Whether it’s fried okra or contemporary art, a night at the opera or a day at the Texas Motor Speedway, anyone shopping for a place to live in America today may find something to love in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.
In the decade between the 2010 and 2020 Census counts, the city’s population grew by about 350 people a day, from 6.4 to 7.6 million, so that DFW now ranks as the city’s fourth-largest metropolitan area. It’s expected to hit 10 million by the 2030s, and it’s on track to surpass Chicago to become the country’s third-largest metro.
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A ‘magnet’ city
No wonder the experts at PwC and the Urban Land Institute classify it as a “magnet” among the “Super Sun Belt” cities, which have powerhouse economies that have attracted migrants from around the country.
“It’s not your grandfather’s Texas, where the economy was all energy,” says Moody’s economist Edward Friedman. “Austin is really capturing everybody’s attention, with people saying it’s the state’s Silicon Valley, but Dallas is right there. Dallas has more IT jobs than Austin, just because Dallas is such a larger metro area.
“You hear about catchy little companies going to Austin,” he added, “and it’s all true, but there are probably a similar number growing up in Dallas.”
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Housing prices rise, but are still reasonable
The metroplex has seen its housing prices make historic leaps during the pandemic, rising 25.1 percent since February 2020. In Dallas County proper, the median home price in January 2022 was $315,000, up more than 16 percent year over year.
Robyn Bullard, a real estate broker, has been living in the metroplex for some 40 years.
“Dallas is a fabulous place,” she says. “Our job market is strong, our economy is good, and our cost of living is still reasonable. I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t invest in our real estate.”
Would-be investors should know that, as in many competitive markets around the country, the gloves are off when homes come on the market.
“We don’t have any inventory,” says Bullard, “and when we do, it’s a fist fight. It’s a good old-fashioned showdown. That said, it’s still a fabulous place for investors — if they know what they’re doing.”
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A ‘terrific market’ for rental investments
It’s a terrific market for investors in rental housing, says Bullard.
“A gigantic portion of Dallasites are renters, so houses rent within days,” she said. “The biggest part of our population is between 35 and 50, but just under that is people from 25 to 35, who, on the whole, are still renting.”
Bullard recommends five neighborhoods that stand out as safe bets for those looking to invest in rental properties.
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1. Bryan Place
- Median listing price: $530,000
- Year-over-year increase: 86 percent
- Median days on market in January 2022: 60, down from 136 year over year
Named for Dallas’s founder, John Neely Bryan, this neighborhood lies east of Route 75 in Old East Dallas, and close to the arts district.
“The whole area is being rebuilt, tearing down buildings from the ’40s and ’50s and building new condos,” says Bullard.
“I love Bryan Place. It’s so close to the city’s entertainment and all the fun places to be, so the rental rates are really high,” she says. “Homes rent in a matter of minutes.” Investors should expect to spend at least $350,000.
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2. Munger Place Historic District
- Median listing price: $738,000
- Year-over-year increase: 14.4 percent
- Median days on market, November 2021: 41, down from 52 a year prior
“This is one of the prettiest places in Dallas,” says Bullard. “It’s close to all the fun things and it has a good job market, but it’s not built out yet, not landlocked. It’s still being refurbished, so you’ll see old houses from the ’40s, and you can still buy land and build.”
Like nearby Bryan Place, it’s also in Old East Dallas.
One of Dallas’s first suburbs, it’s named for cotton gin manufacturer Robert S. Munger. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places and has the largest collection of Prairie-Style homes in America.
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- Median listing price: $471,200
- Year-over-year increase: 23.4 percent
- Median days on market: 43, down from 46 a year prior
The Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex is made up of a number of independent cities. The cities in north Dallas are responsible for some of the major growth in the metro area. Allen, in Collin County, is one of them.
“In Allen, the schools are good, the jobs are good, and what the community offers is good, so it’s very popular,” says Bullard. It has grown explosively, from 659 people in the 1960 Census count to about 44,000 in 2000 and about 105,000 in 2020.
Allen is just 30 miles northeast of DFW airport and the same distance from Dallas Love Field Airport. There is ongoing discussion about extending the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system into Allen.
The city has one historic claim to fame: in 1878, a gang led by the notorious Sam Bass pulled off what is said to be the state’s first train robbery here.
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- Median listing price: $522,500
- Increase year-over-year: 20.1 percent
- Median days on market: 48, down from 61 a year prior
Spurred by the 1974 opening of DFW airport (a small part of which is actually in Coppell’s limits), Coppell quickly grew from a tiny farming village to an affluent suburb. These days, says Bullard, “When millennials move out of a high-rise and want to have families and live near good schools, this is where they look to live. It’s very family friendly.”
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