Over the years, Fort Worth has endured sidekick status to Dallas. Too many times, people have forgotten about the FW in D-FW. Texas Motor Speedway is always thought to be in Dallas. Ironically, Fort Worth-born Larry Hagman grew up closer to Cowtown than Dallas, the TV show he made famous.
But this year, Fort Worth is getting the last laugh.
The city known as Cowtown topped the list of 10 North Texas cities that were chosen among the best 25 places to live in the state, according to a study by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate HomeCity.
Using criteria that included data from the U.S. Census, the FBI, and the Trust for Public Land, Fort Worth emerged No. 1, ahead of perennial top choice Plano. Dallas was eighth.
The rest of the rankings were the usual suspects: Frisco fourth, Irving sixth, McKinney 11th, Arlington 16th, Garland 17th, Denton 23rd, and Mesquite 24th.
“Yes, Fort Worth taking the top spot was definitely a surprise,” says Alexander Pfirrmann, who authored the study. “In all the other rankings I’ve seen while doing my research, Plano and Frisco were consistently at the top due to their extremely high median household incomes; however, Fort Worth was never No. 1 in any of those rankings.”
Pfirrmann, who was born and raised in Texas, had additional theories on Fort Worth’s exclusion.
“I believe the reason for this is that many of these listicle rankings are done by individuals who don’t actually live in Texas,” he says.
“In my study, I tied to take a holistic approach to the methodology and let the numbers guide me. I created an objective formula that removed as much opinion as possible and then rolled with the results the formula generated.”
Home shoppers should definitely see Fort Worth in a different light than Dallas, Pfirrmann says.
“Dallas is the more established, mature city whose growth is beginning to stagnate and whose density is beginning to influence its big city feel,” he says. “Fort Worth is the higher growth, younger city whose rise is still in the works and whose best days are still ahead.”
HomeCity, an Austin-based real-estate company with agents and online listings, crunched the numbers on quality of life, affordability, growth, food and parks. Two statistics stood out for Pfirrmann: growth and lower crime.
Pfirrmann says Fort Worth’s population is growing at almost double the rate of Dallas (22.1 percent vs. 12.2 percent annually). In 2018, Fort Worth saw 520 violent crimes per 100,000 residents while Dallas saw a rate of 803 per 100,000 residents, according to the FBI Crime Database.
In its synopsis of the ranking, HomeCity lists Dallas as having one of the busiest airports in the world. In reality, if it’s referring to D/FW International Airport, the airport is in portions of Tarrant and Dallas counties. Downtown Fort Worth is 20 miles away and Dallas 23. Again, not top billing for the FW.
Rusty Hall, a real-estate agent for Century 21 Judge Fite, has lived in Fort Worth most of his 60 years and can confirm the cost of living attracts many out-of-state home shoppers.
“Compared to the East and West coasts, they’re saving a lot of money — the housing prices are incredible bargains for people,” Hall says. “And there’s so much to do.”
Hall listed the advantages he appreciates: professional and college sports teams within 30 minutes, lake recreation, and arts and culture. In addition, you can fly to anywhere in the U.S. in 3.5 hours or less out of nearby D/FW International Airport, he says. The Stockyards is an attraction that makes it “feel like you’ve gone back in time.”
“It’s a big city, but it still has a small-town feel,” he says.
The full rankings are available here with additional information about the study’s methodology.
No, Forbes, Dallas Retirees Would Find Cowboys Elsewhere
Have you given thought to retiring in Dallas? Maybe you should, according to Forbes’ lastest findings.
Forbes chose Dallas on its list of best 25 cities to retire in the U.S. Forbes lists Dallas for the usual reasons that North Texas cities make these listicles: low median home price, and no state income tax or estate taxes. Forbes also favors Dallas’ cultural activities and venues in addition to climate and air quality. San Antonio was the other Texas city to make the list.
Forbes compared more than 750 U.S. locales, measuring factors from housing costs and taxes to healthcare and air quality.
One major mistake in the rankings: Forbes points out that Dallas is the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Wrong. The franchise lists its physical address as Frisco and plays its home games, of course, in AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Inside Median Home Sales Data
Some good news and bad news to consider in increases shown in August median home sales data in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area.
First, the good news: The area’s median home listing price increased to $360,000, higher than the nationwide median of $350,000, Realtor.com reported. The bad news: The market’s median home sales listing price was up 3.5 percent compared to a year ago, but lower than the 10 percent registered nationally. The national increase was the largest in 15 years, according to Realtor.com.
In Texas, the Austin-Round Rock area saw an increase in listing prices of 10.7 percent more than last year. San Antonio was up 5.9 percent and Houston 5.3 percent.
August home sales inventories in the DFW area have dropped more than 40 percent over a year ago, Realtor.com reports show.
… In Other News
- DFW newly pending sales are 26.2 percent higher than last year, according to the Zillow Weekly Market Report. New listings are down 13.1 percent compared to last year. Total inventory is down 28.1 percent from a year ago. Homes that sold went under contract after an average of 23 days, 11 days faster than a year ago. The median list price is up 4.2 percent year over year to $359,400.
- This region isn’t doing well when it comes to most livable state capitals. SmartAsset recently released its 2020 list and Austin fell from eighth to 13th. Capitals were ranked according to median income after housing costs, the May 2020 unemployment rate, the concentration of dining and entertainment establishments, and violent and property crime rates. Austin ranked one notch below Sante Fe, N.M. But the capitals of other states that neighbor Texas scored low. Oklahoma City was 47th, Little Rock, Ark., was 49th, and Baton Rouge, La., was 50th.
- Where is the hottest ZIP code based on the time it takes properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed in each ZIP code on Realtor.com? Well, only two Texas cities made the top 50: Grand Prairie (75050) showed at No. 27, ahead of Austin (78749), which was No. 38.
- September is National Realtor Safety Month and the National Association of Realtors is promoting its safety awareness protocols for real-estate agents across the country. NAR is presenting webinars and other safety resources (including the video below) on its website.