Rockwall Makes Money Magazine’s Top-10, and Jason Castro Couldn’t Agree More

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One of Rockwall’s biggest attractions is its Harbor District (Google Maps)

Want to live the good life in North Texas? According to Money, you should head to Rockwall.

The Dallas-Fort Worth suburb made it into the top five in Money‘s list of Best Places to Live in America.

In rankings released Tuesday, Rockwall was fourth, making its Money list debut based on its “status as one of the fastest-growing cities in one of the nation’s fastest-growing states.” Last year, no D-FW city made Money‘s top 10.

But Rockwall joined No. 25 New Braunfels in this year’s list.

According to Money, Rockwall has experienced 19 percent job growth over the past five years and is projected to grow another 17 percent in the next five.

There’s also that cool Harbor District that fronts Lake Ray Hubbard.

“You can drive your boat right up and enjoy the amenities,” says Jason Castro, a Dallas-based real-estate agent who grew up in the Rockwall area. “It’s got a lot to offer and still has a much slower pace.”

Castro, who was a fourth-place finalist on Fox’s American Idol in 2008, says “Rockwall has been one of D-FW’s best-kept secrets.

Jason Castro

“It’s only a 20- to 30-minute commute from Dallas.”

Lake Ray Hubbard is the anchor, says Diane Lipps, a Rockwall-based independent real-estate agent.

“We have the lakefront homes, and it’s just really a magnet for people who want to check out the lake.”

Lipps says a lot of clients are looking at Rockwall for the full spectrum of amenities — “second homes, retirement community, school-age, new beginning couples.

“We have a whole range of amenities,” she says. “And Rockwall still keeps its charm. It’s a welcoming kind of town.”

Rockwall Economic Development Corporation president Phil Wagner says the recognition is a big positive for marketing the city.

“For us, it’s always a good thing for someone on the outside to validate what we already knew — that Rockwall is a special place,” he says. “It’s also good that they’re looking at the right metrics.”

Money ranked communities based on factors such as safety, cost of living, and diversity. The publication analyzed a list of 1,890 communities with a population of at least 25,000. It also considered 115 separate data points on each community’s economy, housing market, education system, employment, weather, and more.

The methodology accounted for countywide unemployment and housing distress as a result of COVID-19, factors and demographics to ensure this year’s list was racially diverse.

Money‘s ranking algorithm spit out Evans, Georgia, at No. 1, ahead of Parker, Colorado, and Meridian, Idaho.

Rockwall’s recovery from pandemic-related job losses contributed to its ranking. According to Money, the local unemployment rate was 7.2 percent compared to a national average of 11.1 percent.

The eastern suburb’s spot on the list also shook the Dallas-Fort Worth’s one-year slump of missing out in Money‘s top-10. Last year, Wylie was ranked 26th. In 2018, Frisco topped the magazine’s list and Flower Mound was 16th.

In 2017, Allen was second, Grapevine 19th, Wylie 20th, and Bedford 23rd.
As for Rockwall, will inclusion into this list mean increased business for real-estate agents?

“I think so,” says Castro, who estimates he gets about 30 percent of his business from the Rockwall area. “It’s already sought-after. If you live in the area and within the region, it’s very desirable.

“There’s a lot of demand to be there.”

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Tommy Cummings

Tommy Cummings covers the North Texas housing market for Tommy moved to Texas from Oklahoma in 1992 and has lived in Mansfield with his wife, Brigitte, and son, Beaumont, since 2002 (after a two-year adventure in California as a tech columnist/editor at the San Francisco Chronicle). Tommy started his media career at newspapers in Oklahoma before becoming an editor in many capacities at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News, where he wrapped up his newsroom career as a digital editor. His work has appeared in news outlets throughout the U.S.

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