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Bandera, TX homebuyer’s guide

Find a quiet country life in the Cowboy Capital of Texas.

AB

Aaron Boyles

Author

GH

Garrett Heath

Reviewer

7 min read

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Head an hour west out of San Antonio and you’ll come across the rustic natural beauty of Bandera County. Here, prospective homeowners will find spacious lots topped with ranch-style homes at affordable prices. 

Once settled, residents can set out on horseback adventures, dip fishing lines into the tranquil waters of the Medina River, or simply browse historic shopfronts in the quaint town of Bandera. Despite the charming look and feel of the city, those interested in the area should prepare for the usual drawbacks (or positives!) of country life, including limited retail options and few neighbors.  

Latest homes for sale in Bandera, TX

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Look & feel of Bandera

The Bandera housing market

$303k

-17%

Median Home Price

$215

5%

Median Price per Sq. Ft

14

-14%

Average Monthly Home Sales

A simple, affordable life calls

As with most parts of the country, the San Antonio area has seen an enormous uptick in home sales, and, as demand skyrockets, home prices increase as well. In the wake of eye-watering price tags on urban-center homes and a move to more remote work opportunities, many homebuyers look beyond city limits for more affordable options. Well beyond the bustle of San Antonio, areas like Bandera have seen increased popularity and demand as a result, meaning that the competition and price hikes have spread into the countryside.  

Not much cooling in the Texas heat 

While housing markets in other parts of the country have seen some semblance of cooling as interest rates rise and demand drops off, the San Antonio market continues to run hot. To answer increased demand, developers are clambering to construct homes in the spacious areas outside the city, so new homes are continually popping onto the market. These new homes come at higher prices, of course. 

Property value

Huge tracts of land at middling prices  

Even though the current market has brought higher prices to the Bandera area, the market is still more equitable than in more competitive areas closer to the city. Property values are still on the rise, however, with homes and the many spacious plots of land going for tens of thousands more than pre-pandemic rates. As San Antonio grows, these homes and land plots will likely continue to see prices increase.    

Cost of living in Bandera

41.5%

Rent Affordability Index

Cheaper homes come at a cost 

Home prices may be more affordable in the Bandera area, but with the more remote properties and comparatively limited access to grocery stores and other retail options, cost of living can be a little higher here than in other parts of Texas. Thanks to the wide open spaces of Bandera, transportation costs are particularly high compared to more urban corners of the San Antonio area.  

The job market

Nearly an hour outside of the city, Bandera has limited job options for those looking for work; however, positions in healthcare and education are available, and as more people move to the area, jobs will follow. 

2.2%

Unemployment Rate

$76k

Average Salary per Year

Nurses, teachers, and drivers 

Some major employers in the Bandera area are the Bandera Independent School District and local clinics in need of nurses. Additionally, with multiple distribution centers in the area, many companies are in need of drivers to move goods here and there.  

Public transportation

Services offered in Bandera

🔋

EV charging: ChargePoint

More horses than buses 

Prospective residents who normally rely on public transportation will need to invest in a personal vehicle. Because it’s such a rural area, Bandera offers very little in the way of public transportation for residents. Those not working remotely must commute with their own vehicles or get into the Cowboy Capital spirit and saddle up.  

Electric vehicles beware 

A total of two EV charging stations exist in the Bandera area, so owners of electric vehicles will need to carefully consider their options. Those close to the actual town of Bandera may be able to pop in for a charge, but most residents will need to invest in at-home charging solutions. 

Demographics

11,345

Population

52.1

Median Age

82,783

Family Median Income

Tiny town in the country 

The actual town of Bandera is merely a few streets and a handful of residents totalling just a few hundred, so those looking for a proper small-town feel will be right at home in Bandera. The small population is not particularly diverse, however, with the vast majority of residents identifying as White. 

Crime & safety

With so few people around, Bandera is a rather safe area to live. Crimegrade.org gives the area a B overall, with minimal violent crimes and just a few property crimes per capita. 

Neighborhood guide

Bandera City is much smaller than the name implies, and more traditional suburbs and developments are less common. Instead, there are plenty of towns and residential areas in the greater Bandera County to look to for housing options. 

Lakehills

In the far eastern side of Bandera County and nestled in the crook of Medina Lake, Lakehills is a charming community of around 5,000 residents. Locals enjoy watersports like jet skiing and fishing among the natural beauty of the area. 

Bridlegate Ranch 

A little to the south of Bandera, Bridlegate Ranch awaits. It’s home to spacious plots and ranch-style homes for those who love the country life but also want a neighborhood community. 

Bandera Country 

Bandera Country comprises Bandera city limits and the residential areas to the north. Homes here are close to the handful of shops, restaurants, and services provided by downtown Bandera, so those looking for quiet country living with a touch of convenience will feel right at home here. 

Bandera River Ranch

This neighborhood of .5- to 1-acre lots harboring classic ranch-style houses sits along the Medina River, and many of the homes provide pleasant river views. Residents have access to a pool, playgrounds, and covered pavilions for events.  

3 things to know before buying a home in Bandera, according to locals

1. Get with the cowboy culture 

Bandera proudly proclaims itself as the Cowboy Capital of Texas, so newcomers should look to embrace that part of the local culture. The area is home to many ranches and farms, and the town hosts numerous rodeos throughout the year.  

2. Bandera is a great place to live 

Locals love living in Bandera thanks to its affordable cost of living, minimal crime, and rustic atmosphere. However, newcomers who like crowds and lots of people are likely to be disappointed with Bandera’s small population.   

3. Pick up a fishing pole

With the Medina River and many other rivers and lakes throughout Bandera County, locals spend many tranquil mornings out by the water. Fishing spots are plentiful, and this pastime makes up an important part of the local culture.  

The top 4 things to do in Bandera

1. Mount up and ride through the countryside 

Get in touch with your cowboy side and saddle up with the many horseback riding opportunities in Bandera. Experienced riders and rookies alike will find the perfect fit with so many options available, including the equine trails at the near by Hill Country Natural Area, part of the Texas State Park system. Those who would rather watch the pros at work can attend various equestrian competitions and shows throughout the year. 

2. Take in the sights of beautiful Texas Hill Country 

If gas prices don’t frighten you too badly, hop in the car and enjoy the many scenic routes through Bandera County. For instance, a route along the “Swiss Alps of Texas” crosses several rivers and runs along some of the highest elevations in Texas. The fall is a particularly popular time to visit nearby Lost Maples State Park, our local expert adds. With so many live oaks in the Hill Country, this is one of the few places you can see the foliage change.    

3. Shop Mom and Pop 

Bandera isn’t just a haven for the outdoorsy folks. The city has a charming downtown shopping area with many options, including antique stores, metalworking shops, and leather craftsmen. Additionally, most of the stores are family- and locally-owned, so each purchase gives right back to the community you are a part of. You might also want to stop in at Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon, the oldest continuously run honkey-tonk in Texas. 

4. Millions of years of history at your door

Bandera has plenty of history to delve into, from stories of the wild frontier of Texas’ earliest days to relics of ancient life at the Bandera Natural History Museum. Regardless of your interests, there’s a lot to learn for young and old residents alike.

Continue exploring the San Antonio area

AB

Aaron BoylesAuthor

A current English and creative writing teacher in North Carolina, Aaron Boyles writes part time and looks forward to maybe seeing these places he writes about one day in the flesh.

GH

Garrett HeathReviewer

Garrett Heath loves San Antonio, cheese enchiladas and Fiesta. He is the personality behind SA Flavor and loves exploring all that the Alamo City has to offer.