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Old 10-02-2013, 02:41 PM
 
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Hello All,

We currently live in Italy but are hoping to move back to the States by the end of the school year. We are very interested in TX and Dallas in particular (thanks in part to some of the responses I got on my last post about where to open a retail store).

I have been doing research on various aspects of life in Dallas; obviously the COL is hugely important. I am actually from Northern VA and the extremely high cost of living there is one of the reasons we are not considering going back. Today I came across this "snapshot" from a Dallas paper. Does it sound about right? I did notice that health care was pretty pricey, and when I recently compared health insurance prices to NOVA prices, the NOVA prices were considerably lower .

And what about insurance (homeowner's, car, etc.)?

Moderator cut: copyright violation
Thanks in advance!

Last edited by SouthernBelleInUtah; 10-03-2013 at 08:35 AM..
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:30 PM
 
Location: North Texas
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They look low to me, honestly.
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
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My rental houses are all about $1000 per month. They are not in highly rated school districts and they are all between 1100-1400 square feet. Only a two have 3 bedrooms. I don't see how a family can find a place in a good school district for the housing amounts listed on the chart.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:06 PM
 
1,787 posts, read 1,883,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirl View Post
My rental houses are all about $1000 per month. They are not in highly rated school districts and they are all between 1100-1400 square feet. Only a two have 3 bedrooms. I don't see how a family can find a place in a good school district for the housing amounts listed on the chart.
Me either. The housing number really stands out in my opinion.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:21 PM
 
11,671 posts, read 21,231,508 times
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I would keep in mind that about 50% of Dallas County (mainly south and west of downtown) encompasses dirt cheap real estate, run down apartments, horrible public schools, and families who are so poor that the majority don't carry health or auto insurance. Dallas public schools offer 95% of their 200,000 students free breakfast and lunch due to income criteria.

So no, it doesn't surprise me that the *averages* for Dallas report like the above news clipping. However- there is a BIG disconnect between the "typical" north / east Dallas or Dallas suburb cost of living and the "average" for all of Dallas. I think it would be difficult to be a dual income family with 1-2 kids of daycare age and buy a $250k home in a good public school district in the DFW area with a family income under $100k. Day care is more like $800+/mo per child unless you're ok with unlicensed home day cares. Property taxes are humongous ($5500-ish on a $250k home) and home insurance will run you another $1500-2000/year on said $250k home.

The more I look at the chart, it's just so out of whack unless you're fine living in South Oak Cliff! Where does someone find a 3 bedroom apartment for $887/mo, much less a house for 2 adults & 2 children?! Transportation at $600/mo....hmm, that will pay for 1 adult's $200 gas + $100 insurance + $100 tools + $200 car payment if thee is a long commute involved. The othe adult can just suck it up and walk, I guess?!

I'm also not sure where $1500/mo for health care comes from. Even the worst family plans I've seen dont top $1,000/mo. I can't imagine anyone having $500/mo of doctor's appointments & medical bills on a regular basis without having long-term health issues. Even with 2 kids!
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:06 PM
 
7,283 posts, read 8,112,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
I would keep in mind that about 50% of Dallas County (mainly south and west of downtown) encompasses dirt cheap real estate, run down apartments, horrible public schools, and families who are so poor that the majority don't carry health or auto insurance. Dallas public schools offer 95% of their 200,000 students free breakfast and lunch due to income criteria.

So no, it doesn't surprise me that the *averages* for Dallas report like the above news clipping. However- there is a BIG disconnect between the "typical" north / east Dallas or Dallas suburb cost of living and the "average" for all of Dallas. I think it would be difficult to be a dual income family with 1-2 kids of daycare age and buy a $250k home in a good public school district in the DFW area with a family income under $100k. Day care is more like $800+/mo per child unless you're ok with unlicensed home day cares. Property taxes are humongous ($5500-ish on a $250k home) and home insurance will run you another $1500-2000/year on said $250k home.

The more I look at the chart, it's just so out of whack unless you're fine living in South Oak Cliff! Where does someone find a 3 bedroom apartment for $887/mo, much less a house for 2 adults & 2 children?! Transportation at $600/mo....hmm, that will pay for 1 adult's $200 gas + $100 insurance + $100 tools + $200 car payment if thee is a long commute involved. The othe adult can just suck it up and walk, I guess?!

I'm also not sure where $1500/mo for health care comes from. Even the worst family plans I've seen dont top $1,000/mo. I can't imagine anyone having $500/mo of doctor's appointments & medical bills on a regular basis without having long-term health issues. Even with 2 kids!
Guaranteed that's info. EPI concocted for political reasons that have nothing to do with The DMN report. EPI is the "Mother Jones" of economic data houses - in other words every bit of info. they issue should be ignored or at best taken with a mouthful of salt.

OP I'd use several cost of living calculators to try to get a fix for the difference between NOVA and Dallas.

Texas' overall state imposed tax burden (including property taxes) is #45 in the country at 7.9%. Dallas' cost of living multiplier (2012) is .93, obviously the US overall average is set to 1.00.
Virginia's overall state imposed tax burden is #30 in the country at 9.3%. Virginia's cost of living multiplier is 97.7. However, NOVA's cost of living multiplier is 1.22.

So a $100,000 income Dallas is like earning $107,526 relative to the national average COL. Earning $100,000 in NOVA is like earning $81,967 relative to the national average. Clearly, the bulk of the difference between Dallas and NOVA is real-estate.

Last edited by EDS_; 10-02-2013 at 10:35 PM..
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,828 posts, read 3,385,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
I'm also not sure where $1500/mo for health care comes from. Even the worst family plans I've seen dont top $1,000/mo. I can't imagine anyone having $500/mo of doctor's appointments & medical bills on a regular basis without having long-term health issues. Even with 2 kids!
I agree with everything you posted but this. At my current place of employment, if I were elect to have my wife and child on my plan it would run just under 1200 a month(not including what the company "says" the pay for me at $500 a month). I carry them on a private plan at only around $300 a month for the both of them. Though private insurance DOES NOT cover pregnancy, so this year our out of pocket expenses for medical will be well over 1500 a month, lol.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:48 AM
 
48 posts, read 66,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceraceae View Post
Me either. The housing number really stands out in my opinion.
Maybe they are thinking of a mortgage payment? There number is not actually far off if you are talking about a 250K house.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
I would keep in mind that about 50% of Dallas County (mainly south and west of downtown) encompasses dirt cheap real estate, run down apartments, horrible public schools, and families who are so poor that the majority don't carry health or auto insurance. Dallas public schools offer 95% of their 200,000 students free breakfast and lunch due to income criteria.

So no, it doesn't surprise me that the *averages* for Dallas report like the above news clipping. However- there is a BIG disconnect between the "typical" north / east Dallas or Dallas suburb cost of living and the "average" for all of Dallas. I think it would be difficult to be a dual income family with 1-2 kids of daycare age and buy a $250k home in a good public school district in the DFW area with a family income under $100k. Day care is more like $800+/mo per child unless you're ok with unlicensed home day cares. Property taxes are humongous ($5500-ish on a $250k home) and home insurance will run you another $1500-2000/year on said $250k home.

The more I look at the chart, it's just so out of whack unless you're fine living in South Oak Cliff! Where does someone find a 3 bedroom apartment for $887/mo, much less a house for 2 adults & 2 children?! Transportation at $600/mo....hmm, that will pay for 1 adult's $200 gas + $100 insurance + $100 tools + $200 car payment if thee is a long commute involved. The othe adult can just suck it up and walk, I guess?!

I'm also not sure where $1500/mo for health care comes from. Even the worst family plans I've seen dont top $1,000/mo. I can't imagine anyone having $500/mo of doctor's appointments & medical bills on a regular basis without having long-term health issues. Even with 2 kids!
Metro DC has lots and lots of poor kids, too, but there isn't much dirt cheap real estate anywhere. I wish there were! I don't think you can find a 2 bed apartment much under 2K without going WAY out, and then what you will get will be pretty depressing. To add insult to injury, many of the schools in high cost areas, like Alexandria, are failing or almost failing.

Childcare costs are not an issue for us; our older girls will be in school and I would be home (working from home possibly) with our little one, so I did not pay much attention to that number.

Glad to hear you think healthcare sounds way too high! I don't mind telling you, that number terrified me. Of course, no one really knows what prices will do with the implementation of the ACA, but I sincerely hope Dallas metro prices do not reach that level. It looks like this snapshot is more than a little off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
Guaranteed that's info. EPI concocted for political reasons that have nothing to do with The DMN report. EPI is the "Mother Jones" of economic data houses - in other words every bit of info. they issue should be ignored or at best taken with a mouthful of salt.

OP I'd use several cost of living calculators to try to get a fix for the difference between NOVA and Dallas.

Texas' overall state imposed tax burden (including property taxes) is #45 in the country at 7.9%. Dallas' cost of living multiplier (2012) is .93, obviously the US overall average is set to 1.00.
Virginia's overall state imposed tax burden is #30 in the country at 9.3%. Virginia's cost of living multiplier is 97.7. However, NOVA's cost of living multiplier is 1.22.

So a $100,000 income Dallas is like earning $107,526 relative to the national average COL. Earning $100,000 in NOVA is like earning $81,967 relative to the national average. Clearly, the bulk of the difference between Dallas and NOVA is real-estate.
These last numbers you gave tells the real story, I believe. Dallas is still a big city, and as such is not truly "cheap." But what I am getting is that a middle-class life is still possible there (there are still affordable homes available in desirable areas, for example), whereas it is disappearing in many other big-city metro areas.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:47 PM
 
11,671 posts, read 21,231,508 times
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Originally Posted by andalusian View Post
Maybe they are thinking of a mortgage payment? There number is not actually far off if you are talking about a mortgage.
Not far off for the actual mortgage payment, but you still have to pay for taxes & insurance which will run approx $500-600 additional per month. Plus electricity, water, etc bills. Probably looking at $2200+ all-in per month for basic housing in a good school district.

Still, Dallas IS cheaper than DC / NoVA. Just be sure not to get overly excited that you *can* afford a 5,000sf home with a pool in some ex-burb in the Dallas area. You still have to heat / cool/ maintain / clean/ furnish a humongous home and probably just signed up for a 1+ hour commute each way because you went house crazy. It happens all the time and then people come back to curse their huge electric bills and horrid commute. Take advantage of the cost savings to buy a home that is a "reasonable" upgrade to NoVa COL and enjoy a short to moderate commute as another lifestyle perk of living in the DFW area
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:02 AM
 
48 posts, read 66,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
Not far off for the actual mortgage payment, but you still have to pay for taxes & insurance which will run approx $500-600 additional per month. Plus electricity, water, etc bills. Probably looking at $2200+ all-in per month for basic housing in a good school district.

Still, Dallas IS cheaper than DC / NoVA. Just be sure not to get overly excited that you *can* afford a 5,000sf home with a pool in some ex-burb in the Dallas area. You still have to heat / cool/ maintain / clean/ furnish a humongous home and probably just signed up for a 1+ hour commute each way because you went house crazy. It happens all the time and then people come back to curse their huge electric bills and horrid commute. Take advantage of the cost savings to buy a home that is a "reasonable" upgrade to NoVa COL and enjoy a short to moderate commute as another lifestyle perk of living in the DFW area
Good point about insurance and utilities (I think taxes are covered in a separate category on the chart). It obviously is not giving the complete picture.

Far-out suburbs and 5000 sf are not really how we roll, so I don't anticipate having the problems you mention. We are coming from an urban environment in Italy, and are very accustomed to walkability and smaller homes. I've been looking at various neighborhoods in North Dallas, Northeastern Dallas, and some in Far North Dallas, but that is probably as far as we would go. All of the homes I've looked at have been under 2500 sf, and that is already much more space than I have now. In NoVA, there are no sfh's available for under 300K. You may be able to find a condo for something like that, and a small townhouse in the middle of nowhere for a little more, let's say 320K at a minimum. In my old neighborhood in Alexandria, 1700 sf, in need of a remodel, goes for min. 800K, and the zoned elementary gets only a 5 on greatschools.org. You can see why we are looking farther afield to your fair city.

The strong economies are probably comparable, except that NoVA's is dependent on gov. spending and expansion, and this does not seem to be the case in Dallas. On the whole, I would say Dallas has a better chance of staying healthy in the long-run.
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