Southlake has a lot going for it: A highly rated school system, quality shopping and dining, community spirit, transportation access — and that’s just the obvious suburban amenities.
Now, Southlake is a consistent performer in WalletHub’s ranking of the top 150 Best Small Cities in America. In WalletHub’s latest rankings, Southlake rose to No. 8, best in North Texas, and an improvement of six spots from 2019. In 2018, Southlake ranked in the top one percent.
Keller, which borders Southlake to the west and where Southlake Boulevard transitions into Keller Parkway, ranked 60th overall and fifth on the housing costs list.
Little Elm is ranked 61st, Allen 62nd, Flower Mound 83rd and Coppell 100th. Sugar Land was tops in Texas at fifth.
Rankings were based on 43 factors, ranging from housing costs and school-system quality to restaurants per capita and COVID-19 cases in the last seven days per 100,000 residents. WalletHub considered 1,200 small cities across the country with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. Southlake, which incorporated in 1956, has a population of about 32,000.
Southlake ranked first in two metrics: lowest housing costs and highest household median income ($230,700). Housing costs is a composite metric weighing median home price and median annual gross rent with median annual household income.
“People are passionate about moving to Southlake,” says Renee Ongaro, an agent for Ebby Halliday Realtors in Southlake. “Southlake is absolutely one of the most coveted cities or towns to sell in.”
Southlake also ranked sixth in economic health, 14th in affordability, 191st in safety, 521st in quality of life, and 569th in education.
Carroll ISD is the top draw for clients, Ongaro says.
“People are very specific about what schools they want in Carroll ISD,” she says.
In the latest SchoolDigger rankings, Southlake was No. 1 out of 897 cities with the best schools. Carroll ISD was first among school districts. Among elementary schools, Old Union and Carroll elementary schools were 1-2. George Dawson Middle School was 10th among middle schools.
School spirit is evident when driving through Southlake. Logo stickers for the Carroll Senior High School’s football mascot, the Dragons, are on nearly every SUV. The football team is a perennial state and national power. Dragon Stadium, when COVID-19 protocols weren’t in place, is a gathering place to tailgate in the fall. The school’s spirit squad, the Emerald Belles Drill Team, made it to the quarterfinals of the NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Southlake Style, the community magazine that serves the Southlake area, came up with an interesting and telling list of 10 truths about living there.
As far as shopping and dining, “You can find everything at your fingertips,” Ongaro says.
The city has typical suburban shopping and dining fare, but with a few more upscale options. Southlake Town Square has them neatly packaged with more selections along Southlake Boulevard.
Ongaro points out another convenience: Southlake has easy commuter access and a clear shot east on Texas 114 to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
“A lot of people who travel and access to the airport is very important,” she says. “Access to 114 can get you anywhere in the Metroplex.”
Ongaro also pointed out the Solana business park, which includes Sabre Holdings and TD Ameritrade, off Texas 114 as a plus. Town Square was also the site for seasonal festivals before COVID-19.
“It always continues to surprise me how Southlake and such a sense of community and continues to have that small-town feel,” she says. “People love that.”