Tucked away in Montgomery County is The Woodlands, a forested enclave north of Houston.
Home to over 115,000 people, The Woodlands offers residents a dense suburban atmosphere in an idyllic wooded setting replete with chic amenities.
Spread out over 28,000 acres, the growing suburban paradise offers a welcome escape from the concrete jungle that characterizes urban living.
Are you looking to move to one of Houston’s best suburbs? Read through our pros and cons of living in The Woodlands, Texas, to decide for yourself.
If you've gathered that moving to The Woodlands is a good idea, contact us today to help you find a great spot suitable for your budget or lifestyle.
Pros and Cons Summary
- Proximity to nature
- Great education
- Real estate options
- Convenient location
- Entertainment and amenities
- Traffic congestion
- Extreme weather
- High cost of living
Living in Houston's Best Suburb—The Woodlands
Founded in the 1970s by famed Houston oilman George Mitchell, The Woodlands has transitioned from a nondescript outpost of the Greater Houston area into a thriving suburb where people can live, work, and play.
Over the decades, The Woodlands has evolved to comprise several neighborhoods and subdivisions that are complemented by the community's nexus of entertainment, business, and culture. Today, approximately 2,200 businesses including Exxon headquarters are located in The Woodlands.
With an array of water sports destinations, swimming pools, public art, and signature golf courses, there are plentiful things to do in the lush natural surroundings of The Woodlands.
To add on, The Woodlands was ranked first, two years consecutively (2021 and 2022) in Niche.com's ranking of the Best Cities to Live in America.
Other notable recognitions include:
- #2 of 228 Best Cities to Buy a House in the U.S.
- #2 of 228 Best Cities to Raise a Family in the U.S.
- #6 of 228 Best Cities to Retire in the U.S
- #6 of 228 Cities with the Best Public Schools in the U.S.
Pros of Living in The Woodlands
Proximity to Nature
For all The Woodlands has to offer, it has remained true to its name. The lush canopy of trees that line major thoroughfares even led one visiting architect to refer to The Woodlands as "the invisible city."
Over the years, the Arbor Day Foundation has given away over one million tree seedlings that are planted to enhance the community's forested landscape.
Today, the community's open space comprises at least 8,000 acres (28%) of the total 28,500 acres. Residents enjoy access to 146 neighborhood parks, over 160 miles of hike and bike trails as well as forested nature preserves.
On weekends, locals love to gather at the parks and nature reserves that dot the landscape including:
- George Mitchell Nature Preserve
- Montgomery County Preserve
- Spring Creek Nature Trail
- Burroughs Park
- Rob Fleming Park
Lifelong learning and excellence in education have always been the priority in the development of The Woodlands community. Whether you have school-age children or are looking for superior preschool options, great educational opportunities await the kids growing up in The Woodlands.
The three public school districts that serve The Woodlands include:
- Conroe Independent School District
- Magnolia Independent School District
- Tomball Independent School District
Along with the three ISDs are 10 private schools and 50 preschools.
For those looking to pursue higher educational opportunities, the Lone Star Colleges offer a variety of program choices. At least 30% of undergraduate students stand to gain financial aid including scholarships and grants for different degrees.
Real Estate Options
The Woodland real estate is divided into 10 "villages", with each village boasting a village association that is elected by residents.
Famed home builders have exploited the large lot sizes to create beautiful homes in a range of styles. Buyers will find everything from Mediterranean and Southern coastal, to Classic Ranch homes. One-storied homes, apartments, and condos stand alongside the Texas-sized dwellings.
But the biggest draw to The Woodlands real estate is the reliability of the community. Along with strict development guidelines, its founder George Mitchel intentionally designed The Woodlands to be inclusive.
The location of The Woodlands, 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, makes the city easily accessible from both the east and west coasts.
Only 30 minutes away from Downtown, The Woodlands offers an attractive destination thanks to its location further enough from the city's hustle and bustle. Yet it's close enough to commute daily to and fro, for those who work within the city and the outlying areas.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is only a quick trip away for those who need to run errands northward. Residents who want easy travel for business or vacations appreciate the location of the George Bush International Airport only 25 minutes away.
Entertainment and Amenities
Most of the action in The Woodlands revolves around the Town Center. The multi-venue hub features shopping, dining, and entertainment venues such as The Woodlands Mall and Market Street.
Keep the family busy all year round with a host of other community events including an art festival and a golf tournament. Besides community events, The Woodlands offers various recreational programs and multiple activities such as fishing, kayaking, and Tai Chi.
In case you're visiting The Woodlands for business or fun, a proper staycation here will demand a bit of water splashing. We suggest accommodation at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center where the pool includes a lazy river that snakes its way through the surrounding forest.
Cons of Living in The Woodlands
Beyond the Texas Piney woods, residents of The Woodlands have a huge traffic problem. Compared to the national average of 26.4 minutes, the average commute time in The Woodlands is 31.1 minutes.
According to a recent report, the city has over 27% of the most congested roads in the Greater Houston area. Due to the traffic congestion, the city loses $91 million in wasted time and fuel every year.
The traffic would be worse if it wasn't for the Hardy Toll road and alternative arteries such as Research Forest, Lake Woodlands, and Gosling.
The Woodlands Climate
Same as the rest of Texas, living in The Woodlands means contending with the heat and humidity. The average temperatures in the area range from 70° to 100° in the summer months of July and August.
At a constant level of 85% to 90%, humidity is also higher than normal. Additionally, the location near the east coast of the Gulf of Mexico makes The Woodlands susceptible to periodic hurricane winds and storms.
Cost of Living
Whereas the average price of gasoline is 7.8% cheaper in The Woodlands, the overall cost of living in the city is 17% higher than the U.S. average. Service costs also tend to be higher than the state average which is the same throughout the country.
Other living costs to consider include:
- Taxes - Though Texas has no income tax, the sales tax rate in The Woodlands is 8.2% while the average property tax is 1.8% of the home's value.
- Housing costs - Compared to a median home price of $428,700 in mid-2022, the median home price in The Woodlands is higher at $550,000.
Living in The Woodlands is far from perfect. The trade-off for an ultra-urban lifestyle is a well-balanced suburban living, where nature and the city are only moments away from embracing.
In addition, the master plan of the community has enabled the area to grow sustainably, moderating congestion and urban sprawl.
Ready to find your ideal home in a woody landscape? Head on over to our website to learn more about how VIP Realty can help you find a home suitable for your needs.Posted by NJeffu Mwaura on