You may be looking to move to a place with warmer weather, or you may seek a big city that offers just about everything, including a strong job market. Either way, Dallas should be a top contender on your list.
A major city with jobs in many industries, Dallas also offers affordability compared to many cities its size and has a reputation as a place full of opportunity. Before you make your decision, here’s what you should know about moving to Dallas.
Should You Move to Dallas?
With a number of major employers either headquartered or with major operations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, it’s not hard to find yourself considering Dallas. Exxon Mobil, AT&T, American Airlines Group, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments and Tenet Healthcare are just a handful of the companies that call the Dallas area home.
Be it for work or other reasons, plenty of people are deciding to move to Dallas. Between 2013 and 2017, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area grew by 5.7% due to net migration alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With a population of more than 7 million, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is the largest place to see such rapid growth during that period out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S.
The area's median annual salary is $51,250, slightly above the national median of $50,620, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Considering that Texas does not collect income tax from residents, more of your money can be used to cover housing costs, entertainment and savings.
How to Move to Dallas
Finding a place to live when you're far away can be much easier if you tap the expertise of a local real estate agent who can help you find the right city, neighborhood and property within this expansive metro area.
Nitin Gupta, a Realtor with Competitive Edge Realty, based in Plano, Texas, says he focuses on the buyer’s job location, budget, type of house desired and the list of amenities a person can or can’t live without to narrow down the search.
Much of the initial house hunting happens online. “At least 50% (of relocating buyers) just come once, and we’re able to find something. But that does take a lot of legwork in advance,” Gupta says.
Here’s what you need to know about moving to Dallas:
- This big-city cost of living is relatively low.
- Housing inventory is growing.
- Cities and neighborhoods vary widely.
- It’s not the Wild West.
- Prepare for high sales and property taxes.
- You’ll be driving a lot.
This Big-City Cost of Living Is Relatively Low
The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is the fourth-most populous in the U.S., following New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, but it’s the most affordable option compared to the other three. Dallas-Fort Worth residents pay 22.63% of the area's median household income for housing, while in Chicago residents need 24.96% of their household income to cover the cost of living, and both New York and Los Angeles require roughly 30% each.
If purchasing a home is outside your budget, consider renting. The median monthly rent in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is $1,022, based on long-term data from real estate information company Zillow.
Housing Inventory Is Growing
The population growth that the Dallas area is experiencing would in many cities make it hard to afford a home, but this area has long been a leader in construction, helping keep supply and demand in balance.
That doesn’t mean the Dallas area has been immune to the factors that drive up the cost of new home construction elsewhere. Development still tends to focus on high-priced homes.
“Texas has led the nation in new home construction for the last several years,” Jim Gaines, chief economist for the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center, said in a press release. “However, as in other states, land costs, a shortage of labor, and development financing have been limitations on affordable residential development.”
The Real Estate Center predicts that the Dallas area will likely see an 8.7% increase in new home construction permits in 2020, which will in turn increase the number of home sales as people continue to move to the area.
Cities and Neighborhoods Vary Widely
Everything from your cost of living to general experience can vary widely based on what city or neighborhood you decide to call home within the vast Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
In the city of Dallas, the median home price as of the end of October 2019 was $316,300, according to Zillow. In Fort Worth, the price was $224,500.
In smaller cities, you can find more luxury housing options and more entry-level choices, depending on what fits your budget. For example, the median sale price at the end of October 2019 in Garland was $204,300, while in Prosper it was $458,100.
With so many options, it’s important to work with an agent who is familiar with the entire metro area, and who can help you narrow your search. Gupta notes some suburbs are better fits if you’re looking for a new-construction house, because they’re seeing significant development, while others offer the historic charm of older properties.
It’s Not the Wild West
Before moving to Dallas, you don't need to stock up on cowboy hats and oversize belt buckles. Gupta says many people who haven’t visited the city before expect “cowboys running around in Dallas, but it’s actually very cosmopolitan.”
You may find some Texas accents in Dallas, but the fact that the city attracts people from all over the country – and the world – means you may not even hear that as much as you would in other parts of Texas.
Prepare for High Sales and Property Taxes
There’s no state income tax, but you’ll find yourself paying more to the state in different ways. A house worth $129,700 in Dallas County, where Dallas is located, requires about $2,827 in annual property taxes, according to tax resource Tax-Rates.org.
The sales tax rate in both Dallas and Fort Worth is 8.25%, with 6.25% going to the state, and the remainder levied for individual local uses.
You’ll Be Driving a Lot
Expect the drive from one end of the metro area to another to take a while, especially during rush hour. You likely won’t be interested in traveling that far on a daily basis, though. As Gupta says: “You can drive for an hour and still be in the city of Dallas.”
Dallas Area Rapid Transit offers multiple options for those looking to ditch the car, including local buses, multiple train lines and streetcar and trolley options to get around, travel between cities and commute to the airport. Still, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as little as 1% of the local population takes public transportation for their daily commute, while 91% report driving to and from work.
The Best Places to Live in 2019
What are the best qualities of your hometown? It may be that it’s easy to get around, there are plenty of job opportunities or it attracts new residents every year. To determine the Best Places to Live rankings, U.S. News looks at data on the country’s 125 most populous metro areas, including the cost of living, job market, crime rates, quality of education and more. The data is weighted based on the responses from a survey of more than 2,000 people throughout the U.S. to determine what matters most to them when picking their next place to live. Read on for the 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019.
Updated on May 17, 2019: This slideshow was originally published on April 9, 2019, and has been updated to reflect a change to the methodology in the desirability category, which did not affect the overall Best Places to Live rankings.25. Melbourne, Florida
25. Melbourne, Florida
Metro Population: 568,183
Median Home Price: $198,425
Median Annual Salary: $48,240
After ranking No. 29 in 2018, Melbourne moves up four spots this year, in part due to its rapid growth in population and high-quality high school education. The Quality of Life score for Best Places to Live factors in college preparedness among high school students, access to quality health care, property crime and murder rates, morning commute and overall well-being.24. Salt Lake City
24. Salt Lake City
Metro Population: 2,399,521
Median Home Price: $324,198
Median Annual Salary: $47,272
Salt Lake City is recognized for its strong job market, ability to attract new residents and overall quality of life. The biggest contributor to the Utah capital’s ranking at No. 24 is its affordability. Salt Lake City residents spend just 22.14% of the median household income on housing costs, which includes mortgage payments, rent, property taxes and utilities.23. Portland, Maine
23. Portland, Maine
Metro Population: 525,776
Median Home Price: $223,367
Median Annual Salary: $48,970
The most populous metro area in Maine may be one of the smaller places in the top 25, but Portland residents are quite happy. Of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S., Portland ranks sixth on the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, which asks residents how they feel about their hometown.22. Greenville, South Carolina
22. Greenville, South Carolina
Metro Population: 872,463
Median Home Price: $172,067
Median Annual Salary: $43,230
Situated in the mountains of South Carolina, Greenville takes the No. 22 spot on the list. Greenville gets its best score for affordability. Residents of the metro area benefit from having to spend just 21.44% of the median household income on housing expenses.21. Dallas-Fort Worth
21. Dallas-Fort Worth
Metro Population: 7,104,415
Median Home Price: $248,375
Median Annual Salary: $51,250
The most populous metro area in the top 25, Dallas-Fort Worth’s highest score is for population growth due to net migration. The Dallas-Fort Worth area grew by 5.7% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.20. Charlotte, North Carolina
20. Charlotte, North Carolina
Metro Population: 2,427,024
Median Home Price: $213,983
Median Annual Salary: $50,150
Moving up two spots from 2018, Charlotte gets its highest score from fast and sustained population growth. The Charlotte metro area grew by 7.06% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration alone.19. Washington, D.C.
19. Washington, D.C.
Metro Population: 6,090,196
Median Home Price: $376,767
Median Annual Salary: $69,210
After ranking No. 8 on the 2018 Best Places to Live list, the District of Columbia fell back this year to No. 19. While the nation’s capital continues to have a strong job market and high median annual salary, the area’s cost of living has increased and net migration slowed between 2013 and 2017. The metro area grew by just 1.88% due to net migration during that time period.18. Sarasota, Florida
18. Sarasota, Florida
Metro Population: 768,381
Median Home Price: $237,260
Median Annual Salary: $42,680
After ranking No. 34 in 2018, this metro area on the Gulf Coast of Florida jumps 16 spots to No. 18. Sarasota is the third-fastest growing metro area out of the 125 places on the list. Between 2013 and 2017, Sarasota saw a population increase of 13.1% due to net migration.17. Boise, Idaho
17. Boise, Idaho
Metro Population: 677,346
Median Home Price: $221,475
Median Annual Salary: $43,880
Idaho’s capital makes the list with high scores for population growth due to net migration and housing affordability compared with its median annual household income. Boise’s lowest score, however, is in desirability among U.S. residents when considering where they would want to live.16. Asheville, North Carolina
16. Asheville, North Carolina
Metro Population: 445,625
Median Home Price: $248,500
Median Annual Salary: $41,210
Set in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville receives its highest score for desirability, where it ranks 16th out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. Additionally, the Asheville area grew by 6.16% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration.15. Nashville, Tennessee
15. Nashville, Tennessee
Metro Population: 1,830,410
Median Home Price: $248,883
Median Annual Salary: $47,110
Nashville takes the No. 15 spot overall, with many U.S. residents viewing the Tennessee metro area as a desirable place to live. People are also acting on that feeling, as Nashville has grown by 6.88% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration alone.14. San Jose, California
14. San Jose, California
Metro Population: 1,969,897
Median Home Price: $1,080,017
Median Annual Salary: $77,180
The capital of Silicon Valley climbs three spots from No. 17 in 2018. With a median annual salary of $77,180 and an unemployment rate of just 2.6%, San Jose continues its reign as the metro area with the strongest job market out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S.13. Grand Rapids, Michigan
13. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Metro Population: 1,039,182
Median Home Price: $181,533
Median Annual Salary: $44,770
Grand Rapids ranks sixth out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for affordability. The western Michigan metro area also scores highly for quality of life, which takes into account the quality of public high school education, commute time, property crime and murder rates and general happiness among residents, per the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index.12. Madison, Wisconsin
12. Madison, Wisconsin
Metro Population: 640,072
Median Home Price: $247,967
Median Annual Salary: $52,190
Madison takes the No. 12 spot in the Best Places to Live ranking, in large part due to the metro area’s job market. Madison residents benefit from a median annual salary of $52,190, which is above the national average of $50,620. The unemployment rate, at 2.2%, is 1.7% better than the national average of 3.9%.11. Huntsville, Alabama
11. Huntsville, Alabama
Metro Population: 444,908
Median Home Price: $167,300
Median Annual Salary: $53,600
Huntsville is the smallest metro area in the top 25 Best Places to Live. This northern Alabama metro area is the most affordable place to live out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. and offers a flourishing job market, with many local companies focused on science, technology, engineering and math.10. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
10. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
Metro Population: 1,824,266
Median Home Price: $249,294
Median Annual Salary: $53,788
The Raleigh and Durham metro area continues to be an attractive place for people to relocate, thanks to its affordability and job market. Research, technology, education and health care are consistently growing industries in the area.9. Seattle
Metro Population: 3,735,216
Median Home Price: $442,333
Median Annual Salary: $63,120
Moving up one spot from 2018, Seattle ranks No. 9 this year thanks to its consistently strong job market and high desirability among U.S. residents as a place to live. The job market contributes to its reputation as a great place to live, with Seattle ranking seventh out of the 125 metro areas on the list for desirability.8. Portland, Oregon
8. Portland, Oregon
Metro Population: 2,382,037
Median Home Price: $375,425
Median Annual Salary: $55,330
U.S. residents view Portland as a highly desirable place to live, with the city taking the No. 1 spot in that category in a four-way tie with Colorado Springs, Colorado, Honolulu and San Francisco. Additionally, a strong job market and consistent growth in population due to net migration over a five-year period leads to the Rose City’s rise in the rankings.7. San Francisco
7. San Francisco
Metro Population: 4,641,820
Median Home Price: $768,517
Median Annual Salary: $69,700
Ranking No. 20 in 2018, San Francisco jumped to No. 7 this year. San Francisco continues to have a strong job market, and even more U.S. residents are saying they would like to live in the City by the Bay. San Francisco received a perfect score for desirability.6. Minneapolis-St. Paul
6. Minneapolis-St. Paul
Metro Population: 3,526,149
Median Home Price: $237,367
Median Annual Salary: $56,030
Minnesota’s Twin Cities metro area takes the No. 6 spot, continuing its climb up the rankings after scoring No. 9 in 2018 and No. 17 in 2017. A major reason for Minneapolis-St. Paul’s jump is the metro area’s low cost of living. Area residents spend just 21.5% of the median household income on housing expenses.5. Des Moines, Iowa
5. Des Moines, Iowa
Metro Population: 623,113
Median Home Price: $178,942
Median Annual Salary: $50,600
Des Moines takes the No. 5 spot this year, with continued growth in its job market, sustained net migration to the metro area and solid quality of life scores. Des Moines also maintains a low cost of living compared to the median household income.4. Fayetteville, Arkansas
4. Fayetteville, Arkansas
Metro Population: 514,166
Median Home Price: $177,942
Median Annual Salary: $45,830
This fast-growing metro area in Arkansas has long been a strong contender in the Best Places to Live ranking – and this year is no different. A low cost of living compared with household income, strong population growth due to net migration and high quality of life scores all contribute to Fayetteville’s No. 4 ranking in 2019.3. Colorado Springs, Colorado
3. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Metro Population: 698,595
Median Home Price: $286,700
Median Annual Salary: $50,050
At No. 3 in the overall Best Places to Live list, Colorado Springs also shares the top spot for desirability as a place to live among U.S. residents with San Francisco, Honolulu and Portland, Oregon. High marks for college preparedness among high school students and a consistently strong job market help Colorado Springs rank near the top of the list this year.2. Denver
Metro Population: 2,798,684
Median Home Price: $393,842
Median Annual Salary: $57,400
After taking the No. 3 spot in 2018 behind Colorado Springs, Denver is back in second place in 2019. Denver remains desirable to U.S. residents and has a flourishing job market, but migration to the area has slowed over the last couple years.1. Austin, Texas
1. Austin, Texas
Metro Population: 2,000,590
Median Home Price: $292,500
Median Annual Salary: $51,840
For the third year in a row, Austin is the No. 1 Best Place to Live in the U.S. The capital of Texas continues to receive interest from the tech industry, contributing to a strong job market and high desirability among Americans as a place to live. Aside from the job opportunities, new residents are attracted to Austin for its eclectic arts and music scene, which are highlighted in the annual South by Southwest festival, which features music, film and television attractions.The Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019:
The Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019:
- Austin, Texas
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Fayetteville, Arkansas
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Minneapolis-St. Paul
- San Francisco
- Portland, Oregon
- Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- San Jose, California
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Boise, Idaho
- Sarasota, Florida
- Washington, D.C.
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Dallas-Fort Worth
- Greenville, South Carolina
- Portland, Maine
- Salt Lake City
- Melbourne, Florida
She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.
Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.