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Fort Worth unlocks a top spot for U.S. homebuyers under 35, study says

Fort Worth unlocks a top spot for U.S. homebuyers under 35, study says

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

More and more young professionals in Fort Worth are giving up apartment life and settling down in a home of their own, a new survey shows.

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 three DFW cities made it into the top 50. Fort Worth was one of them, landing at No. 36.

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.

The Dallas suburb of Mesquite ranked fourth in the study, and Mesquite's neighbor Garland came in 17th. To break things down in the top DFW cities:

  • 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 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.

Perhaps surprisingly, Texas' own Midland earned the No. 1 spot (followed by Cape Coral, Florida and Joliet, Illinois.)

"Midland, Texas has seen a 10-year increase of 17.11 percentage points in the homeownership rate among people younger than 35, the largest growth seen in this study," the authors say.

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

Although the study doesn't point out the many desirable qualities that make Fort Worth appealing to young homebuyers, the authors would surely echo the most recent assessment that, "living in Fort Worth offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Fort Worth there are a lot of parks. Many families and young professionals live in Fort Worth and residents tend to lean liberal."

(Okay, those last few words might be debatable depending on your definition of "liberal" — and your neighborhood.)

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.”