We wanted to get some boots-on-the-ground perspective from North Texas Realtors after Forbes named Fort Worth-Arlington and Dallas-Plano-Irving as the top two “best buy cities,” or areas in the U.S. where buying a home is a good investment. Forbes teamed up with Local Market Monitor to measure the “equilibrium home price,” which strips away several layers of market influence such as speculation and the cyclical boom-bust nature of housing.
Fort Worth-Arlington, Tex., and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Tex., top the list of our Best Buy Cities, at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Both cities offer homes that would be within reach for middle-class Americans, at $168,383 in Fort Worth-Arlington and $180,645 in greater Dallas. Prices in greater Fort Worth are considered 20% below their actual value, according to Local Market Monitor. Homes in the greater Dallas region are 12% down, so less off, but they are expected to rise more–29%–over the next three years.
For buyers who intend to rent out their homes, the populations in these cities are growing at a healthy clip: from 2009 to 2012, at 4.9% in Fort Worth and 6.1% in Dallas. At that rate, Dallas is tied for the fastest-growing city on the Best Buy Cities list. It’s ranked fifth in terms of job growth, at 3% as of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics stats.
While we do like our reports from Local Market Monitor, which give clear investment outlooks, our major sticking point with broad surveys such as this one is that real estate markets are hyper-local, meaning that West Plano could be having an outstanding year, with tons of price increases and new development, but on the other side of U.S. 75, growth may not be as great. The same holds true for neighborhoods such as Berkeley Place in Fort Worth, where some homes are reaching price peaks never seen before, while northern Fort Worth suburbs may be struggling to break even.
Still, Realtors remain optimistic, pointing to growth across all price points and through many different developments. Condos are up, single-family homes are up, new homes are up, and investment buyers are out of control.
“The fact that Dallas, Plano, and Irving are named as the No. 2 metro area to buy a home for investment in the U.S. is no surprise at all,” says Vivo Realty founder David Maez, who is based in Plano. “Our job market is, and always has been one of the best in the nation. That together with low cost of living, a high percentage of renters, and good schools, it’s an investor’s dream.”
Maez specializes in the northern suburbs of Dallas, where you’ll see tons of single family homes for sale and for rent, in his area, Realtors are noticing tons of activity on MLS for buyers and for renters. Maez is currently working with many investors, both local and out-of-state, all of which are looking to capitalize on the North Texas market.
“In the field we are seeing no more than 10 to 15 days on the market for a good lease, sometimes leasing on the same day. Supplement to that, home prices are also very affordable — you can find an amazing home here for $160K to $200K,” Maez added. “So whether you’re looking to purchase your first home or are a first-time investor looking to pick-up a rental, this is an amazing market to do so.”