Brienne Walsh | Market Watch

Home prices in Texas spiked 23.3% in the last year, making many cities unaffordable if you’re working with a $150,000 budget. Not Wichita Falls, however, which was an oil boomtown in the early 20th century. Named after a historic waterfall that was washed away by a flood in the 19th century — and replaced by a 54-foot-long manmade cascade in 1989 — the city is about halfway between Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Wichita Falls has plenty of local attractions, including the River Bend Nature Center, which houses a butterfly conservatory; and more than 40 parks. There’s also the Kemp Center for the Arts, which showcases symphony and ballet performances, as well as art exhibitions. The town has two live theater troupes — Backdoor Theatre and the Wichita Theatre Performing Arts Center — and a ballet school, the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre. For less than $150,000, you can buy a newly renovated 3-bedroom, 1200-square-foot home in the city. Along with excellent tex-mex, the city also offers quality steaks from nearby cattle farms at restaurants like McBride’s Steak House. One of the main downsides is that Wichita Falls is hot in the summer; temperatures in the city climbed above 100 degrees for 100 days in 2011, a Texas state record.

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