WalletHub, a website based in Washington, D.C. and owned by Evolution Finance Inc., launched in August 2013 as a “personal finance social network” offering reviews of financial advisors. But the site has quickly branched out into producing research reports and surveys on everything from “best and worst cities to find a job” to “2016’s states with the biggest bullying problem” (Texas is No. 6 on that last list, by the way).

Some of the website’s most recent studies put a number of Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex cities right at the top of some lists that are much more admirable than the “biggest bullying problem” rankings. Take, for example, the list of “2016’s Best Real Estate Markets” report, authored by Richie Bernardo and released Aug. 30: The top three best markets are Metroplex cities, and two more local towns hit the top 10.

While lot of Americans don’t seem to really trust what appears to be a significant upswing in the housing industry, there’s plenty of evidence that housing is “on its feet again,” the report notes. The New York Times, citing U.S. Census Bureau data, has reported that sales of new single-family homes were higher this past July than in nearly 10 years. And nationwide, which tracks the health of U.S. real estate, has reported that at the end of the second quarter, “the overall U.S. housing market is sustainable,” with only a few regional housing markets being vulnerable to another downtown.

Bernardo’s report — which compared “300 U.S. cities across 16 key metrics to help prospective home buyers find the most attractive real estate markets” — ranks Frisco No. 1 overall, followed by McKinney and then Richardson in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.

Austin ranked fifth, with Allen in the sixth place and Plano at No. 9. Denton (No. 12) and Carrollton (No. 17) made the Top 20. Fort Worth came in at No. 23, with Irving at No. 24, and Grand Prairie at No. 30. Dallas came in at No. 42, and Garland was no. 46, rounding out the Metroplex cities in the top 50.

There wasn’t a single Texas city in the 50 worst real estate markets. Newark, N.J., held the lowest spot in the rankings at No. 300.

Among other information in the report is the fact that Frisco ranked fourth on the list in terms of highest median home-price appreciation, and No. 1 on the “lowest maintenance as a percentage of income” list. Allen was No. 3 on that last list.

Frisco also topped the “2016’s Fastest Growing Cities” list, again authored by Bernardo. This report “compared 515 U.S. cities of varying population sizes based on 14 key indicators of rapid economic growth.”

While Frisco is No. 1 on that list, another Metroplex city — McKinney — ranked No. 8, and three other Texas cities — League City at No. 2, Midland at No. 7 and Bryan at No. 10 — made the top 10.

Grand Prairie at No. 27 and Irving at No. 38 rounded out the list of Metroplex cities in the top 50. Austin was at No. 26, while Allen placed at No. 53, For Worth was No. 70, Richardson was No. 85, Denton was No. 162, Garland was No. 231, Plano was No. 260, Flower Mound was No. 268 and Dallas was at No. 296.

Austin topped the list of “large” cities with the highest growth, and Frisco was No. 1 among “mid-size” cities with the highest growth. On the list of cities with highest income growth, McAllen, Midland, Odessa and College station were the top four.

Frisco was also No. 1 in highest job growth, and McKinney hit No. 5 on that list, while Wichita Falls ranked on the other end of that spectrum with the fifth-lowest job growth. McKinney was No. 1 in “highest poverty rate decrease.

WalletHub’s list of “Best Cities for Families” puts Plano at No. 3, the only Texas city in the top 10. On the more localized “2016’s Best and Worst Cities for Texas Families” list, the top 8 were all DFW locales — Southlake, University Park, Colleyville, Allen, Flower Mound, Frisco, Coppell and Keller. Dallas ranked near the bottom of that list — No. 107 out of 112 — and Weslaco was the worst. Fort Worth was No. 62 on the list, one place ahead of Austin.

Not a single Texas city made the top 20 in WalletHub’s list of best places to retire. In fact, Austin had the best ranking of any Texas city on the list at No. 34. But, a website designed to help family members find the best assisted living and senior care for their loved ones, says the No. 1 city for “gay-friendly retirement” is Austin.

“Austin is a very progressive city where tolerance is the norm,” the website says. “Over 5 percent of the population identify as gay and there is a thriving social scene to go along with this large community. There is also a general acceptance of the LGBT community by the population at large and strong support for gay-owned businesses.”

— From Staff Reports

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 201