It Adds Up

Do San Antonio parents really save by living in the suburbs?

Do San Antonio parents really save by living in the suburbs?

Family coming out of house
Seems like the suburbs are a sound investment — except in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of Texas Health Resources

Common wisdom says to scout outside a city's metro borders if you're looking to stretch your housing dollar, but where should you settle if you have a family? Is living in the suburbs really the better plan?

Usually, says Zillow and Care.com, but not in San Antonio. The two websites looked at housing (home values and property taxes) and child care costs for 30 metro areas and their surrounding suburbs, and it turns out it's more affordable to live in San Antonio proper than in its 'burbs.

Nationally, the Cost of Living Report shows that families spend $9,073 more a year to live in the city compared to the suburbs. In San Antonio, residents actually pay $2,474 more to dwell in the suburbs. It breaks down like this: Families living in the urban parts of the San Antonio metro spend $25,039 a year on housing and child care. In the suburbs, they spend $27,513. That’s an extra $200 that suburban families spend every month.

San Antonio suburbanites are shelling out $3,252 a year more for homes, but at least those houses are 352 median square feet bigger than their urban counterparts. The difference in median commute times, however, is negligible: just half a minute quicker for urbanites.

Those in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs save $14,128 by not living in the city, Austinites can sock away $11,522 a year by settling in the 'burbs, and suburban Houstonians are saving $5,368.

The study confirms that San Antonio isn't alone in its money-saving urban status. Those surrounding Philadelphia will cost you $13,849 a year more to enjoy, while the urban parts of Baltimore, Cleveland, and Milwaukee are also significantly cheaper in which to raise a family.