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San Antonio, TX homebuyer’s guide

The not-so-hidden gem of Texas continues to sparkle.

AB

Aaron Boyles

Author

10 min read

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In the scenic hill country of Texas, historic San Antonio awaits tourists and would-be residents alike. Those looking to learn of Texas’ storied past and dive into a flourishing modern city will find it all in this not-so-hidden gem of a city. Trek along the world-famous River Walk, which marries new breweries brimming with local libations with the many historic missions and the awe they demand. 

Like every city across the country, San Antonio has seen a dramatic rise in home prices over the last few years, but the market remains more affordable than other parts of the country, and signs indicate a cooling, creating an opening for prospective buyers. Those who secure a home in the city are in for a bevy of amenities and attractions unique to the cultural hub that is San Antonio.

Latest homes for sale in San Antonio

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    $254,900

    • 4 br
    • 3 ba
    • 1700 sqft
    5915 Viva Max Dr, San Antonio, TX 78238
  • Listing main image
  • Listing main image
  • Listing main image
  • Listing main image

    $220,000

    • 3 br
    • 2.5 ba
    • 1617 sqft
    9827 Barhill Bay, San Antonio, TX 78245
  • Listing main image

    $354,900

    • 4 br
    • 2.5 ba
    • 2273 sqft
    8214 Taft Crk, San Antonio, TX 78254
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    $364,900

    • 4 br
    • 2.5 ba
    • 2540 sqft
    7927 Deepwell Dr, San Antonio, TX 78254
  • Listing main image

    $230,000

    • 3 br
    • 2 ba
    • 1361 sqft
    539 Lanark Dr, San Antonio, TX 78218
  • Listing main image

    $205,000

    • 4 br
    • 1 ba
    • 1313 sqft
    8707 Sleepy Mdws, Converse, TX 78109

The San Antonio housing market

$308k

5%

Median Home Price

$165

5%

Median Price per Sq. Ft

2,516

5%

Average Monthly Home Sales

The cooling market comes to town

As other parts of the country saw the white-hot housing market begin to cool during the spring of 2022, the San Antonio market burned on. However, as of July, records show that the Texas housing market may finally be calming as well. Listing prices have begun to drop as rising interest rates and economic worries dry up the applicant pool of new homebuyers, meaning those who are still hunting for their next home may find the process a little less daunting.  

Competition is still stiff, though 

Even as prices drop slightly from their historic highs, the San Antonio housing market still presents some challenges for prospective buyers. As people flee more expensive parts of the country, the San Antonio area has been a major target for those looking for a lower cost of living. As more and more people flock to the area, available homes will continue to be snatched up, so interested parties need to be prepared to act quickly on tantalizing listings.  

Property value

Even with the drop, prices are still high

Over the last few years, as is the case with most parts of the country, home prices have skyrocketed, and even with dips in listing prices, these numbers are still significantly higher than a few years ago. Additionally, few measures indicate any sort of home value collapse akin to the 2008 housing bubble crisis, so those purchasing these homes can expect some degree of stability in the value of their new home. However, with such uncertainty in the markets, buyers need to be aware of all possibilities.  

Cost of living in San Antonio 

49%

Rent Affordability Index

Cheaper homes mean a more affordable life  

Cost of living in San Antonio is, pretty much across the board, more affordable than the national average. Home prices spearhead this affordability, but areas like transportation and energy are also significantly more wallet-friendly, too. For instance, fueling up and getting around costs, on average, around 14 percent less than in other parts of the country, and power bills will be around 13 percent less, even with those hot Texas summers.  

The affordability capital of Texas  

Those aware of Texas’ overall affordability will likely not be surprised by San Antonio’s lower cost of living; however, even when compared to other Texas cities, San Antonio still comes out on top for saving its residents money. Less traffic and improving public transportation options mean lower fuel prices and friendlier grocery store prices; San Antonio’s status as something of a hidden gem keeps home prices lower than rival cities. 

The job market

In the face of recession, San Antonio continues to thrive. The city continues to add new jobs at a rate outpacing most of the country, and those jobs come with higher wages and benefits, to boot. Other Texas cities did slightly outperform San Antonio in job creation and wage growth, but with the Alamo City’s lower cost of living, workers get more bang for their buck in the first place.  

2.3%

Unemployment Rate

$86k

Average Salary per Year

A wide array of industries 

Part of what keeps the San Antonio job market hot even in bothersome economic times is the wide variety of jobs available to residents. From retail positions to warehouse roles to data entry positions, San Antonio has jobs for all professions and skill levels, and many of these jobs are now remote, making the stress of your daily commute a thing of the past. 

Public transportation

Services offered in San Antonio 

🚌

Bus: VIA Metro Transportation

🚗

Car Pool: VanPool

🔋

EV Charging: City of San Antonio

A robust bus network

Whether hopping from work to your favorite lunch joint downtown or commuting to and from the city, San Antonio has you covered with a dense network of bus routes within the city and express lines that extend well into the suburbs of the greater metro area. Patrons can choose from frequent stop routes with numerous, convenient bus stops nearer to the city, or those a little further out or in a hurry can access park-and-ride express routes.  

For everything else, VanPool!

If the bus lines don’t quite meet your needs, San Antonio also provides rideshare services in the form of VanPool, a group rental program to help ease the pains of commute costs. Groups of 5-15 riders can pitch in to use the service vans within the city’s bus range, which allows for cheaper fuel costs and the convenience of getting a ride right at your doorstep. 

Demographics

1,858,891

Population

36.1

Median Age

88,549

Family Median Income

A diverse home for all walks of life

Many different kinds of people call San Antonio home, and those looking to appreciate the myriad cultures and ethnicities America has to offer will find a lot to appreciate about this city. The majority of residents identify as Hispanic, followed by those who identify as White. All other races are represented as well but to a lesser extent. The city is also a little on the younger side, with the majority of residents falling somewhere in their later twenties and early-to-mid thirties. 

Crime & safety

As with most cities, San Antonio does have a complicated relationship with crime. As the nation opened back up in the wake of COVID quarantines, crime rates began to rise. Both homicides and property crimes have increased in the last few years, but some of that increase can be attributed to increased enforcement in the area. Overall, though, violent crime at large has decreased recently, indicating that the area may be shifting in a more positive direction. 

Neighborhood guide

Immerse yourself in the diverse and complex world of San Antonio through its numerous neighborhoods and districts, each distinct and significant in its own right. Whether it be the arts, history, fun, or food, one of these San Antonio neighborhoods will be right for you. 

Downtown/River Walk - Be right in the heart of it all 

Those looking to take in all that San Antonio has to offer will find no better place than Downtown. Here, residents can soak up the area’s history at its many historical sites, ride a barge along the San Antonio River, and enjoy prime access to the many bars and restaurants throughout the city.    

Alamo Heights - Quiet and quaint comfort 

With its tree-lined streets and historic buildings, Alamo Heights offers residents a cozy reprieve from some of San Antonio’s more energetic and lively areas. The McNay Art Museum, just a short walk away, was the first modern art museum in Texas and hosts 22,000 beautiful works of art across hundreds of years of human history.   

Eastside/Sunset Station/Dignowity - Vintage, cultural stylings  

Home to a rich and complex history of African American culture, Eastside residents revel in its historical significance. Celebrate all that the African American community has brought to San Antonio through the vibrant restaurants of St. Paul Square and historic homes of Dignowity Hill.     

King William/Southtown - Brimming with art 

Dip just south of the bustle of downtown San Antonio to find yourself in the artistic fervor of Southtown. Amidst the Victorian-inspired homes and locally-owned shops and restaurants, locals can take in glorious works of art in the many galleries and museums like the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum and the festive art walk the first Friday of every month. 

Mission and South - The marriage of old and new 

San Antonio history is far more than just the Alamo, and residents in the southern reaches of the greater metro area are well-aware of this fact. Travel the River Walk and stop by four missions to learn about the storied history of San Antonio while indulging in some of the local restaurants along the way. 

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

1. Be ready to try new things 

For those willing to step out of their comfort zone and try new things, San Antonio provides a wealth of opportunities to expand your horizons. Locals suggest that you get out of the house and explore, dropping by somewhere new to eat or drink or experience every chance you get. With so much on offer, you’re likely never to run out of new things to do in San Antonio.  

2. Getting toasty

If you hail from more northern corners of the country, you may be in for a rude awakening courtesy of the Texas sunshine. While the typically mild winters are a pleasant reality for locals, residents pay the price during the summer, with highs easily reaching the upper 90s for considerable portions of the year, not to mention the drenching humidity. Be ready to swap pea coats for shorts if you move south.

3. Bike the riverside

San Antonio welcomes you to appreciate the little things, and a tranquil afternoon cycling along the mission reach of River Walk may be just what you need to unwind after a long week. If the bike paths don’t suit you, stroll, instead, through the historic neighborhoods and appreciate the diverse architecture of the city. Whatever you decide to do, let San Antonio’s more placid vibes take you away from time to time. 

The top 4 things to do in San Antonio

1. Feast on local fare 

You are what you eat, and to be a proper San Antonian, you need to eat like a San Antonian. Start your day with savory breakfast tacos at The Little Taco Factory, grab a quick lunch of succulent deli meats at Schilo’s, the oldest restaurant in San Antonio, and finish your day off with expertly-crafted cocktails at Bar 1919

2. A river walk to remember 

San Antonio has so much to offer, and while you’ll struggle to experience it all in one swoop, the famous River Walk is your best shot at appreciating this city’s wonder. Whether by foot or river barge, this scenic and peaceful route will take you by shopping, restaurants, historic sites, and pretty much anything else you could wish for. The recent Museum Reach extension to the north travels by historical locales like Pearl Brewery, and to the south, bike and even kayak along beautiful Mission Reach. 

3. As the day ends, the party begins 

After a long day of sunlit San Antonio beauty, dusk brings even more splendor to the Alamo City. You have your pick of classy cocktail bars, old-school ice houses, tight-knit taverns, and boisterous nightclubs, or, if you’re looking to take in a show, the illustrious Majestic Theater or the state-of-the-art Tobin Center. Either way, you’re bound to keep making memories long past sunset. 

4. Recover with some local produce  

The morning after some San Antonio fun, swing by the Pearl Weekend Farmers Market to stock up on fresh veggies, fruits, and meats all local to South Texas. Swap recipe ideas and bond with your community as you support local vendors and take in the close-knit San Antonio spirit.

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.