Everyone wants to move to Texas, what former President George W. Bush calls “The Promised Land.”
And really, it is. Texas welcomed 400,000 new people in 2016, the largest population increase in the country. The U.S. Census says the state hit a total population of 28.3 million people between July 2016 and July 2017. Come the 2020 census, it will likely pick up additional congressional seats. Hence the blazing hot real estate market—all those people have to live somewhere.
About 60,000 people moved to North Texas between 2015 and 2016. By North Texas, I mean the 12 counties and cities that bubble out from the Dallas/Fort Worth (or, as Fort Worthians say, Fort Worth/Dallas) hub stretching over 9,286 square miles, the largest inland land area in the U.S. And it is spreading out like crazy: Frisco and McKinney were the fastest growing suburbs in the U.S. last year. That’s why acres of homes and apartments are exploding in former farm stops such as Frisco. American pioneers driving cattle north settled in the area around the railroad station in Frisco, which has seen its population grow from 6,000 in 1990 to almost 200,000 today. Priding itself as one of the Lone Star state’s most innovative communities, the mayor, Jeff Cheney, is a realtor. The city is even launching the states’ first free driverless car program this summer with a Mountain View, California company called Drive.ai. When asked why they chose to launch in North Texas over the Bay area, Drive.ai company reps said “less regulation, and the city bent over backward to accommodate us.”
That’s a familiar refrain. When I moved here from New York City more than 38 years ago, I was bowled over by the mild winters (we picnicked in January), entrepreneurial spirit, sunshine, trees and the big, beautiful homes. They were majestic, decorated to the nines like a non-stop feed of Architectural Digest, all for a fraction of the price of a Manhattan one-bedroom. Summers are hot, but either you leave town or cool the outdoors with misters and chilled swimming pools during July and August.
In case you, too, are considering making a move to North Texas, here are 12 things you should know:
1. Texans are big on homeownership. Of half a million households in Dallas, nearly 44% own their own homes.
2. The most expensive home in Dallas, the 25-plus acre Crespi Estate, sold last December for $36.2 million at auction. It was once listed for $135 million when Tom and Cinda Hicks owned it. Hicks sold it to local banker billionaire Andy Beal, who also bought another signature Dallas property, the Highland Park estate of the late, great real estate developer Trammell Crow, for about $34 million (price tag was $46 million). Apparently not needing two multi-million dollar estates within a few miles of each other, Beal sold the Crespi. The Crespi estate backs up to the gated neighborhood of former president George W. Bush, on Daria Drive.
3. North Texas has rolling estate properties, and in some areas, you can still keep horses right in town–one horse per acre, please.
4. The housing options are diverse, from one-quarter to half-acre single-family homes built in the 1950’s to townhomes and high rises across the vast “Metroplex,” which is as big as the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Fort Worth has elegant mansions built on oil fortunes; folks there are also restoring vintage 1920s bungalows. Price points in Fort Worth are a bit lower than Dallas.
Head north to the fast-growing Frisco-McKinney-Allen area, where Toyota USA chose to move its North American headquarters, and you can find swaths of newly constructed housing, much of it cookie cutter, but some of it uniquely contemporary, in planned communities. Example: MainVue Homes, out of Henley, Australia. But Frisco and McKinney’s hottest neighborhoods right now are vintage homes, all within walking distance to restaurants and boutiques.