Guide to S.A. —
Home sales go nowhere — but up
Web Posted: 08/17/2006 01:58 PM CDT
Aspiring home buyers in the
San Antonio region don't need industry data to tell them what's abundantly
evident: Real estate is hot.
Home prices and home construction are both on a record pace.
Buyers in San Antonio and the surrounding counties are paying more than ever
for their dream home. Sellers are celebrating that it's their market — homes
are selling at a rapid clip and close to asking price.
With a real estate market that shows no signs of slowing, the San Antonio
region is bucking a national trend.
Elsewhere in America, home prices are flattening and the inventory of
homes for sale is swelling. Some cities are concerned home prices could
But in San Antonio, builders expect to complete as many as 18,000 homes
In December, Fortune magazine anointed the city as the best real estate
market in the nation, with a projected home price appreciation rate of 8.3
percent in 2006.
And the median price of an existing home reached
$137,100 in the first five months of the year.
That's up 9 percent over 2005, when the median price was $125,600, according
to data released by the San Antonio Board of Realtors Multiple Listing
Todd Glowka, a custom home builder, said San Antonio is starting to
mature as a real estate community, but with plenty of land still available
for new homes and neighborhoods, prices won't get out of reach of the
“We never really got those huge increases like they were getting on the
West Coast and East Coast and Florida,” Glowka said. “Our costs are still
considerably less than other places in the country.”
Buyers might have to wait a bit longer to move into a new home, however.
With a boom in residential construction, builders and their subcontractors
are stretched to the limit. “We have a shortage of qualified subcontractors.
They're overwhelmed and working six days a week to keep up with demand,”
In the existing-home market, sales volume is up 7 percent this year, with
9,117 home sales by the end of May. Last year there were 8,555 sales in the
With so many people buying homes, renters are benefiting.
San Antonio apartment dwellers are paying just slightly more in rent this
year than they did in 2005, according to a report from Hendricks & Partners,
a national real estate firm that focuses on multifamily properties.
The average apartment rent rose to $632 by the end of March, up from $626
in March 2005.
In Comal County, prices are up, although houses are selling more slowly
this year, said Jeani Thomas Richie, president of the New Braunfels Canyon
Lake Association of Realtors.
Hot spots in the county include Bulverde, New Braunfels and Canyon Lake.
The median sale price is up, but while single-family houses spent an
average of 121 days on the market in 2005, they have remained on the market
for an average of 133 days this year. “They are pricing above market, then
they are sitting on the market longer, which is a classic sign of
overpricing,” Richie said.
Still, Richie said the area is benefiting from a wave of investors and
second-home buyers. About 50 percent of her buyers in the Canyon Lake area
are looking for second homes and vacation homes, she said.
“The Hill Country is very hot right now for people from other states,”
she said. “More people coming from out of state are putting money into
investment properties in other states — we happen to be one of them.”
In Bulverde, the median sales price reached $262,250, up more than 28
percent since 2004.
Homes in Bulverde are staying on the market an average of 79 days this
year, compared with 83 days in 2005.
Express-News staff writers Lety Laurel, Nicole Lessin, Chuck
McCollough, Michelle Mondo and Amanda Reimherr contributed to this story.
San Antonio Express-News publish date Aug. 20, 2006