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Dallas Falls To No. 5 For Real Estate Investment Prospects But Still Has The Secret Sauce

Dallas got bumped from second to fifth this year in PwC’s list of the most promising real estate markets in the nation, but the slide is not for lack of performance. Rather, it is because other cities have made aggressive moves into the top five.


Last year, Dallas ranked No. 2 in the report, and the year before that it was No. 1. This may appear worrisome, but keep in mind Dallas is still in the top five and has been for a while. PwC partner and business development leader Mitch Roschelle said the little tumble came from cities like Austin and Salt Lake City exhibiting a fever of growth and rearranging the top of the list. The top five real estate markets this year are Seattle, Austin, Salt Lake City, Raleigh/Durham and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Roschelle said the cities that make it to the top of the PwC list all have the “secret sauce.” 

And what is this secret sauce?

High net migration of 15- to 34-year-olds, great job growth, low cost of living, low cost of business and proximity to higher education hubs are key to attracting investment, Roschelle said. Dallas hits every one.

“Dallas remains an affordable place to live; Dallas remains an attractive place to do business, and that is what has real estate investors sort of lean in toward Dallas,” he said.

The report, a whopping 100+ page aggregation of 1,600 survey responses, 1,000 interviews and loads of data, said Dallas-Fort Worth is 6% below the national average in cost of business, and rent as a percentage of income per household is 19.6% compared to the national average of 26.6%.

Diversity of employment is one of the key aspects of Dallas’ success, according to Roschelle. Whereas Houston has struggled because of the disruption in the energy market, Dallas has a unique mix of thriving business realms to distribute the weight of employment numbers across. If one leg gets kicked out, there are many more keeping Dallas in a strong economic state. Again, this makes Dallas very attractive to real estate investors looking for a safe bet with room to grow. 

There have been rumblings about the threat of overbuilding in DFW, especially in the multifamily sector, but Roschelle said the data shows the metro is in a healthy place and investors are putting their vote of confidence in just about every sector. 

Downtown Dallas

Retail supply growth has been healthy in DFW, particularly in the suburbs and Fort Worth. That is a rarity in a time where most retail investors are clinging to their pocketbooks for dear life. 

The industrial sector has also seen a rise in new supply as increases in e-commerce, the need for last-mile fulfillment and a growing population necessitate more space.

According to Roschelle, both of these factors indicate a healthy economic climate.

As for the market watchers casting concerned glances at the cranes erecting new apartments, Roschelle said they can rest easy for now. Dallas-Fort Worth is near the top of the pack in job growth (2.5% this year vs. a 1.3% national average) and is only increasing new supply by 6%. For reference, there are cities that did not make it into the top 10 that are building more supply than Dallas, by a lot. Orlando has the highest rate of job growth in the nation at 3.1%, and its increase in multifamily new supply is 10%. In Charleston, job growth is hovering around 1.5%, yet new supply is surging at 12%.

Besides, 87,920 people are projected to move to Dallas in the next five years. Combine that with the fact that 28% of the population is already in the 15- to 34-year-old range, and it looks like supply and demand will remain stable for a while. On top of that, growth in the 15- to 34-year-old population is projected to be 10.9% going forward, roughly five times the national average.

“Those are the workers; those are the homebuyers, and that is the fuel for economic growth in Dallas,” Roschelle said.

On the whole Dallas’ metrics look beautiful. Not too feverish, not too stale, the data seems to be saying that Dallas is in a real good way.