Report | Dallas Economic Rating Declines

Neighborhood | Image by Unwind/Shutterstock

The Milken Institute’s list of the best-performing cities indicates that Dallas has some issues, as it dropped in rankings from sixth-best in 2023 to eighth this year.

According to the report by the non-profit organization, job growth and job diversity remain strong in the Dallas-Plano-Irving metro area, but a lack of housing availability, high housing costs, lack of community resilience, and income disparity led to a drop in ranking. The Dallas metro area ranked 136th for “income equality,” 153rd for “affordable housing,” and 92nd for community resilience.

In compiling its report, the Milken Institute referenced community resilience estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, which measures “the capacity of individuals and households at absorbing, enduring, and recovering from the external stresses of the impacts of a disaster.”

The Milken Institute primarily used data from 2022, including job creation, wage growth, and the high-tech sector’s output growth. Economic opportunities, housing costs, and broadband coverage were also factors the group used to determine the rankings.

While much of the data in the report came from 2022, real estate sales in the region have picked up through the end of 2023. Much of the recent activity in the market has been driven by new home construction, as interest rates have eased from record highs last year.

“New construction home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth have benefited significantly because of the low inventory levels of pre-owned homes. In fact, Builders here sold a record number of new construction homes in 2023,” RE/MAX DFW Associates realtor Todd Luong told The Dallas Express.

Even with lower interest rates, a lack of availability has continued to lead to high costs. The median price for homes in Dallas, which depends on the source of the data, has been in the $385,000 range recently.

Dallas’ Development Services Department has made some gains in its permit process and community outreach when it comes to single-family permitting, however, the department still lags in certain areas, primarily on the commercial side of development, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Many builders have reported delays in obtaining permits from the City of Dallas under the leadership of its city manager, T.C. Broadnax.

While housing availability and cost remain significant obstacles in the region, wage data from 2021-2022 indicates buyers will have more capital to work with. The Milken Institute report shows wage growth of 13.7% between 2021 and 2022 and a cumulative growth of 46.2% since 2017.

The report shows that job diversity remains high in Dallas-Plano-Irving, pointing out that jobs in the information technology, finance, transportation, and defense sectors were key to the area’s recovery from the COVID-19 lockdowns. According to the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, 157% of the lost jobs have been filled since the lockdowns ended.

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