Most of the big Texas cities, including Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, have boomed since 2011, adding thousands to their populations and seeing their home prices rise substantially. El Paso is somewhat of an anomaly in that regard. Its growth has been much slower, and its housing prices have been flat. The west Texas city, however, has plenty going for it. Despite bordering Juarez, Mexico, a city known for brutal violence inflicted by warring drug cartels, El Paso boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the United States. Its unemployment rate has hovered below the national average for most of the 21st century, never crossing 9% even during the depths of the Great Recession; it sat at 4.4% as of April 2016. The city's stable economy is aided by its diversified business base and strong military presence.

El Paso home price appreciation has been gradual since 2011, though to be fair, the city was largely impervious to the massive price drops that plagued most of the country in 2008. Moreover, low housing prices offer an advantage to prospective residents looking for an affordable place to which to relocate. A middle-class family has many more housing options from which to choose in El Paso than in a more expensive city such as Austin.

Market Insights

In early 2011, the median home sales price in El Paso hovered around $125,000. By early 2016, this price had risen to nearly $150,000. Much of this increase occurred in 2012, when both prices and sales volume came off their recession lows and began to rebound significantly. The city features a median household income slightly above $40,000. A typical middle-class or working-class family enjoys abundant housing options in El Paso and is not priced out of owning a home.

Seasonal fluctuations in home prices and sales volume are moderate in El Paso. Most years, prices rise slightly during the spring and summer months as demand picks up and more buying activity occurs. During the fall and winter months prices remain flat or recede slightly amid weaker demand.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Exact property tax rates in El Paso County, which includes the city of El Paso, depend on where in the county and in what school district a home is located. As a general rule, an El Paso homeowner should expect to pay annual property taxes equivalent to roughly 2 to 2.25% of his home's market value. The county carries one of the highest effective property tax rates in the state. On the bright side, Texas imposes no transfer taxes.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

The west side of El Paso features many of the city's more exclusive neighborhoods. Surrounding the El Paso Country Club is an enclave of palatial homes, many of which carry price tags of $1 million or higher when they hit the market. The Coronado Country Club area also features luxurious housing that, price-wise, remains out of reach for all but the city's wealthiest residents. Just south of the El Paso Country Club are two more neighborhoods, The Willows and Stonehenge, that feature houses with seven-figure price tags, but also smaller and more reasonably priced homes.

Top Real Estate Websites

Those interested in El Paso real estate enjoy numerous online resources to assist with their search. ElPasoTX.com, the website for the Greater El Paso Association of Realtors, offers a free MLS search function, a rental search option, and a listing of registered real estate agents in the El Paso area. CasaByOwner.com features a robust database of El Paso homes that are for sale by owners, rather than through real estate agents.

In addition to those options, national real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com provide abundant information on El Paso real estate, both individual homes for sale and broader market trends in the area.

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