Last Updated: July 26, 2016 Figuring out where to live in DFW can feel challenging. But, if you’re willing to listen to someone who has lived in the DFW area for a decade, then you should know deciding on where to live in DFW truly comes down to three options. The three top neighborhood destinations that families across all of Texas and beyond crave access to come down to Flower Mound, Southlake and Highland Park.
While there are many other great places to live throughout DFW, these three top Southern cities are some of the most-desired places to live if you hope to be right next to the hot action of Dallas, while also being associated with an amazing community of wonderful people. However, there are some significant differences that you need to be aware of regarding these three great places to be – depending on your household’s planned budget for cost of living, the age of your children, where you want to be in relation to Dallas and your specific lifestyle criteria etc.
I ultimately decided to put this post together after realizing that people wanted real answers regarding the greatest places to live in DFW. I saw many of the internet’s forum posts on this topic, and noticed that there was quite a bit of misinformation floating around on Flower Mound, Highland Park and Southlake. Some people might even dismiss these three small cities as “snobby” or “highbrow” without fully understanding the respective backgrounds of these amazing places! But, there’s no need to worry. I’m here to clear the air. You’ll get to hear from someone who lives in Flower Mound, and has also spent considerable amounts of time in both Southlake and Highland Park as well.
So, without keeping you waiting any longer, I’m going to compare some of Dallas’ greatest communities while also detailing one of Texas’ utmost sizzling-hot topic’s – Where to Live in DFW? (Flower Mound or Not). Here we go. I’ll begin with a quick review of Flower Mound…
Where to Live in DFW #1.) The Quick Flower Mound Facts
- Population: About 70,000 (flower-mound.com)
- Median household income: $117,874 (flower-mound.com)
- Median home value: $295,494 (flower-mound.com)
- Crime rate: 39 violent annual crimes per 1,000 residents (NeighborhoodScout)
- School rating: 9 out of 10 (GreatSchools)
- Distance from Dallas: 35 minutes
- Fun factor: Above average
- Value: Exceptional
The most notable aspect of living in Flower Mound is that a median household income of $117,874 gets you access to a public school system rated 9 out of 10. This is almost unheard of on a national level. If you have a young family, then living in Flower Mound is going to be a huge asset to the quality of life and overall well being of your loved ones. Not to mention, it’s practically a steal to live here. The median home value is roughly $300K which is absolutely more than reasonable. Ask anyone from San Fransisco or Los Angeles who is in the process of relocating to DFW for their thoughts on the prices of homes around here.
Flower Mound provides many of the benefits of living in Highland Park or Southlake without the high price tag. Your HOA fees will be extremely reasonable in Flower Mound, and those same HOA dues will usually provide you with access to tennis courts, swimming pools, parks, playgrounds, athletic centers, landscaping plus maintenance and more.
The downsides of living in Flower Mound include the fact that you have less immediate access to some of the best social outings and sporting events taking place in Dallas (it’s about a 35 minute drive to downtown) when compared to Highland Park. But, the commute from Flower Mound to Dallas is a small cost to pay considering you’re typically paying at least 400% less for a home in Flower Mound than in Highland Park on average.
Where to Live in DFW #2.) The Quick Southlake Facts:
- Population: About 30,000 (cityofsouthlake.com)
- Median household income: $174,179 (cityofsouthlake.com)
- Median home value: $643,334 (cityofsouthlake.com)
- Crime rate: 14 violent annual crimes per 1,000 residents (NeighborhoodScout)
- School rating: 10 out of 10 (GreatSchools)
- Distance from Dallas: 30 minutes
- Fun factor: Above average
- Value: Exceptional
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Southlake is ‘beautiful people’. For some reason, people look really good in Southlake. People living in Southlake have an almost Parisien fashion sense combined with southern swagger. Just visit the Southlake Town Square, and you’ll run into all kinds of people dressed to the 9’s and 10’s.
With upscale retail outlets such as Vineyard Vines, Vera Bradley, Brookers Brothers, J. Crew and Lilly Pulitzer located in that very same Town Square shopping center – you’ll soon realize that being fit, looking great and having high-earning power are all common traits that you’ll find in this exceptional area of DFW.
Southlake offers a world-class school system, amazing shopping, an above average fun factor which can lead to a strong social life and best of all – a great culture for raising your children. Your children will be surrounded by some of the nation’s best in Southlake. This kind of environment will have a major impact on the development of your children or potential children.
What also sticks out about Southlake is that Southlake families bring in $56,000 more of a median income on average than their Flower Mound counterparts, but their median home values are over two times more expensive than Flower Mound homes. Therefore, living in Southlake will likely require taking out a much larger mortgage on average than if you were to live in Flower Mound. However, buying or renting a home in Southlake will still cost much less than doing so in Highland Park.
Some even say that it’s well worth the cost of “buying into” Southlake, in order to gain immediate access to Southlake’s reputable school system that notoriously breeds both high-achievers and professional athletes.
The downsides to living in Southlake include integrating into an extremely image-conscious community which may also be expensive for a quality of life that you could potentially find elsewhere. However, if you ask around, there are many people who will openly tell you that they’re thrilled to pay the premium costs of living in Southlake for the exclusivity, A+ school system, high-powered community and strong economic outlook of the area as a whole.
Where to Live in DFW #3.) The Quick Highland Park Facts:
- Population: About 8,000 (highlandpark.texas.com)
- Median household income: $149,389 (highlandpark.texas.com)
- Median home value: $1,303,900 (AreaVibes)
- Crime rate: 5 annual violent crimes per 1,000 residents (NeighborhoodScout)
- School rating: 10/10 (GreatSchools)
- Distance from Dallas: 15 minutes
- Fun factor: Excellent
- Value: Exceptional
Highland Park is an amazing and exclusive community that is also arguably the nicest area to live in throughout all of Dallas. The town was literally modeled to be the Beverly Hills of DFW.
People usually live in Highland Park because one or two generations of their family has also lived there. It’s a very tight-knit community of well-off families who reside in Highland Park. The children of these families typically go through the excellent local school system, and then go off to attend some of the state’s most prestigious schools such as Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas.
Highland Park is very easy to sum up. If you can afford to live in Highland Park, and have a young family, then you should absolutely do just that. Living in Highland Park puts the odds of success greatly in your family’s favor. Being surrounded by such a great environment of high-class people will rub off on you, your spouse and your entire family. It’s a community of strong business professionals and big-thinkers.
The downsides of living in Highland Park include that it’s often referred to as being “the bubble,” – however I’ve heard this term refer to the entire Dallas area before as well. I’m actually not a big fan of that phrase, as I believe that “the bubble” effect happens in most cities across America and abroad. Of course, Highland Park may actually be somewhat of a tight-knit bubble, especially after taking into consideration its population of just 8,000+ people. It’s a very small community, but again, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Living in Highland Park is ultimately what you make of it, and the sheer potential that you’re provided with when living in the Park Cities area is outstanding.
Something else worth realizing is that families from Highland Park bring in less of a median income on average when compared to those from Southlake, yet have home values that are astronomically higher than almost anywhere else in Dallas. Since Highland Park positions you only fifteen minutes away from Dallas, the value of homes there are extremely high and stable – acting as a strong store of value for generations to come.
What this means is that Highland Park is relatively expensive, but is also a great value if you need to be as close to Dallas as possible for work and play…
Where to Live in DFW Conclusion
So all of this brings us back to our original topic – Where to Live in DFW? (Flower Mound or Not). While this decision is ultimately up to you, and depends greatly on your family’s unique circumstances, here’s my opinion:
Do your best to live in Highland Park if you can comfortably afford it (do not strain your finances to do so). Flower Mound is your next best “super value” option. And, Southlake would be my third best choice, or arguably even my first pick if my kids were passionate about playing sports at a highly-competitive level.
Again, people will give you differing opinions and outlooks on this very controversial topic of deciding where exactly to live in the greatest areas of DFW. Just try to remember that there is no perfect fit. You might fall in love with Flower Mound, Southlake or Highland Park, but there will always be some level of compromise that you’ll have to deal with.
However, at the end of the day, I really don’t think that you can go wrong when having to decide between living in three of Dallas’ greatest towns. You’re in an extremely blessed position (notice I didn’t say lucky – because you earned it) to be able to choose between living in Flower Mound, Southlake or Highland Park.
I strongly believe that with some hard work and effort, you can make living in either of these three places one of the greatest experiences of your life. Your family will thank you.