photograpy by Graham Hobart

Established: 1955
Location: East of Preston Road and west of Coit Road, south of Belt Line Road and north of 635/LBJ.
Population/Size: 1,145 homes
Typical House Style: Sprawling ranches with large leafy yards and abundant storage
Average home price: $550,000  ($450,000 if you hunt)
Average Home Size: 3,500 square feet
Average Lot Size: one-half acre

Haunts: Everything you could want or need is at Preston and Belt Line roads, plus local restaurants Canary Cafe, Dream Cafe, and Fish on Fire. There’s Whole Foods Market within walking distance. Aside from a great library, you’ll find most everyone gathering at Fretz Park, playing tennis, soccer, swimming, or basketball.

Why Northwood Hills?
In 1955, George Mixon Jr. and Bill Troth developed what has been called “the first post-war attempt to duplicate a Park Cities environment for distinctive home sites” on 800 acres where they planned to  build luxury homes from $40,000 to $200,000. It was an enormous gamble at the time. Now residents call this area Dallas’ best kept secret. It’s an entire neighborhood of “Preston Hollow”-like homes just north of LBJ for a fraction of the price. It has an abundance of restaurants, stores, shopping, the Richardson school district, and a strong homeowners’ association.

Because most of the area’s homes were built in the 1950s and 1960s, most have low ceilings, which developers are raising as fast as they can. The hum of renovation is alive in Northwood Hills, as homeowners enlarge and improve rather than tear down, adding on master bedroom suites and gables, resurfacing bathrooms, and opening up kitchen areas decked out with granite and Viking appliances.

“We add a lot of glass to our homes, to bring the beautiful landscape in,”  says Lisa Shatz, a homeowner and investor in three properties in the area. “You can get in under a million, and the kids can walk to school.”

Crime may have been a problem in the past, but the steely Northwood Hills Neighborhood Association eradicated the crime-ridden Holly Tree Apartments a decade ago. With a strong private patrol program—residents can even track the officers with a GPS system—everyone’s out walking dogs at night.

“I’m bullish on this area,” Shatz says. “We could live farther south for $100,000 more and have less land. I’d buy here all day if I could.”