Which neighborhoods around Fort Worth are most affordable for buying your first home?

Finding an affordable home in North Texas can be daunting for a first-time buyer.

In Tarrant County, the median home price last month was $350,000; with today’s high interest rates, insurance and HOA fees, payments can easily soar out of reach.

But first-time buyers can score an affordable home — sometimes with enticing incentives on new construction — if they know where to look.

The Star-Telegram spoke to Fort Worth-area real estate agents about which corners of the region are the most popular right now for families looking to buy, whether they’re prioritizing school districts, bigger lots or the charm of older properties.

Buying a newly built home as its unique advantages, including fewer maintenance costs, said Jeff Bankhead, a Realtor with the Bankhead & Silva Group at Williams Trew firm.

“Do you want to come home from work, and work on your house? Or come home from work and live your life?” he said.

However you want to live your best life as a homeowner, here’s what several real estate experts told us.

Southwest of Fort Worth

The Chisholm Trail Parkway corridor is seeing an explosion in construction, with more than 5,000 housing units planned in the next few years along with shopping centers and restaurants. This rapidly developing area is also where H-E-B apparently plans to build its third grocery store in Tarrant County.

Fort Worth’s border with Crowley has become a sweet spot for first-time home buyers looking to find an affordable option with a good school district, said LaToya Williams, a Realtor with RJ Williams & Company Real Estate.

“The same house that I see in Crowley can be $30,000 to $40,000 more in Mansfield or Grand Prairie,” she said.

Crowley voters just approved a $1.04 billion bond to build three elementary schools and a middle school, and to replace Crowley High School.

First-time buyers wanting more space are looking around Godley, where new homes are priced competitively with an acre or two.

Builders are also offering incentives to entice people to buy new construction, such as help with down payments and buying down interest rates, said Brandi Vaughn, a Realtor and executive with SuKaza Realty.

Williams has seen some new builds offering financing with interest rates as low as 4.9%. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage has been above 6% since September.

Saginaw and Haslet

These communities northwest of Loop 820 is very popular. In the last month, 79 houses have sold around Saginaw for $350,000 or less, said Terri Silva, also with the Bankhead & Silva Group.

With all the growth, the Northwest school district recently approved a $2 billion bond package to build 10 new schools. The once rural countryside is now dealing with more traffic and infrastructure problems, but buyers are finding good deals.

The Eagle Mountain-Saginaw and Northwest districts have a large number of homes in the $300,000 to $400,000 range.

Chapel Creek, White Settlement and Aledo

Typically the farther you go from the center of Fort Worth, the more you’ll get for your money, said Brady Bridges, a Realtor and owner of Reside Real Estate.

Parker County is typically more expensive — the median home price in April was $474,000 — but people have been able to find deals with the Morningstar development near Aledo, he said.

That development is near the Aledo school district, which received an “A” rating from the Texas Education Agency for the 2021-22 school year.

Chapel Creek and White Settlement also have a lot of affordable options, Bankhead said. “I put two people in White Settlement within the last two years, first-time homebuyers, and their houses have appreciated,” he said.

The 76108 ZIP code, which includes White Settlement and Chapel Creek, had at least 43 homes sell for under $350,000 in the last month, Silva said.

South Hills and Wedgewood

This older part of Fort Worth has a good number of homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 range that are typically more affordable for first-time buyers, said Shelby Kimball, a Fort Worth-based Realtor. The neighborhoods are bordered by West Seminary Drive to the north, Mc Cart Avenue to the east, Granbury Road to the west, and Altamesa Boulevard to the south.

As with any older home, there’s the risk of having to replace insulation, HVAC or electrical, but this can come in handy when negotiating closing costs and concessions, Kimball said.

The Wedgewood area is particularly popular because of its tree-lined streets and relatively quiet neighborhoods, Silva said.

For people looking for a house with more character who aren’t afraid to do a little work, this is a great place for you, she said.

Most neighborhoods inside or near Loop 820 are unaffordable for first-time buyers, Kimball said. South Hills and Westwood are the exception.