Jose. For groceries and general consumer prices, you would also find Austin to be more budget-friendly. For example, essentials like milk, bread, and eggs are cheaper in Austin, reflecting the broader trend of lower living expenses.

Transportation costs also favor Austin, with lower expenses for both public transport and gas prices. Additionally, Austin’s utility costs, including electricity, heating, and water, are lower compared to San Jose. 

While Austin offers a lower cost of living, it’s important to consider personal circumstances such as income levels and job opportunities, as salaries in San Jose tend to be higher due to the concentration of tech industry jobs. Overall, if affordability is a priority, Austin presents a compelling case with its lower cost of living across several key categories.


The housing markets in Austin and San Jose present a stark contrast in affordability and dynamics, reflecting broader trends in their respective local economies and population growth. 

In Austin, the real estate market is characterized by a relatively lower median home price compared to San Jose, with recent data indicating a median price of approximately $550,000 in Austin. This is notably less than half of San Jose’s median home price, which hovers around $1.4 million. 

The more accessible prices in Austin correlate with a somewhat competitive market, where a significant portion of homes sell within 30 days, demonstrating robust demand. In March 2024, Austin saw properties such as a 2,000 sqft home selling for about $500,000, often with multiple offers, though typically selling at or slightly above the listing price.

In contrast, San Jose’s housing market is extremely competitive, with homes often selling significantly over the asking price due to high demand and limited supply. Properties in San Jose can receive upwards of 20 competing offers, with homes frequently selling within a week of listing. 

For example, a 1,500 sqft home in San Jose could sell for as much as $2.25 million, often fetching more than 10% above the list price. This intense competition and high cost make San Jose’s market less accessible for many, compared to Austin where the growth and influx of new residents continue to drive a busy but more affordable housing market.

Employment Opportunities

The employment landscapes of San Jose and Austin showcase distinct opportunities influenced by their respective economic environments and industrial compositions. San Jose, being at the heart of Silicon Valley, exhibits a robust job market, especially in the tech sector. 

The region has experienced significant job growth over the past decade, with an increase of 13.7%, reflecting its status as a global tech hub. The demand for high-tech skills remains high, and the wages in San Jose are typically higher compared to national averages due to the concentration of tech companies.

On the other hand, Austin, also known as “Silicon Hills,” has been catching up rapidly with its own tech boom, contributing to a 25.5% job growth over the last ten years. While the tech industry in Austin isn’t as large as San Jose’s, it still offers considerable opportunities, particularly for startups, and is expanding its tech workforce steadily. 

The city’s more diverse economy also includes strong sectors in education, health services, and government jobs. Despite lower average salaries compared to San Jose, Austin’s cost of living is significantly less, making it an attractive place for both professionals and companies looking to maximize their investment.


The educational landscapes in San Jose and Austin offer diverse and robust opportunities, each reflecting the unique characteristics of their regions. San Jose, as part of the Silicon Valley area, is known for its strong emphasis on technology and innovation. 

San Jose State University (SJSU), a major public institution in the area, is well-regarded for its wide range of programs, especially in engineering and business, tailored to meet the demands of the tech industry. SJSU is celebrated for its diverse student body and active campus life, and it offers a substantial number of courses and degrees across various fields.

Austin, contrastingly, while also a tech hub, provides a slightly different educational emphasis with a strong focus on music, arts, and liberal arts education alongside technology. The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is a flagship institution with high rankings nationally, known for its research contributions and a broad array of undergraduate and graduate programs. 

UT Austin supports a large student population and is integral to the city’s reputation as a vibrant cultural and educational center. Both cities boast high educational standards and provide environments that foster learning and development well-suited to their respective local economies and cultural milieus.


Transportation in Austin and San Jose reflects the unique characteristics of each city, with Austin emphasizing innovation and expansion in its transit infrastructure. Austin is actively investing in its transportation network, notably through the development of the Austin Light Rail as part of the Project Connect initiative. 

This ambitious project aims to enhance mobility across the city and includes significant community engagement to ensure the system meets the needs of its diverse population. The Austin Transit Partnership has been established to guide this transformative project, aiming to improve city-wide accessibility and reduce congestion.

San Jose, meanwhile, has a more expensive and expansive transportation network, reflecting its position in the high-cost area of Silicon Valley. Transportation costs in San Jose are significantly higher than in Austin, by as much as 82%, which includes higher costs for public transit and private vehicle expenses. 

This difference is indicative of the broader cost of living disparities between the two cities, with San Jose generally being more expensive across various sectors.

Preparing for the Move

Preparing for a move from San Jose to Austin involves considering several aspects such as cost of living, housing market trends, and overall preparation strategies. The cost of living in Austin is significantly lower than in San Jose, with overall living expenses including housing, utilities, and groceries being about 38.7% cheaper. This makes Austin a more affordable option, particularly if you’re looking to maintain a similar standard of living for less.

When it comes to housing, Austin offers a more accessible market compared to San Jose’s competitive landscape where homes frequently sell for well above the asking price. In San Jose, the housing market is very competitive with homes often receiving multiple offers and selling quickly above list price. In contrast, 

Austin’s housing market, while still competitive, generally offers more moderate prices and somewhat less frenetic buying experiences. These differences highlight the need for potential moving companies to be well-prepared financially and logistically for the housing markets in their new city. Moreover, understanding the local amenities, transport options, and educational services in Austin will be crucial to making a seamless transition.

Published by HOLR Magazine.

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