Photo courtesy of DMTX Realty Group

A glorious and spacious Hill Country ranch fully equipped for off-the-grid living has landed on the market with a grand $8.75 million price tag.

The Lonesome Valley Ranch, located at 1430 Gibson-Best Rd. in Hye, sits behind a gated entrance on a short road for ultimate privacy. Past the gate is 260-plus acres of land, a one-acre pond, and four fully-furnished buildings ready to accommodate large gatherings or events.

The single-story main residence has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, while a two-story "barndominium" serves as a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom bunkhouse and saloon. The bunkroom includes 10 bunk beds, so it's perfect for large groups. Both homes have wrap-around porches, outdoor living spaces, and 360 degrees of Hill Country views.

Overlooking the pond is a 2-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin with a connected 40-foot pier for guests to try their hand at fishing or take a dip in the water. Also within the pond is an anchored dock and a fountain.

The fourth building on the ranch, hidden among the woods, is an equipment barn and workshop with a loft, apartment, and caretaker's residence.

The ranch is fully capable of operating off-the-grid thanks to an extensive solar system, several backup generators, a deep water well, a supplementary 100,000 gallons of rainwater collection, a propane capacity of 4,000 gallons, and much more.

Lonesome Valley Ranch is truly an entertainer's paradise. With the benefit of having no restrictions, the next owners could choose to Airbnb the bunkhouse, host special events or corporate retreats, and more. According to the listing, the property could generate $200,000 to $300,000 yearly for the next owners, while still operating as a family compound.

1430 Gibson-Best Rd

Photo courtesy of DMTX Realty Group

Lonesome Valley Ranch is located in Hye, Texas.

Thanks to the seller's intentional preservation of the heavily-wooded areas of the property, there is an abundance of wildlife suitable for hunting. Other outdoor amenities provided include an NBA-sized basketball court, a tennis court, and a pickleball court.

The property is also neighbored by the award-winning William Chris Vineyards and Garrison Brother's Distillery. The ranch is an easy 20 minute drive from the popular town of Fredericksburg, and three an a half hours from Fort Worth (less than 240 miles).

David Murray from DMTX Realty Group holds the listing. More information about the ranch can be found on dmtx.com.

Paul Bradbury Getty Images

4 North Texas cities unlock top-10 spots on new list of best U.S. housing markets

Real estate report

When it comes to places to buy a house, you can't do any better than North Texas. So says WalletHub's highly anticipated 2023 report on the best real estate markets in the U.S. Four cities around Dallas-Fort Worth made it into the top 10, with one suburb capturing the No. 1 ranking.

The new study by the personal finance website, released August 22, names McKinney the No. 1 most attractive real estate market in the country. It's followed closely by No. 2-ranked Frisco.

Two additional Dallas-Fort Worth cities, Denton (No. 4) and Allen (No. 6), earned top 10 spots for the second year in a row. Denton moved up four spots from No. 8 in 2022, while Allen fell four spots from No. 2.

Dallas-Fort Worth housing markets have dominated WalletHub's report throughout the years, showing resilience as other markets rise and fall. McKinney and Frisco have been in the top five since 2021, but the 2023 report is the first time McKinney has dethroned Frisco from the No. 1 spot, after ranking No. 3 in WalletHub's 2022 edition and No. 4 in 2021.

With a great housing market come new businesses. It's no wonder that hot new restaurants, coffee shops, and other attractions are opening in McKinney or choosing the city for new locations.

July 2023 data from Realtor.com shows median home prices in McKinney have fallen 2.8 percent year-over-year to $550,000, with homes selling for an average 2.03 percent less than their asking price. Homes are spending an average of 30 days on the market, another indicator that buyers are willing to hold out for that perfect home for the right price.

Potential owners should attempt to buy their home soon while sellers are more willing to negotiate on housing prices in the wake of higher interest rates, according to Kelly Snider, an urban regional planning professor at San Jose State University.

"More important for the housing market is that brokers and agents pay attention to what buyers want and spend less time listening to what sellers 'expect' or "deserve,'" Snider said in the report. "It is becoming a buyers' market, and 2024 should be good for people looking to buy a house."

Other Dallas-Fort Worth area cities that earned spots in the report include:

  • No. 22 – Fort Worth
  • No. 24 – Plano
  • No. 28 – Richardson
  • No. 36 – Irving
  • No. 42 – Carrollton
  • No. 43 – Dallas
  • No. 53 – Grand Prairie
  • No. 70 – Garland
  • No. 84 – Arlington
  • No. 120 – Mesquite
The study analyzed 300 U.S. cities across 17 metrics in two categories to determine the best real estate markets. Datapoints include median home price appreciation, ratio between rent to sale prices, housing affordability, job and population growth, and more.

The full report can be found on wallethub.com.


Fort Worth buyers must earn this much more to afford a starter home in 2023

affordability gaps

A new income analysis by online real estate brokerage Redfin has revealed just how much more a potential homeowner needs to make this year to afford a "starter home" in Fort Worth, a concept that's becoming seemingly less attainable with rising mortgage rates and increased competition among buyers.

The report revealed that first-time homebuyers need to earn $64,933 annually to afford a Fort Worth home in 2023, which is 14.4 percent more income than was required in 2022.

It's also $530 above the national average. According to Redfin, the average salary needed for a typical starter home in the United States is $64,403, about 13 percent more than a year ago.

These findings further confirm that affordability is one of the biggest struggles for potential buyers in the current real estate market. Median home prices are sitting at $245,000, and median mortgage payments are about $1,623 a month, the report said. However, the analysis indicated home sales in the city have risen 0.6 percent since this time last year.

Redfin senior economist Sheharyar Bokhari said in the report that it's a "wild goose chase" for homebuyers seeking their first home in the current market.

"The most affordable homes for sale are no longer affordable to people with lower budgets due to the combination of rising prices and rising rates," he said. "That’s locking many Americans out of the housing market altogether, preventing them from building equity and ultimately building lasting wealth. People who are already homeowners are sitting pretty, comparatively, because most of them have benefited from home values soaring over the last few years."

Bokhari predicted the wealth gap between current and potential owners could become "even more drastic" if current trends continue.

Buyers looking elsewhere in the Metroplex might find some success. Even though the income necessary to afford a Dallas home has risen to $72,885, that only amounts to a 10.6 percent increase year-over-year.

Elsewhere in Texas, a first-time homebuyer would need to make $57,513 to afford a home in Houston, which is nearly 14 percent more than in 2022. San Antonio saw the highest percentage increase in income necessary to afford a home, at 18.7 percent, with buyers needing to make $55,657. In Austin, potential homeowners saw a 3.3 percent decrease in income needed to afford a home, but it's still the highest income required out of all Texas cities in the report: $92,057.

The full report can be found on redfin.com.


Surprising Fort Worth neighbor ranks No. 13 among small cities with most million-dollar homes

The luxe life

With median home prices sitting at $580,000 in Grapevine, it takes a bit of a leap for the average home to be considered a luxury listing. And yet there are many; 13 percent of all real estate listings in Grapevine are homes worth over $1 million, according to a new study.

The report, by online real estate marketplace experts Point2, ranks Grapevine No. 13 nationwide among small U.S. cities with the highest shares of luxury homes. It was the only Texas city to make the top 15.

The report surprisingly lacked any mention of Southlake, which regularly gets nods for being the richest city in Texas.

These new findings confirm that the Metroplex is on the rise as one of the best housing markets for growth, while also opening up possibilities for redefining what the term "luxury" means for real estate in 2023.

"Once used to describe famous estates recognizable by name alone or opulent residences redefining the apartment concept, luxury may now be reduced to a convenient location and cushy amenities," the report says. "Its meaning varies even further when analyzing different-sized markets across the United States, beyond the well-known house-hunting grounds of affluent home seekers."

The small city that made the most gigantic leap into the top spot in the report was East Honolulu, Hawaii, with a massive 70.5 percent of all real estate listings worth over $1 million. Rounding out the top five are Bozeman, Montana (No. 2) with 62.4 percent of listings worth over six figures; North Bethesda, Maryland (No. 3) at 54.7 percent; and California's Cypress (No. 4) and Covina (No. 5) at 36.8 and 36.4 percent.

The remaining smallest cities in the U.S. with the highest shares of luxury real estate listings worth over $1 million are:

  • No. 6 – Catalina Foothills, Arizona (33.8 percent)
  • No. 7 – Milford, Connecticut (23.1 percent)
  • No. 8 –Downers Grove, Illinois (22.6 percent)
  • No. 9 – Palm Desert, California (19.8 percent)
  • No. 10 – Country Club, Florida (19.4 percent)
  • No. 11 – Burien, Washington (18.8 percent)
  • No. 12 – Murray, Utah (13.5 percent)
  • No. 13 – Grapevine, Texas (13.0 percent)
  • No. 14 – Collierville, Tennessee (12.3 percent)
  • No. 15 – Dunwoody, Georgia (11.1 percent)

The study looked at all available real estate for sale in the 30 largest, mid-size, and smallest cities in the United States, and categorized the listings by their $1-million-plus price tags.

In the category for the largest U.S. cities, Dallas ranked No. 12 with 22 percent of all real estate listings for sale worth over $1 million, while Austin ranked No. 10 nationally at 24.7 percent.

The largest cities also were analyzed for active real estate listings worth over $5 million.

The study admits that luxury homes worth over $5 million are the true indicator of what "real luxury" looks like specifically for the largest American cities. In Dallas, only 1.8 percent of real estate listings fit that criteria, earning the city No. 8. Austin, with 1.5 percent, land just behind Dallas, at No. 9.

The full report and its methodology can be found on point2homes.com.

TK Images

Bluebonnet country estate built by renowned Texas architect blooms on market for $5.95 million

Luxe listing

Off a Brenham highway and up a winding dirt road that meanders through wildflower fields sits The Citadel. This historic venue, once conceived as a golf course — and later reimagined as a private residence — sits on 48 acres and is currently on the market for $5.95 million.

The charming property is represented by Janet Dreyer with the Country Properties Group of Sotheby's International Realty.

While the living space is two-bedroom, two-bath, the home offers ample space across its more than 7,000 square feet for entertaining, living, or event hosting. Be it an investment piece, event venue, or weekend hideaway, The Citadel (3401 US Highway 290 East) offers an array of options for its next owner.

Originally built in 1924, the main residence has been meticulously refurbished while preserving its classic Art Deco style. Wide verandas on both of the home's levels provide picturesque views of the setting sun.

A sweeping staircase beckons arriving guests to explore the first floor's grand ballroom, warm bar spaces, and inviting fireplaces.

The Citadel's expansive grounds are equally impressive, with terraced land previously used as a vineyard, and sprawling lawns that can host family picnics, parties, and wedding receptions.

Designed and built by the famed renowned Houston architect Alfred C. Finn, who crafted the iconic San Jacinto Monument and many other famous landmarks, the property was originally envisioned as a social club, complete with a nine-hole golf course. It offered opportunities for men to hit the links while ladies hosted card games and garden parties in the main house.

By 1926, The Citadel had evolved into a country club. Five years later, in the depths of the Great Depression, it would be auctioned off and transformed into a private residence. For a time, colorful Texas eccentric Johnnie Mae Hackworth called it home.

Now, The Citadel is ready for another owner to come in with the vision and imagination to transform it yet again. It could become a vineyard that provides a spot for weekend daytrippers and wine education, or a retreat from the daily hustle and bustle. The possibilities are as endless as its sweeping vistas.

The Citadel was designed and built by renowned Texas architect Albert C. Finn.

TK Images

The Citadel was designed and built by renowned Texas architect Albert C. Finn.

Photo courtesy of Crescent

Luxe new hotel with TV chef checks into week's 5 hottest Fort Worth headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that listhere. Best Fourth of July events and fireworks are here.

1. Fort Worth's luxury Crescent Hotel to open with restaurant and TV chef. A new luxury hotel in Fort Worth's Cultural District is opening with a brand-name chef: The Crescent Hotel, the new property from Crescent Real Estate (Ritz-Carlton, Dallas) that's debuting in late summer, will open with two restaurant concepts led by Executive Chef Preston Paine.

2. Downtown Fort Worth bar reveals new speakeasy and party spaces after $4 million renovation. One of Fort Worth’s pioneering craft cocktail bars is nearly ready to reveal the results of a $4 million facelift: Thompson’s Bookstore has renovated and expanded across all four floors of its home in the historic Vybek building, at 900 Houston St., downtown. New features include a reimagined underground speakeasy, plus a private event space and cigar bar on two floors that have not been used for 70 years.

3. Hot dog restaurant made famous on Real Housewives opens in Fort Worth. A TV-famous hot dog joint from Atlanta has debuted in Fort Worth: The Original Hot Dog Factory which you may have seen featured on BRAVO’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, has opened a location at 6318 Hulen Bend Blvd. next to the AMC movie theater with an expansive menu of hot dogs of all kinds.

4. Upscale Asian restaurant debuts in historic downtown Fort Worth hotel. An Asian fusion/sushi restaurant from Dallas has arrived in Fort Worth: Called Musume it has opened inside the Sandman Signature Hotel at 810 Houston St., where a release promises it will provide an unrivaled Japanese dining experience.

5. Chip and Joanna Gaines' Fixer Upper castle in Waco goes up for auction. Hear ye, hear ye: The most famous castle in all of Texas is seeking new owners. By royal decree (aka Facebook post), renovation king and queen Chip and Joanna Gaines have revealed that they're auctioning off the historic Waco castle that they spent years rehabbing and made the focus of a special Fixer Upper series on Magnolia Network.

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Ultra-chic Postino WineCafe brings wine and bruschetta to Southlake

Wine News

A nationally acclaimed wine bar-restaurant has opened in Southlake: Postino WineCafé, specializing in wine, bites, and a chic atmosphere, opened a location at 1440 Main St., in Southlake Town Square, in the no-brainer slot next to Trader Joe's.

Postino is known for its daily happy hour, bruschetta boards, and menu built for sharing, as well as a laid-back atmosphere, designed for all-day hangouts with friends, date nights, client get-togethers, and family outings.

The chain first came to Dallas in 2021 when they opened a location in Deep Ellum. They closed that location two years later in March 2023 and relocated to Addison, where they just opened in August.

"We are thrilled to bring Postino to Southlake and the heart of bustling Town Square," says Postino Co-Founder Lauren Bailey. “The Dallas/Fort Worth market is very important to us, and we are excited to be expanding our footprint here so soon – just a month since debuting in Addison."

Founded in Arizona in 2001, Postino's goal is to bring people together over wine and food. Its bruschettas are a menu mainstay, artfully presented on boards made of reclaimed wood, with 12 variations including:

  • Prosciutto Di Parma, Fresh Fig & Mascarpone
  • Sweet N’ Spicy Pepper Jam & Goat Cheese
  • Brie, Apple and Fig Spread
  • Ricotta, Dates & Pistachio

Guests can mix and match four bruschetta per board, meaning you can try more than one a time. The entire menu is that way: designed without a definitive beginning or end, with the freedom to tailor your experience based on the occasion, from a meal to a swift bite.

A category called Snacky Things features chicken and filet skewers with garlic yogurt, shrimp scampi, and crispy cauliflower with sultana raisins, capers, and a Romesco drizzle.

There are entrée salads, soups, hand-pressed paninis (on ciabatta or focaccia bread), with the option to mix-and-match sandwich, salad, and soup.

Desserts include: Chocolate Bouchon with vanilla bean ice cream, Crème Brulee, and Salted Caramel Sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate covered corn nuts, pretzel sticks, and salted caramel drizzle.

Weekend brunch is served from 11 am-3 pm with spritzy cocktails, lemonades, and bowls

The wine list by Advanced Sommelier and Beverage VP Brent Karlicek is especially fun to sample during their 11 am-5 pm happy hour spotlighting 25-plus wines for $6 a glass, along with $6 pitchers of beer, both local and beyond.

"We fervently champion winemakers across the globe – from trailblazers like Folk Machine, Mary Taylor, and Scarpetta to the guardians of tradition like Ernst Loosen and Bonny Doon," Karlicek says in a statement. "Producers dedicated to crafting approachable, harmonious wines without sacrificing excellence truly resonate with us. Our aim is to kindle a symphony of excitement and curiosity within our patrons during their dining journey."

Decor is attuned to the neighborhood, with art installations and local/vintage finds. At Southlake, that means a tribute to the Back to The Future series, which was the original inspiration that shaped architect Brian Stebbins’s design for Town Square. An interior wall is decked with close to 400 vintage clocks, juxtaposed by plants.

A semi-private dining space can accommodate up to 14 guests for showers, parties, and other events.

Fort Worth Fire Department welcomes its largest recruit class ever

Firefighter News

The Fort Worth Fire Department must be doing something right: On September 25, the department welcomed its newest class of recruits at Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex to start their Fire Training Academy journey, a 36-week course.

With 60 recruits, the class is twice the size as the usual Academy class — making it the largest recruit class in the history of the department.

The class of 60 includes two sub-groups:

  • The first group, Class 93, consists of 10 "fast-tracked" students who already hold their Fire and EMS certifications. They'll graduate on November 17.
  • The second group, Class 94, consists of 50 brand new recruits who hold no certifications. They'll graduate on May 17, 2024.

This largest class in the history of the Fort Worth Fire Department comes after the Mayor, City Council and City Management’s vote to approve staffing levels where they need to be for a Department serving a city this size.

In August, a fire ad-hoc committee recommended increasing the fire department's staffing with 76 new positions, from 979 to 1,049 positions - particularly to cut back on overtime costs, racked up due to an increase in the number of special events they are called on to cover.

The recommendation called for the department to take on two 50-person recruitment classes, one in September and one in February, with approximately 25 percent predicted to fall out due to attrition, for a total of 76.

In addition to the increased number of recruits attending the Academy, staffing studies and negotiations with City leadership and stakeholders has made room for an additional 15 people to be added to the training team. These new training instructors, as well as the use of adjunct instructors from within the Department, will provide even more skill-based learning opportunities with experienced and tenured firefighters.

In a statement, Chief JIm Davis said, "I want to thank the Mayor, City Council and City Management for their diligence in seeing us through our staffing study and helping make the necessary adjustments to our staffing levels. I’m excited that the Department is growing alongside the City of Fort Worth and look forward to watching the new recruits go through one of the best training academy’s in the country."