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Buda’s Cost of Living is Part of Its Overall Appeal

Buda’s population has grown from 7,295 in 2010 to over 16,000 in 2017, an increase of over 121% in seven years.  While there are a variety of factors that attracted these people to Buda, one key stand out is Buda’s affordability.   

Using data provided in the Quarterly Cost of Living Index, developed by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, we can compare the cost of living of the Buda area to those of in neighboring communities of Austin and Round Rock. This data is released on urban and suburban areas across the country with the Austin Metropolitan area containing data for Austin, Round Rock, and San Marcos. Given Buda’s proximity and similar characteristics to San Marcos, we used these data points for analysis of Buda’s affordability.   

Cost of living is a measurement of how much we pay for groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and other goods & services in a given urban area. It can be useful when comparing expenses in different areas. Prices fluctuate and vary and only represent the given point in time that they were collected, so the data is not absolute. Communities with an index under 100 indicate that they are less expensive than the national average while communities with an index over 100 indicate that they are more expensive.   

The Composite Index combines all categories into one index to determine overall affordability. The Buda area composite index is 90.3 while Austin’s is 98 and Round Rock is 93.7. The Texas city with the lowest Composite Index is the Brownsville-Harlingen metro with an index of 75.7. However, the Buda area is consistent with or lower than most major Texas metro areas and their suburbs.

When compared to Austin (99.1) and Round Rock (93.4) the Buda area’s housing is the lowest with an index of 91.1. It has even experienced a drop compared to the same quarter last year. Utility costs are slightly higher in Buda (97.7) than Round Rock (96.5) but still well below Austin (102.3).


Another component that makes up the total index is grocery expenses. Buda’s index for groceries (82.7) is lower compared to our surrounding areas and is the third lowest in the state. These means grocery shopping in this area is one of the less expensive locations in Texas.

The Buda area doesn’t fare as well regarding the transportation index at 92.8, which is higher than Austin (89.3) and Round Rock (90.4). The transportation index is influenced by the price per gallon for gasoline and the price for the average cost of balancing four tires. As more options for both these product/service enter the Buda area the transportation index cost should decrease.

Currently, the Buda area’s highest index category is healthcare (111.2), ranking even higher than Austin (101.8) and Round Rock (94.4). The recent announcement of Baylor Scott & White, Ascension Seton, and St. David’s locating Buda could help reduce the cost of health care services in the area.  Access to a variety of and diverse healthcare options has been a growing need in the community and was a key reason why these medical facilities were recruited to the community.

There are many reasons why people choose Buda as their home; whether it be having more parkland per capita, a beautiful downtown district, our small-town charm with bigger city amenities, or proximity to the Austin metro. Compared to other local areas, the Buda area is thriving with an affordable cost of living. Essentially, the resident’s hard-earned dollar goes further in the Buda area than in other parts of the Austin metro and the State of Texas.