DFW FAQ: Your DFW Real Estate Questions Answered
Are you thinking about moving to Dallas-Fort Worth? The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex spans millions of acres, so you’re bound to have a lot of questions about buying a home in this vast section of North Texas.
For starters: where should you live to get what you want? DFW is home to big business powerhouses like American Airlines, AT&T, and ExxonMobil. In the city of Dallas, you'll find America's team, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, while in the city of Fort Worth, you might just run into some real cowboys. You can find downtown urban bustle, large suburban yards, and even rural farmland.
Wherever you look, you'll find the DFW real estate market booming, much like it is in the rest of the Lone Star State. The median purchase price for a single-family home has reached the low $400s, and prices continue to rise faster in the DFW region than in any other Texas metropolitan area. Home sale prices in the 2nd Quarter of 2022, for example, increased by more than 21% in Dallas–Fort Worth.
To best position yourself in the real estate market, find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Fort Worth and Dallas markets.
What Areas Make Up the DFW Metroplex?
According to the Texas State Comptroller, the DFW metroplex spans 19 counties, thousands of square miles, and 270 different zip codes in North Texas. With the area's ongoing economic, population, and infrastructure growth, it may appear that the 200-plus suburbs in the DFW region have melded into one big city.
Popular Real Estate Markets in the DFW Metroplex
Ask any DFW real estate agent, and they'll tell you that some of the most popular real estate markets in the metroplex include Grapevine, Arlington, Irving, Fort Worth, and Dallas.
As Texas's third largest city, spanning 340 square miles and home to almost 1.5 million people, Dallas deserves its "Big D" endearment. It's a vibrant, sophisticated city with an overabundance of attractions and activities. Numerous significant corporations also make their headquarters here, and Dallas’ luxury homes for sale are spectacular. With its recent economic and population growth showing no signs of slowing down, it's little wonder the Dallas real estate market is looking better than ever.
Just over 30 miles west of downtown Dallas you'll find neighboring Fort Worth. With a population of about one million, it ranks as the fifth-largest city in Texas and is among the top 20 most populous US cities. Fort Worth boasts many outdoor attractions, including the Fort Worth Water Gardens downtown and its world-class zoo just minutes away. Numerous parks, trails, and greenbelts weave through the area, and Fort Worth homes with acreage for sale feature the best wide-open spaces in the region. The city is also home to Texas Christian University (TCU).
For a more in-depth comparison between Dallas and Fort Worth, take a look at our full guide.
In the northwest corner of Dallas, near the airport, is the city of Irving. Home to just over a quarter million people, the city is an economic hub in the Dallas–Fort Worth region, hosting thousands of regional and multinational corporations. It's also the global headquarters for several Fortune 500 companies. Despite its proximity to the big city, Irving maintains its own unique flavor. Check out the Las Colinas Entertainment District to experience the city's lively entertainment scene.
Conveniently located on I-30 in the middle of the greater metropolitan area, you'll find the city of Arlington and its 400,000 residents. With easy access to the two big cities and DFW International, Arlington has long been considered one of the best places to live in the metroplex. The city is considered by many to be the entertainment capital of North Texas, owing to the variety of sports, music, parks, food, arts, and other activities found here.
The suburb of Grapevine sits just to the north, halfway between Fort Worth and Dallas. With only 25 miles to either downtown area, the city holds a top spot in the DFW real estate market. Its namesake 8,000-acre reservoir, Lake Grapevine, provides significant recreational opportunities in the area. Folks will also find miles of hike and bike trails and several top-ranked golf courses nearby. More than 50,000 people call Grapevine home.
What Kind of Properties Can I Find in the DFW Area?
Buyers in the DFW real estate market will find a mix of property types, from rural farmland to big city commercial spaces. Your chances of finding raw land for new construction go up significantly as you move away from the city centers. In suburban communities like Grapevine and Arlington, you'll also find hundreds of single-family homes with yards in various styles and price ranges.
While the occasional condominium may hit the market in the suburbs, the downtown districts of Dallas or Fort Worth offer buyers the best chance to find high-rise condos, loft apartments, and townhomes.
What’s Great About Living in DFW?
Considering the volume and variety of suburban communities convenient to Dallas and Fort Worth and the many employment, education, and entertainment options in the area, it's easy to see why folks love living in DFW.
Things To Do
Living in the DFW area provides a wealth of distractions, destinations, and things to do. There are great DFW activities ideal for every lifestyle.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find thousands of acres of parks, trails, and greenbelts throughout the region. Among the most popular spots are Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas and the 1000-acre Gateway Park near the center of Fort Worth. The area also features more than 200 public and private golf courses.
Sports lovers may already know that Dallas–Fort Worth boasts several professional sports teams. The world-famous Dallas Cowboys welcome visitors to their AT&T Stadium in Arlington, while the Texas Rangers' home base is the diamond next door at Globe Life Field. Fans can catch the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and the NHL's Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.
This part of North Texas is also home to several massive annual events. Two local favorites include the Texas State Fair and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. There's plenty of arts and culture here as well. Dallas maintains a thriving urban arts district with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters, including favorites like the Dallas Museum of Art, Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, and Nasher Sculpture Center.
The cultural scene in Fort Worth features attractions such as the Kimbell Art Museum, Will Rogers Memorial Center, and the Casa Mañana Theatre. Visitors to downtown Fort Worth can also spend an entire day exploring the city's entertainment options in Sundance Square.
Employment and Job Growth
Employment opportunities in the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area have risen significantly over the past few years, adding thousands of jobs to the DFW economy. Industries experiencing the most significant increases include professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality. The unemployment rate for the region is on par with the national figure of 3.7%.
Schools and Universities
The DFW metroplex hosts hundreds of secondary schools and several top-ranked universities. Among the largest high schools in the region are Duncanville (southwest of Dallas), Lewisville (northern metroplex), and Allen High School (north of Dallas). Institutions of higher learning in the area include Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and Southern Methodist University near downtown Dallas.
What’s the Average Home Price in DFW?
The DFW real estate market continues its upward trend, with the median sales price for single-family homes increasing more than 20% to reach the mid $400s. The average price per square foot has risen from about $177 to a little over $220. The market is expected to keep growing, with home values projected to appreciate more than 4% in the coming year.
What’s the Property Tax Rate in DFW?
Property taxes in the DFW area will vary depending on the property's county, school district, and Municipal Utility District (MUD). Property tax rates range from 1.88% to as much as 3.41% in some places, with an average of around 2.50%. You can lower your DFW property tax payment by applying for the appropriate DFW homestead exemption.
To find rates for a specific address, consult a DFW real estate professional or use one of the many free online property tax calculators. Some DFW suburbs have lower property tax rates than the main cities, so research is crucial.
How Competitive is the DFW Real Estate Market?
With communities throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth region ranking among the fastest growing in the state, it's no surprise that the DFW real estate market remains very competitive. Home listings in the area typically receive multiple offers, go pending in less than three weeks, and typically sell for about 2% over the list price, on average. Some of the most desired DFW real estate sells within a couple of weeks, frequently for 5% or more above the listing price.
What’s the Average Cost of Living in DFW?
The cost of living in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex varies greatly depending on the area. Generally, a single person can expect monthly expenses of just over $1,000, not including mortgage loan payments. Grocery, health, and housing costs in DFW are on par with the rest of the country.
What’s the Commute to Downtown Dallas or Fort Worth From Areas Outside the Cities?
One of the benefits of living and working in the DFW area is the opportunity to escape the big city hustle at the end of the day for more rural relaxation. Many Dallas–Fort Worth professionals opt for the suburban lifestyle offered by these smaller outlying communities. And they particularly appreciate the relatively short drives downtown.
- Sunnyvale: This small community of less than 10,000 sits around 15 miles due east of downtown Dallas. Commuters from the town of Sunnyvale typically make the drive in about 20 minutes, without traffic.
- Duncanville: About 12 miles southwest of downtown Dallas is the city of Duncanville, home to more than 40,000 residents. The drive into the city is usually 15 or 20 minutes.
- Westover Hills: This tiny town of less than 1,000 is located near Interstate 30, only six miles west of downtown Fort Worth.
- River Oaks: Head northwest from the middle of Fort Worth for about five miles and you’ll find the small city of River Oaks, which has a population of less than 10,000.
Are There Any Small Communities Near the DFW Metroplex?
Dallas and Fort Worth are surrounded by dozens of small cities, towns, and rural communities, many of which are within an hour's commute to either of the big cities.
- Celina: Due north of Dallas, just over 40 miles up the Dallas North Tollway, is the fast-growing city of Celina. Home to around 25,000 folks and counting, Celina's population has almost tripled in the past decade. The town is also recognized as the first Gigabit City in Texas, with high-speed fiber Internet service available to all homes.
- Murphy: About 30 miles northeast of Dallas and just six miles from Plano is the small city of Murphy, with a population of more than 20,000. If you head north a couple of miles out of town, you'll find yourself at the famous Southfork Ranch from the long-running television series Dallas.
- Roanoke: Another up-and-coming community in the heart of the metroplex is the city of Roanoke, a little over 20 miles north of downtown Fort Worth and just minutes from DFW International Airport. With a population of around 10,000, Roanoke residents enjoy such a remarkable variety of dining options that the town is known as the Unique Dining Capital of Texas.
If you're interested in buying a home in a smaller town, don't miss out on our guide to the best rural towns near Dallas for more communities like the above.
Finding Your Spot in the DFW Metro Area
At the risk of sounding cliche, the DFW housing market truly offers something for everyone. Dallas and Fort Worth have thriving downtown districts with significant residential and commercial real estate investment opportunities. Beyond the city centers, suburban and rural communities throughout this part of North Texas feature thousands of different properties, including raw land, single-family homes, and luxury estates.
Finding your perfect spot in the Dallas–Fort Worth metro can be challenging with so many choices. Buyers are encouraged to explore our guide to the region to discover answers to their DFW real estate market questions.