The Greater Houston region is the fifth largest metro area in the nation. That features Houston and five other cities with a population of over 100,000, including The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Pasadena, Pearland and League City. And many places in the metro carry a high cost of living and elevated rent prices.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. But around Houston, you can find some of the cheapest big city Texas rents in these 10 cheap cities near Houston, including H-Town itself. The list includes both large suburbs and small ones. Some are adjacent to the city proper, and some are in the outskirts outside Beltway 8. The following cities carry the lowest rents in Greater Houston for an average two-bedroom apartment.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,637
- Rent change since 2021: +23.08%
The 10th cheapest city near Houston is, in fact, Houston. The fourth-largest city in North America, Houston is a city of many facets. It’s a college town and a sports town. It’s a port city and an oil city. It’s a culture city and a space city. No wonder it’s been named the most diverse city in the U.S. And it’s also one of the most LGBTQA-friendly cities, as well, and celebrates one of the largest annual Pride parades in the world.
Not only does Houston take pride in its diversity, but it also enjoys a diverse economy. At its heart, Houston is, of course, an energy town. The city’s largest employer remains Phillips 66. But it’s also grown in other industries, including aeronautics, biomedical research, technology and education. It’s been ranked among the top cities for job creation, paycheck worth and the overall best place for business and careers.
Houston is also a sprawling city. Along with a gleaming The Loop downtown, there are several business and commerce hubs around the city. Westchase, Midtown, Uptown, Greenway Plaza, Memorial City, Greensport and more can claim second downtown status. And at a rent of $1,637 a month for an average two-bedroom, it’s one of the more affordable top-tier large cities in the nation. However, that represents an over 23 percent jump from last year.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,445
- Rent change since 2021: +17.5%
The view is very nice from here. The stunning seaside city of Seabrook sits along the shore of Galveston Bay. The resort town is a haven for full-time residents, snowbirds and tourists alike. Both down Waterfront Drive on the Clear Creek channel and downtown along Bayfront Boulevard are a plethora of fish markets, antique shops, bed & breakfasts and fresh seafood restaurants.
Seabrook also features a bevy of parks and green spaces. Most of the city’s parks have a trail network that runs eight miles from Pine Gully Park to Rex L. Meador Park. The latter is also home to the annual Lucky Trails Marathon.
The city’s bayfront is a resort coast attracting water lovers from all around with marinas, restaurants and hotels. But Seabrook is also a relatively affordable spot for local renters. Just $1,445 a month will rent you an average two-bedroom unit. That’s in spite of a jump in rents year to year of 17.48 percent.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,435
- Rent change since 2021: +18.7%
Everything is bigger in Texas. And some things are getting even bigger. The city of Conroe was the fastest growing city in the entire nation between mid-2015 and mid-2016. That’s nothing new for the city of 92,000. Conroe, a large city itself, is essentially a large suburb of The Woodlands, itself a large suburb of Houston.
Average rents for a Conroe two-bedroom list for just $1,435 monthly. And that’s including a nearly 19 percent increase from a year ago. Despite its distance from Houston, it’s a popular commuter bedroom community, a 45-minute ride into downtown.
But there’s also plenty for Conroevians right in their own city. Conroe’s downtown is a Texas cultural arts hub, anchored by the 90-year old Crighton Theatre and the Owen Theatre. Outdoor venue spaces are at Conroe Founder’s Plaza and Heritage Place. Music organizations include Conroe Symphony, Conroe Art League and Montgomery County Choral Society.
As well, Conroe is a park-lovers oasis. The city rings the southern shore of Lake Conroe. Along the lake are a number of parks, paths, fishing piers, golf clubs and camping resorts. Closer to downtown are the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park honoring the Texas flag and the Heritage Museum. On the city’s east side are the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center and the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,269
- Rent change since 2021: +10.8%
The city of Galveston is not, in fact, the largest city in Galveston County. That honor goes to League City, halfway between the Gulf and Houston. This booming city doubled in population from 2000 to 2010 and grew an additional 30 percent in the last decade. League City has grown nearly seven-fold since 1980.
What league, you may ask? The name League City is for a man, actually. J. C. League was the visionary that laid out the city in the 1890s. But you can attribute the city’s modern-day boom to two factors. First, real estate costs in Galveston skyrocketed, and many migrated north to League City. That coincided with the rising popularity of several waterside resorts along Clear Lake, attracting visitors down from Houston. Among these within League City are Waterford Harbor Yacht Club Marina and South Shore Harbor Resort.
League City’s downtown radiates out from the intersection of Main Street and Texas Route 3. The district has numerous pizzerias and chain restaurants, big box stores and local bars. Rents for two-bedroom apartments average just $1,269 a month. That keeps it in the top 10 cheapest cities near Houston, despite a 10.83 percent jump over the last year.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,264
- Rent change since 2021: +4.6%
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. And for 16,000 Texans, home is the northeast Houston suburb of Humble. Humble is a commuter’s dream, lying just north of Beltway 8 and directly across I-69 from George Bush Airport. And for all that convenience, a two-bedroom apartment rents for just $1,264 monthly on average.
Humble began life as a prototypical turn-of-the-century oil boomtown. Its oilfield was at one time the biggest-producing field in Texas. The Humble Oil & Refining Company, dating back over 110 years, is the direct predecessor of Exxon.
Today, the city’s lively downtown main street anchors the super-regional 130-store Deerbrook Mall. Many other restaurants and shopping centers line the I-69 service roads and Farm to Market 1960 Bypass Road. Just to the south are Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital and the Humble Museum. And the big annual event is the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open, held each year at Humble’s Golf Club of Houston.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,224
- Rent change since 2021: +23%
One of the smaller towns on this list, Webster benefits greatly from its location. The town of just 12,000 sits in the heart of the Clear Lake region. It’s adjacent to the Clear Lake City section of southeast Houston and north of Clear Creek from the port suburbs. And sitting right alongside Johnson Space Center (JSC), many NASA employees enjoy living in Webster.
Along with aerospace engineers, Webster is a key bedroom community for tech workers from around the Clear Lake area. Its streets house a variety of software, biotech and electronics professionals along with industry support personnel. Even highly-paid tech workers benefit from Webster’s cheap rents. A two-bedroom apartment leases for an average of just $1,224 a month.
Thanks to its proximity to JSC, Webster also benefits from Clear Lake’s space and resort tourism boom. For a town so small, it features at least a dozen hotels. It’s also home to HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake medical campus. And it’s just across the street from the super-regional Baybrook Mall, which features more than 220 stores.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,182
- Rent change since 2021: +13.4%
Texas is oil country, for sure. But oil is the entire reason Baytown exists. After World War II, three major oil boomtowns consolidated into today’s Baytown. Dominating the Houston Ship Channel eastern shore, Baytown is still home to several of the world’s largest industrial facilities. There are massive sites run by Covestro, Chevron Phillips and ExxonMobil. Additionally, Baytown is home to the hefty Jindal Steel mill and Cedar Port Industrial Park, the fifth largest such complex in the world.
But all those petroleum and industrial workers have to live somewhere, and many choose to live right there in Baytown. Much of that is due to the city’s affordability. The monthly rent for a two-bedroom is just $1,182 on average. And it remains that cheap, despite a 13.44 percent jump in lease price from last year.
Thankfully, there’s more to Baytown than just live and work. There’s plenty of play. One standout feature is the Downtown Arts District. This arts campus includes Baytown Little Theater, Lee College Performing Arts Center and Art Gallery of Baytown. The lush Baytown Nature Center inhabits a large peninsula splitting Crystal and Scott Bay. And it’s also home to Houston Raceway Park, the location of the NHRA SpringNationals drag racing event.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,075
- Rent change since 2021: N/A
What better city in Texas is there to live in than Texas City? That’s particularly true if you work in one of Galveston Bay’s several energy and manufacturing industries. The bustling deepwater port is home to a number of heavy industry consortiums, container shipping firms and petrochemical refineries. In fact, the Texas City Industrial Complex is the hub of the petrochemical industry.
And it’s within this frame that lies Texas City’s most infamous day. In 1947, two enormous explosions destroyed three petroleum ships that killed hundreds and leveled the port and the city. But Texas City rebuilt, earning the nickname “The Town That Would Not Die.” Today, it’s a busy port city and a cheap city near Houston. Rents here average just $1,075 a month for a two-bedroom.
There’s a lot more to Texas City than oil, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. The city maintains over 40 parks, including several along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Additionally, the Texas City Prairie Preserve is a 2,300-acre wetland habitat with access to public hiking and camping.
Near the city center is Bay Street Park and Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center. Texas City is also home to the Houston area’s Tanger Outlet mall and College of the Mainland.
- Average 2-BR rent: $1,025
- Rent change since 2021: +0.8%
Looking for the cheapest suburb in Greater Houston? Look to the southeast at the popular town of Pasadena. With an average rent of $1,025 monthly, the connecting ‘burb carries the most affordable rent of any spot in commuting distance of Downtown.
With a population of over 150,000, Pasadena is the second-largest city in Harris County after Houston itself. Commuters enjoy its proximity to key Houston neighborhoods. It also offers easy access to Beltway 8 and Sam Houston Tollway, which intersect Pasadena Freeway in the suburb’s northeast section.
But Pasadena is convenient to more than just The Loop. The Houston Ship Channel, Bayport Industrial District and Johnson Space Center are all within a few minutes of Pasadena. The city also features plenty of culture all its own, of many facets. Pasadena offers its own philharmonic and orchestra, livestock show and rodeo and historical museum. It calls itself the “Strawberry Capital of the South” and holds an annual strawberry festival. And it’s also where the classic feature “Urban Cowboy” took place.
Not only is Pasadena directly connected to Houston, but it also has a continuous path to the Gulf. Pasadena’s Armand Bayou Nature Center at the city’s southern tip is the largest urban wilderness preserve in the nation. Bisecting it is its eponymous bayou. The Bayou waterway empties into Mud Lake and then into Clear Lake. Those lakes sweep past the Bayport Channel and out into Galveston Bay.
- Average 2-BR rent: $825
- Rent change since 2021: -1.2%
If you don’t mind a little distance, you can find the cheapest city near Houston up north in Huntsville. Just $825 a month on average will snag you a nice two-bedroom unit in the Walker County seat. In fact, Huntsville is the only city near Houston with an average two-bedroom rent under a grand.
But why would one want to live an hour outside the city? That’s because the city of nearly 46,000 has plenty of life all its own. Just ask Sam Houston, the namesake for the big city to the south. Not only did Houston live in Huntsville for many years, but it’s also where he’s buried.
If you’re burning for a deeper dive into Sam Houston’s history, visit the Huntsville museum created in his honor. And if that’s not enough, his visage in “A Tribute to Courage” goes for miles along I-45. The 67-foot high statue of Houston is the tallest of any single historical figure in the country. Everything is bigger in Texas. Except for rents in Huntsville.
And the economy in Huntsville is nearly recession-proof. The city’s two largest employers are in industries that will always thrive. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice employs over 6,700, including at the city’s Texas Prison Museum. Huntsville is also home to Sam Houston State University and its 20,000 students.
Find an apartment near Houston
We don’t have a problem finding these 10 cheap cities near Houston for renters. From north of The Woodlands south to Galveston Bay, you can find an affordable two-bedroom in Greater Houston.
Which cities near Houston are right for your budget? Check out all the available apartments in Houston and metro H-Town on Rent..
The rent information included in this summary is based on a calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Rent. as of February 2021. Rent prices are for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.