North Texas Among Best Places for First-Time Home Buyers

McKinney, Frisco and Allen ranked highest in a recent WalletHub study analyzing the best and worst places for first-time home buyers.

The study ranked 300 U.S. cities of various sizes based on metrics including affordability, the real estate market and quality of life. While home prices have increased significantly across the North Texas region and consequently ranked on the lower end in the affordability category, WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said certain factors can be considered even more important when deciding where to buy a home. To read more about increasing home prices in North Texas, take a look at the Dallas Business Journal’s investigation into the DallasFriscoPlano and DeSoto markets.

The top three cities were among the safest analyzed in the study with the violent crime rate per 1,000 residents at 1.6 in McKinney, ranking 36th, 0.9 in Frisco, ranking eighth and 0.8 in Allen, ranking fifth.

The cities also fared well on real estate metrics, ranking first, second and sixth, based on qualities such as the rent-to-price ratio and the health of the housing market. Gonzalez said all three scored well on housing units built between 2010 and 2015, which indicates new construction is developing at a healthy rate and meeting the demand in these cities.

“A good real estate market is a great indicator of a city’s well-being because it signals high demand for new housing and consequently, a well-developed place to live,” Gonzalez said.

According to the study, the cost per square foot in McKinney is $129, ranking 111th; $144 in Frisco, ranking 138th; and $128 in Allen, ranking 110th. Despite the relatively high prices, the housing affordability metric showed all three cities rank well in the category of median house prices divided by annual median household income, meaning the homeowners salaries generally support the prices of their homes.

Richardson also ranked among the top 10 cities, coming in at No. 7. Nine other cities within the DFW metroplex made the top 100 list of best places for first-time buyers. The city of Fort Worth ranked 33rd overall and 185th in affordability while Dallas ranked 120th overall and 249th in affordability.

“It’s tough to compete with North Texas in terms of how much home you get for the money,” Gonzalez said. “When you add great school systems and healthcare options to the mix, it’s no surprise why so many Dallas-area cities topped these rankings.”