Which is the better city: San Antonio or Austin?


In Texas, we love a little debate. From sports to city life to who’s getting more Californians, no one in Houston, Dallas, Austin, or San Antonio will admit the other has more to offer.

Although there are many similarities in the major cities of Texas, each has its own unique personality and it’s hard to compare them. But, in San Antonio and Austin, we’ve seen an influx of people moving in from out-of-state and asking the question: Which is the better city to live in, San Antonio or Austin?

Well, I’ve lived in both San Antonio and Austin, and I’m going to cover three points which I think will prove to you which is the better city in which to live. Can you guess which one?


1. Congestion

Austin is very compact and crowded. In fact, the traffic in Austin ranks 18th worst in the United States according to INRIX, a company that crunches traffic numbers around the world and provides products in the auto and transportation industries.

Another study by navigation provider company TomTom ranked Austin No. 19 in the U.S. for most congested traffic and No. 179 globally.

Austin was also ranked above every other city in Texas for having the worst traffic congestion.

On the other hand, San Antonio’s traffic congestion is not nearly as bad as other major Texas cities. In San Antonio, you can get around just about anywhere in the city in about 15 to 20 minutes. As crazy as that may sound, having grown up in Dallas and lived in Austin, I can tell you the traffic in San Antonio is almost nothing especially for a city of its size.

2. Affordability

Austin has become an expensive place to live. Housing in suburbs outside of Austin are more affordable as you get away from the city, but then you’re dealing with the commute if you work in the city and that goes back to the congestion problem.

According to Sperling’s Best Places 2021 Cost of Living Comparison, Austin is 33% more expensive than San Antonio, and the housing is almost double the price.

And, in San Antonio, we still have wide-open spaces and land that’s still being developed. You can live outside of the city in a very nice house and still work in the city without the congestion.

San Antonio continues to maintain its status as the most affordable major metro housing market in Texas.

In 2020, the San Antonio area’s median home price climbed 8.2 percent to $249,000, the Texas Association of Realtors says. That compares with $344,000 in Austin, $291,000 in Dallas-Fort Worth, and $260,000 in Houston. 

3. Approachability

Although only an hour and a half apart, the demographics and vibes of these two Texas cities are radically different. San Antonio is family-oriented and spacious, boasting a vibrant and diverse cultural background. Austin, on the other hand, has a reputation for being “cool”: equal parts cowboy and hipster, always keeping things dynamic. And Austin is growing at an incredible rate, ranking on popular lists as one of the “Best Places to Live.”

Although Austin is growing in the ranks, San Antonio is still more populated, coming in as the second most populated city in the state of Texas. Yet, what I like best about San Antonio is that it still has that small-town feel. People are very friendly here. You can come to San Antonio and enjoy the unique culture and the same great restaurants and shopping as you would in Austin, but places in San Antonio seem to have a much more relaxed atmosphere. In my opinion, San Antonio just doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as Austin does.

Whether you’re relocating from another state, want to get out of the hustle and bustle of Houston, Dallas, or Austin, or your job is relocating you to the San Antonio area, the agents at the Jason Keller Group can help you find the perfect neighborhood in which to live and the perfect home for you and your family. Give us a call today at (210) 852-1676 or email jason.keller@kw.com.

Sources: Keller Williams San Antonio; Tom Tom; INRIX; Texas Association of Realtors