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Living in Dallas, Texas Pros & Cons - Living in Dallas Metro

Posted by Cecilia Miranda on Wednesday, July 20th, 2022 at 7:03am.

Are you wondering whether living in the Dallas metro is worth considering? You've come to the right place.

Dallas is a fast-growing modern metropolis that frequently attracts thousands of transplants from other states every year. Today, the city is booming in different ways with an active downtown renaissance, an industries hub, and a boom in all types of cultural activities—film festivals, microbreweries, and more.

With that in mind, moving to Dallas may be the best decision you’ll make this year. However, the thought of moving to a new city can be both exciting and tiring, especially if you don’t know anything about your future hometown.

To help you in your quest, we'll discuss the pros and cons of living in Dallas. And if you find this evaluation helpful, our agents are ready to help you buy or sell a property in Dallas.

Summary of the pros & cons

Pros

  • Low Cost of Living
  • No State Income Taxes
  • Great Economy
  • Job Market
  • Diverse City
  • Amazing Food
  • Professional Sports
  • Vibrant Nightlife
  • Things to See & Do

Cons

  • Higher Housing Costs
  • High Property Taxes
  • Busy Roads
  • Inefficient Mass Transit
  • Poor Grades in Public Schools
  • Extreme Weather
  • No Ocean Getaway
  • Flat Terrain

Pros of Living in Dallas Metro

As usual, we will start by discussing the pros of living in the Dallas metro, and they are quite plentiful and exciting.

Low Cost of Living

Dallas is one of the best cities to live in both in Texas and in the U.S. It’s also well regarded globally. However, if your finances can't keep up, moving to the Dallas metro may not be a good idea in the long run. Out of 268 cities in their database, NerdWallet ranked Dallas as the 41st most expensive place to live.

Though it's not San Francisco-like expensive, living in Dallas is costlier than living in other parts of the country. Housing costs are the biggest contributors to the higher living costs, but if you use an established realtor like VIP Realty, it will be much easier to find a nice place you can afford.

That said, prepare yourself to pay over a sticker as home prices are rising everywhere, and not only in Dallas. For example, a typical home in Manhattan is valued at $870,000, and average monthly housing costs are 4x the average costs in the country. In comparison, the median sales price for a single-family home in Dallas is $360,000. For renters, a median one-bedroom will cost you $1,200 while two-bedroom rents for $1,500 a month.

Relative to other major cities in the country, the cost of living in Dallas is relatively low. This can be attributed to lower-cost energy, availability of local food sources, minimal regulations, and plentiful land which makes building new homes and major developments much cheaper.

Living Costs by Major Metro Areas Population

City Population Cost of Living
New York City 8.4 million $3,531
Los angeles 3.98 million $2,789
Chicago 2.75 million $2,386
San Diego 1.39 million $2,743
Dallas 1.3 million $2,196

Overall, salaries in Dallas metro tend to match the cost of living. Recent data also shows that the median household income of a typical Dallas resident is $43,359 a year compared to the U.S. average of $53,482 a year.

No State Income

Taxes Because there is no income tax in Texas, living in Dallas allows you to save a significant amount of your earnings every year. However, to fund local and state projects, property taxes and sales taxes are higher in Texas than in other states. Renters don't have to worry about property taxes but to avoid sticker shock, homebuyers need to budget for higher than average property taxes.

Great Economy

Dallas' rapidly rising economy is among the best in Texas. Due to the boom in manufacturing, financial services, technology, and security, the city boasts the 9th largest economy in the U.S. That said, Dallas is a great destination for entrepreneurs looking to start a business.

When considering access to resources, business costs, and a conducive environment, Dallas ranked 14th out of 100 major cities in the country that offer the best place to start a business. Recent data also shows that Dallas is favorable to women and minority-owned businesses which comprise over half the number of small businesses in the area.

Job Market

Coupled with a low tax rate and a friendly business environment, Dallas's job growth has been steady over the years. Forecasts for the next ten years predict a job increase of 45%. According to a recent report, Dallas has the third-highest salaries in the country after factoring in living cost expenses.

With that in mind, DFW is the country's #1 job market thanks to in-migration and solid employment gains. The major corporations that have made their headquarters in the DFW Metroplex have also played a key role in the massive job increase.

Dallas Job Market Stats:

  • According to recent data, the GDP of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area is over $500 billion, a figure that has grown by over 57% in the last decade.
  • Year-over-year employment growth in Dallas-Fort Worth is 5.6%, with Dallas having over 4 million employees.
  • In the past 12 months, median household incomes in Dallas grew by over 4% while median property values increased by over 6%.
  • As of November 2021, the unemployment rate in Dallas stood at 3.9%. The fastest signs of new growth are in trade and transportation, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, as well as professional and business services.
  • Company HQs and operations, building design and construction, IT services, food manufacturing, telecommunications, and logistics are the target industry sectors in Dallas.
  • The top five employers in Dallas include Texas Health Resources, Baylor Scott & White Health, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Medical City Healthcare, and Lockheed Martin.
  • Over 85% of Dallas residents are high school graduates or higher, while over 35% hold a bachelor's degree or an advanced degree.
  • The Dallas transportation infrastructure consists of two commercial airports (DFW Airport and Dallas Field Airport), four major interstate highways, and several mass transit systems.

Diverse City

With its rich multicultural environment, Dallas has grown into a diverse city over time. Although non-Hispanic whites remain the largest ethnic group, many different races including African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans live harmoniously in this melting pot of Dallas.

The diversity has encouraged people of different lifestyles, cultures, and religions to move to the area and get assimilated with ease. If you're a young professional or you’re looking to raise a family, Dallas offers an inclusive community that is great to call home. To put this into perspective, recent data show Dallas as America's 4th most diverse city.

Rank City Diversity Score
1 Houston 71.87
2 Jersey City 71.70
3 New York City 71.59
4 Dallas 71.52
5 Los Angeles 70.89

Amazing Food

If you're a foodie, living in Texas and Dallas, in particular, would be a great move that your stomach will much appreciate. Texas tacos are a must-have for foodies looking to explore the diverse culinary scene. This is because every Dallas neighborhood has a favorite taco joint, and locals will endlessly debate which food joint is the best.

The abundance of food tours also means there are plenty of dining options to explore. D Magazine's top taco joint 2016—Resident Taqueria—offers the best place to start your Taco tasting journey. Besides taco and chocolate tours, Taste of Texas is another mouthwatering tour to look forward to.

Vegetarians aren’t left out as Dallas has a variety of vegan restaurants and delicacies from around the world. For the meat lover, Dallas has set standards in the "meat-centric steakhouse and hybrid, modern steakhouse." If you're looking to indulge in burgers, make a pit stop at Hudson House or Keller's Drive-In for a juicy delight.

Besides juicy steaks and BBQs, the Dallas-Fort Worth dining scene has more restaurants per capita than any other metro area in the country. Here are some of the top diverse dining destinations in Dallas metro: 

  • Tei-An for Japanese
  • Revolver Taco Lounge taqueria
  • Sachet for Mediterranean and vegetarian
  • Mot Hai Ba for Vietnamese
  • Lucia for Italian

Professional Sports

There's no place like Texas to put down roots if you're a professional sports fan. Some of the best sports teams and stadiums are in Dallas and wearing their favorite teams’ jerseys while flying the team flag is one way Dallasites show their allegiance.

Home to the Dallas Cowboys, the AT&T Stadium which cost $1.2 billion to build is the largest domed structure in the world. If football isn't your sport of choice, the city has plenty of other major sports to keep you entertained. From hockey with the Dallas Stars to basketball with the Dallas Mavericks, there's a sport to love for everyone in Dallas.

The American Airlines Center which sits on 12 acres is the most technologically advanced sports arena in the U.S. The arena is also the home turf for the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars. For baseball fans, the Texas Rangers bring MLB excitement to their brand-new stadium in Arlington 20 miles away. Other popular sports outside the professional realm include rugby (The Dallas Dragons) and American Ultimate Disc League (The Dallas Roughnecks).

Vibrant Nightlife

After the sun sets, downtown Dallas comes to life with a plethora of nocturnal pastimes to entertain night owls until the wee hours. From neighborhood pubs to uber-hip lounges and lively live music venues, downtown Dallas has it all.

If good music must be on the menu, there're plenty of venues to check out an artist or band performance. Some of the best free live music venues in the city include Granada Theater and Opening Bell Coffee. The Deep Ellum neighborhood is home to venues that embody music history such as Trees and The Bomb Factory.

If you prefer an eclectic experience with everything from burlesque shows, to dancing and aerial performances, Don't Tell Supper Club is the ideal destination. Fancy a pale ale or something a bit stronger in a posh setting? Head to Midnight Rambler or The Mitchell where gin concoctions are elevated into an art form. Whether it’s a casual meeting with friends, a date night, or just a place to unwind after work, the vibrant Dallas nightlife will not disappoint.

Things to See & Do

Every major city's tourism office claims there's something for everyone to do and Dallas is no exception. Few places in the country serve up the opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous year-round weather like Dallas. Below are some of the must-visit Dallas metro destinations.

Dallas Arts District

Spread over 19 city blocks and sitting on 68 acres, Dallas Arts District is the largest contiguous urban arts district in the country. This hub for visual and performing arts is where you'll find The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Museum of Art, and Klyde Warren Park among others.

Cultural Museums

Dallas museums offer a peek into prominent people in history, major historical events as well as innovations that influence the way we live. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science which houses everything from dinosaur fossils to hands-on exhibits about the planet is the most notable of these museums.

Historical Tours

History buffs can travel back in time and pay homage to the legacy of former President John F. Kennedy. Located one block east of Dealey Plaza, The John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza plays a vital role in Dallas's urban landscape and cultural heritage.

Great Outdoors

With plenty of hiking trails around the city, outdoor adventure, and wilderness retreat awaits at the Cedar Ridge Preserve, Trinity Forest, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and White Rock Lake. Child-friendly spots are also plentiful including the Dallas World Aquarium, the Dallas Zoo, and the Natural Science and Wildlife Rescue.

Cons of Living in Dallas Metro

Any location in Texas that you may consider living in is going to have its shortcomings and the Dallas metro is no exception. Most people focus on personal preference, but it's advisable to keep these drawbacks in mind and take them at face value.

Higher Housing Costs

According to a 2021 report from the Texas Real Estate Research Center, home prices of single-family homes have increased by over 18% year over year. With approximately 75% fewer houses available on the market, homebuyers lack variety when seeking affordable housing.

Besides the slow increase in prices and lower inventory, the market forecasts a continuous increase in housing costs. But the expectation a property will increase in value in the future is a positive resale factor homeowners should consider.

High home prices, higher property taxes, a thriving job market, along with a growing population are some of the factors fueling demand for rental houses in Dallas. For example, a two-bedroom apartment will set you back $1,500 per month on average. But this figure could be higher in neighborhoods such as the Design District, Uptown, Oak Lawn, and Addison.

Key Market Takeaways:

  • Home values in the Dallas metro area have increased by over 78% in the last five years.
  • According to a recent report, the median sales price of a single-family home in Dallas is $360,000.
  • Dallas is home to 121 neighborhoods and with a median home listing price of $1.7 million, Preston Hollow is the most expensive neighborhood.
  • With a median listing price of $195,000, Pleasant Grove is the most affordable neighborhood in Dallas.

High Property Taxes

Texas has consistently ranked as one of the states in the U.S. with high property taxes. In 2021, Dallas County homeowners with single-family houses paid a property tax of $6,033. If you add this amount to your living expenses, it's easy to see why many people prefer to rent a home in Dallas. That said, 44% of the total occupied housing units in the Dallas metro area are renter-occupied households.

Busy Roads

In comparison to other larger metropolises such as Washington and New York, Dallas is nowhere near as overcrowded and chaotic. However, driving in Dallas can be overwhelming for the uninitiated who are not familiar with driving in the area. Seasoned Dallas motorists are accustomed to being caught up in long, dragging commutes from one corner of town to the next, especially during rush hour.

With drivers spending at least 40 hours in traffic, Dallas is ranked #6 among the top cities in the U.S. with the worst traffic. Because Dallas is big and spread out, residents tend to drive longer for their commutes. The city averages 28.1 minutes for daily commutes relative to the U.S. average of 26.4 minutes.

Rank City Yearly Delay
1 New York 56 Hours
2 Boston 50 Hours
3 Houston 49 Hours
4 Los Angeles 46 Hours
5 Washington 42 Hours
6 Dallas 40 Hours

Inefficient Mass Transit

Dallas' public transportation may not be terrible, but neither is it perfect. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) serves the city with a light rail and buses. While it efficiently transports commuters around the city, expensive fares coupled with the inability to access specific locations are some of its many drawbacks.

In addition, night owls will feel left out as the DART system doesn’t run often or late enough. Alternatives such as Uber are convenient but they’re more expensive to use. With that in mind, owning a car in Dallas is of utmost importance, especially if you live in one of Dallas's suburbs.

Lower Public Schools Grades

As the third-largest city in the Lone Star State, Dallas offers great educational opportunities for residents. Public schools include preschool, elementary, middle schools, and high schools. However, the Dallas Independent School District is severely lacking when it comes to performance.

With a graduation rate of 85%, the district’s average test score of 5 out of 10 is in the bottom 50% of public schools in Texas. What's more, Dallas ISD ranks #636 out of 1,201 school districts. It's not all doom and gloom though as there're some exceptional public schools in Dallas suburbs such as Irving, Southlake, Frisco, and Plano.

Extreme Weather

In general, the Dallas-Fort Worth climate tends to be humid subtropical with hot summers. Precipitation varies significantly as it ranges from less than 20 to over 50 inches per year. Though northers occur roughly three times every month, winters are generally mild. With that in mind, the weather in Dallas is not all rosy as the area will occasionally experience extreme weather phenomena like brutal summers, hurricanes, and tornadoes

  • Brutal Summers -  High on the list of weather complaints for most Dallasites is the heat. In summer, temperatures can range between 90°F with record highs of 113°F. The humidity in particular makes the summers sweltering.
  • Hiurricanes - Though not common, Texas may experience this brutal weather phenomenon once every three years. A succession of small hurricanes is not rare.
  • Tornadoes - If you thought hurricanes were bad, wait until you experience a tornado. The three-month-long tornado season tends to begin every April, with Texas among the most susceptible. Dallas is considered part of the infamous Tornado Alley. Although tornadoes are not concentrated in Dallas like other parts of Texas, the city and the outlying areas still experience a turnout of tornadoes every year.

Lacks Ocean Getaway

Do you prefer a waterfront lifestyle where you can pass time along a white sandy beach, enjoying ocean breezes while listening to the roar of the ocean waves? Dallas will sadly disappoint you as its location in North Texas doesn't have direct access to beaches. The nearest beach is Galveston which is 270 miles away. However, numerous lakes in the area allow residents to spend time on the water.

Flat Terrain

Dallas' considerable flat terrain gets a lot of flak. Though some areas outside town offer great views of mountain vistas, the experience is nowhere near what you'll find in other parts of the country. The Guadalupe Mountains which are located 530 miles out of town are the closest mountain range to Dallas.

Final Thoughts

No forever home is perfect and we have to accept to take all the bad with the good. That said, Dallas has many things to love and it's easy to overlook some of the drawbacks in favor of its best features. If you're willing to spend extra on rent for a metropolitan city with a diverse culture, great food, and plenty of things to do, contact us to schedule an appointment or visit our website.

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