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With its reputation for being big, brash, and bold, Dallas, Texas projects an aura of confidence to the rest of the country. It’s a city that has always been sure of itself, even if that means looking and feeling a bit different from the rest of the United States. With its population of 1.3 million people, Dallas is roughly the same size as San Diego, California, and is the third-largest city in Texas, trailing behind Houston and San Antonio. The city occupies a large amount of square footage and has slowly bled into its next-door neighbor, Fort Worth, forming the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Yet even with its sprawled-out, Texas-style layout, Dallas is a city that still manages to feel like a buzzing urban metropolis rather than a sleepy collection of opulent suburbs.
Dallas is an artistic and intellectual delight, home to a wide array of world-class museums on practically every topic. Of course, since the city gained national attention over the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s, the site of the horrifying event has been immortalized into a museum. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is inside the Texas School Book Depository building, from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed Kennedy as his motorcade passed by below on November 22, 1963. A few blocks away from Dealey Plaza, the John F. Kennedy Memorial was erected in 1970, an imposing piece of sculpture meant to represent an open tomb.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a treasure for its contents as well as its architectural wonder, while the Frontiers of Flight Museum and Cavanaugh Flight Museum pay homage to the country’s aviation and space flight history. The Frontiers of Flight Museum is quite close to the city, located just near Love Field, while the Cavanaugh Flight Museum is a bit more of a drive, located in the suburb of Addison. The African American Museum of Dallas is home to one of the largest collections of African American folk art in the United States, while the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is dedicated to continuing education on the horrors of the Holocaust while also exploring the development of human and civil rights in the United States.
Dallas, though not often counted among the artistic capitals of the United States, actually has quite an impressive culture scene, with a population that is eager to fund, support, and participate in the arts. The downtown Arts District is home to a massive collection of buildings dedicated to sharing arts of all forms. The Dallas Museum of Art, Crow Museum of Asian Art, and Nasher Sculpture Center are devoted to the visual arts, while the massive Winspear Opera House, Meyerson Symphony Center, Wyly Theatre, and Moody Performance Hall are gorgeous locales for all things performing arts. If smaller, more intimate arts experiences are your preference, the Bishop Arts District in the Oak Cliff neighborhood has cozy galleries, gorgeous local boutiques, and tasty restaurants.
Of course, all of this money for artistic philanthropy has to be coming from somewhere, and though Dallas has traditionally been known as an oil and cattle town, it has become a massive business hub for the southern portion of the country. Today, the main industries in Dallas are technology, finance, and defense. There are many Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city, including big players like AT&T and Texas Instruments. Two airlines call the DFW metroplex home: American Airlines in Fort Worth (DFW Airport) and Southwest Airlines (Dallas-Love Field Airport) in Dallas.
Most of the noteworthy architecture of Dallas is modern in origin, dating from the 1970s into the present day, and many of the buildings are found in the heart of downtown. The city’s skyline, especially at night, is a one-of-a-kind experience, with many of the buildings lit up or outlined with LED lighting. Downtown glows thanks to more than just uplighting or office lights left on overnight.
Reunion Tower, built in 1978 by the Beck Group, is the most easily recognizable, reaching 561 feet into the air and serving as an observation tower for the city of Dallas. The slim tower is topped with a giant ball that lights up and changes color at night. Up until 2020, the tower also housed a rotating restaurant that offered 360 views of the city while dining. When viewing the skyline, aside from the Reunion Tower, another building tends to jump out — the tallest skyscraper in Dallas, outlined with green LED lights (though the lights can change color, they’re often green). This is the Bank of America Plaza, standing 72 stories tall. Constructed in the 1980s by JPJ Architects in a late-modernist style, the tall, glass-covered skyscraper has become an iconic piece of the Dallas landscape.
An additional modernist triumph is the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Completed in the early 2000s by award-winning architect Thom Mayne, the building is a paragon of sustainability with a green roof populated by local grasses and plants. The building is designed to be a tool for learning alongside the exhibits by incorporating technology, science, and nature into the very fabric of the building. It is designed to truly integrate the building with the nature that surrounds it, creating an homage to the Dallas ecology.
Just as ostentatious and loud as its lit-up skyline, the private residences of Dallas tend towards the large, brash, and flamboyant. Popular homes styles include the French Provencal, which is well-suited for the typically large lot size found in Dallas. Incorporating native Texas stone into their exteriors with distressed wood and light wash colors designed to evoke an alpine chateau, these large homes feature massive stone fireplaces, exposed beams, and high cathedral-like ceilings. Like the French Provencal, Dallas Eclectic style homes borrow from France’s architectural traditions but tend toward the more flashy and opulent. These homes are often sprawling mansions that feature mansard roofs and beaux-arts sculptural elements. Continuing on the European-inspired theme are the popular Tudor Revival homes with steep roofs, overlapping gables, and wood accents on the exterior of the homes. These homes tend to use arched shapes in the doors and windows, and although they appear darker and heavier, they often have a warm and cozy atmosphere on the interior.
On the other end of the spectrum are the clean-lined and symmetrical American Colonial homes that remain popular throughout the nation, though in Dallas, they often have the addition of a wide covered entryway, due to the region’s sunny and warm weather. Texas Modern-style homes take their inspiration from rural dwellings and building materials to create a uniquely Dallas look that is both simple and upscale. These feature aluminum roofs, clean lines, large windows, and Texas limestone. Classic American staples like Craftsman, mid-century modern, and ranch styles can all be found in the Dallas housing market as well, as can Mediterranean Revival style — a light-colored stucco residence with wrought-iron detailing and a red, Spanish tile roof. These homes are often found in any American city that stays relatively warm, popular throughout Florida and the American southwest.
Realm’s data analysis found that whether homeowners are after an extravagant Dallas Eclectic or a quaint Craftsman, a few features are commonly sought after in the Dallas housing market. The most popular feature were wood floors, found in 3,190 recent local listings, which makes sense since many Dallas homes feature natural textures on the inside and outside. Outdoor features like patios and pools are also exceedingly popular, found in 3,029 and 2,394 Dallas listings. Maintenance and appearances also earn a top spot on the minds of Dallas homeowners, since painting and roofing were frequently mentioned as well, seen in 2,233 listings and 2,141 listings respectively.
Although Dallas is a very modern and booming city, Realm’s data analysis found that most of the homes in the city date back to 1950. Now, most likely, these homes have had work done, and maybe even some significant renovations since they were built, but just in case, here are some things to be aware of.
If the home still has its original wiring and electrical panel, it might be a good idea to replace that. It may no longer be up to code, or the wiring could be faulty, leaving the property vulnerable to fires. Furthermore, a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) may have never been installed, which leaves the home open to electrical shocks. Also, modern homeowners and their appliances have very different electrical needs than the homeowners of the mid-20th century. There may not be an adequate amount of outlets per room, and the home’s grid may not be equipped to handle the power needed to run a modern home.
With any older home built before the 1980s, the risk of lead and asbestos is always present. Asbestos was frequently used in cladding on the walls or around heating appliances, like the furnace, while lead can be found in a variety of places, particularly the paint. If left undisturbed, typically all is well, and homeowners just need to be vigilant. However, if you’re planning any DIY renovations, proper precautions need to be taken since lead and asbestos become more harmful to human health when disturbed.
The plumbing, though it’s hopefully been updated, needs a close inspection. Older galvanized steel pipes may be rusting, which can lead to a costly pipe burst down the road. It might be worth the money to do a video inspection of the pipe and drain lines to ensure their efficacy.
Structural and foundational issues happen over time, particularly if the property’s grade and drainage are poor, and a 1950s home has been standing for quite a while. Settling may have happened over the years, leading to cracking or erosion in the foundation, and if the property has inadequate draining, there may be underlying water damage that can jeopardize the long-term health of the foundation.
Even if the more expensive things like the electrical wiring and plumbing are all in good shape, you may find the floor plan of a 1950s home too closed off, and the rooms, especially bathrooms and closets, too small. If you’re considering renovations, Realm’s free dashboard can help you price out how much the renovation will cost and how much value you can expect to gain on the property once the updates are complete.
When searching for a home in Dallas, the external threats from natural disasters are, thankfully, minimal. Realm’s data analysis found that 99% of Dallas homes are outside of a flood zone and 100% of Dallas homes are outside of a designated perimeter for a wildfire that has occurred in the last five years.
Is Dallas good for real estate?
Yes. Even though the city’s home values and population are steadily rising, the city remains a solid investment thanks to its thriving job market and burgeoning popularity. The home prices are still relatively accessible for an aspiring real estate investor.
Is real estate in Dallas expensive?
That depends where in Dallas you’re looking to buy. The median home price in the city jumped up 12.7% from 2020 to 2021, coming in around $320,000. This is still relatively affordable, and large portions of the city fall under this umbrella. However, ritzy neighborhoods like University Park often see pricing in the millions, and may not be a great area to buy for the average American.
Will Dallas housing prices go down?
Not within the next year. Although they will not likely continue their meteoric rise upward, since rising real estate prices have slowed in the later months of 2021, they will likely still continue to rise at a slower rate through 2022.
Should I wait to buy a house in Dallas?
It depends on the season. Prices typically fall slightly in the fall and winter months and then rise again as the weather warms. Even though pricing in 2021 is higher than in years past, if you find the right home during the cooler months, it's probably worth taking the leap!
We currently cover most standalone, single-family homes