First-time Homebuyers Dallas 2021
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Surprising Dallas suburb named top U.S. city for homebuyers under 35, says study

Surprising Dallas suburb named top U.S. city for homebuyers under 35

Couple buying a home
Home, sweet first home. Getty Images/Courtney K

For some young professionals of Dallas, buying a home in a quiet neighborhood in the 'burbs is proving to be more appealing than a ritzy high-rise along a busy freeway within city limits.

study released January 14 by personal finance website SmartAsset ranked the top 50 U.S. cities where homebuyers under age 35 are most commonplace. Just one DFW city made it into the top 10 (drumroll, please): Mesquite.

To develop the list, SmartAsset looked at the 2019 homeownership rate for those under 35 in 200 of the country’s largest cities and the 10-year change in the homeownership rate for those under 35.

Mesquite ranks fourth in the study. In 2019, the homeownership rate among Mesquite residents younger than 35 was 45.46 percent. That ranks 11th in the study. But in 2009, the rate was just 35.47 percent, meaning the 10-year increase was 9.99 percentage points, earning a third-place ranking for this metric and fourth overall.

The only U.S. cities to best Mesquite were Joliet, Illinois (No. 3), Cape Coral, Florida (No. 2), and Texas' own Midland (No. 1)

Why Mesquite? 

Twenty miles east of downtown Dallas, the city has a population of about 144,000 and median home value of just $129,100. Large national companies with a presence in Mesquite include United Parcel Service, Sears, AT&T, Spectrum, Ashley Furniture, FedEx, OfficeMax, and GameStop. 

Besides its proximity to highways for easy access to other parts of the city, Niche.com cites Mesquite's many parks and above-average schools as reasons to live there. "Many families live in Mesquite and residents tend to lean liberal," it adds. (No wonder then-Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders chose Mesquite as the site of a campaign rally a year ago.)

The only other DFW cities to crack the top 50 were Mesquite's neighbor Garland (tied for 17th place with Chula Vista, California), and Fort Worth, which sits at No. 36. 

The under-35 rate for homeownership rate in Garland stood at 37.11 percent in 2019, up 0.59 percentage points from 36.52 percent in 2009.

Fort Worth's under-35 homeownership rate actually fell 3.28 percentage points, going from 40.52 percent in 2009 to 37.24 percent. Nonetheless, it still earned a spot in the top 50.

Other Texas cities in SmartAsset’s top 50 are Corpus Christi (tied at No. 27), Brownsville (No. 44), and Amarillo (No. 50).

A 2020 study from the National Association of Realtors found that 52 percent of buyers 30 to 39 and 88 percent of buyers 29 and younger were first-time homebuyers. Among all homebuyers, the study showed fewer than 1 percent were 21 and younger, 13 percent were 22 to 29, and 25 percent were 30 to 39. People 30 to 39 made up the biggest age group among buyers.

“As people age into retirement, they rely more heavily on their wealth rather than their income to support their lifestyles. Today’s young adults are failing to build housing wealth, the largest single source of wealth, at the same rate as previous generations,” the Urban Institute noted in a 2018 study. “While people make the choice to own or rent that suits them at a given point, maybe more young adults should take into account the long-term consequences of renting when homeownership is an option.”