If you’ve just made the decision to buy your first home in San Antonio, we’d like to say congratulations! There’s never been a better time to own San Antonio real estate. Over the last several years, sustained job growth, low interest rates, and a consistently improving economy have caused a major boom in the local housing market. In fact, WalletHub recently reported that San Antonio has the healthiest housing market Texas, and ranks 3rd overall in the US!
These constantly improving statistics are incredible news for our city...and Texas seems to have taken notice. In the last several years, San Antonio has been attracting more and more new residents, from young professionals to retirees. After all, the local economy and job market have been unparalleled in the south Texas area. However, as the population grows, so does the competition for rental properties.
Statistics over the past several years have proven that rent is on the rise in San Antonio...a fact that causes little celebration for anyone except landlords. This fact, combined with high levels of employment and a good local economy, have caused many renters to ask themselves, “Should I be buying a home instead?”
For many, the answer is yes! Owning your own home has many benefits, both financial and personal. While renters pay a monthly fee to live in a home they can’t make any changes or improvements to, homeowners pay for a mortgage in monthly installments that build up over time to the owner’s benefit. Whereas renting is a convenient way to live, buying a home is a long-term investment that can pay off in the end. As one study pointed out, home equity often makes up the bulk of a homeowner’s net worth, making it a major cushion against bankruptcy. If mortgage payments are made on time, buyers can expect an improved credit score, as well as tax advantages due to itemized deductions. Besides the financial benefits, owning your own home also gives you the freedom to customize your space, improve energy efficiency, own a pet, and much more.
What to look for in your first home:
So what characteristics should you be looking for in your first home? The first and primary thing to keep in mind when buying your home is that this is more than likely a long-term investment. We don’t recommend get caught up by fancy trends or a hip location...though it may sound boring, sustainability is one of the most important things to consider in the process. We recommend looking for a home with a good price and good future re-selling potential! Several factors to consider include:
1. School District
Whether or not you have school-aged children, school districts go a long way in determining a home’s value. If you want to re-sell your home in the future or you plan to have kids, choosing a neighborhood with reputable schools is highly advisable!
You’ve heard it said before that location is perhaps the most important part of real estate value. If your new home is a long-term investment, you’ll want to look at the area around your new neighborhood carefully. What will this area be like in 10 years? Though some of this is just a guessing game, we recommend looking at areas that are beginning to grow. If shopping, leisure, and business are springing up, you can bet that homes in the area will gain value! Often, these areas are on the peripheries of a city as this allows more room for expansion and growth.
3. Family planning/Space
If you are going to be living in this home for a long time, consider more than just your current spatial needs. If you’re planning on starting a family, consider adding a bedroom or two to your current wish list. Make a list of things you might need your house for over the next several years and try to think ahead as much as possible
We compiled the following list of neighborhoods using a combination of factors, including area growth, location, affordability, school districts, and variety of homes. While we understand that not all first-time homebuyers are looking for the same type of home at the same price, we tried to find neighborhoods that are reachable for individuals and families who are moving from renting to homeownership (taking into consideration that the median household income in San Antonio is approximately $50,000 and adding variety from there).
Alamo Ranch: The Summit 50’s and Riverstone
As San Antonio’s largest master-planned community, Alamo Ranch represents San Antonio’s real estate growth at its finest! On the northwestern edge of the city, the Alamo Ranch area has been growing rapidly in the last several years. A major shopping complex nearby offers over 90 stores, including everything from grocery to luxury. On-site amenities include aquatic center, sports fields, trails, gated communities, and even on-site elementary and middle schools! The community is served by Northside ISD, one of the most sought-after districts in the city. Two popular subdivisions within this community are The Summit 50’s and Riverstone. The Summit 50’s start around $250k and go up to about $330k. Riverstone homes start a little lower at $211k and go up from there.
Wildhorse at Tausch Farms
The northwest corner of the city is currently experiencing a tremendous amount of growth. If you want in on this exciting development but want to keep your neighborhood a bit smaller, a home at Wildhorse at Tausch Farms might be worth considering! This brand new subdivision offers a variety of spacious homes located right off of 1604 (meaning easy travel to the rest of the city). Because it’s on the edge of the city, Wildhorse offers beautiful Hill Country views as well. Amenities include a resort-style pool and playgrounds. Also located within the coveted Northside ISD area, Wildhorse homes are priced between $202k-$280k.
It’s hard to beat Stillwater Ranch when it comes to luxury with an affordable price tag. Also located in the northwest section of San Antonio, this neighborhood is tucked away about two miles from Loop 1604. This strategic location means that Stillwater Ranch offers a coveted sense of privacy while still residing only minutes away from some of San Antonio’s best shopping. The amenities available in Stillwater Ranch include a huge aquatic center with a resort-style pool, a gym, playgrounds, sports courts, hiking/biking trails, and on-site Scarborough Elementary School! Also within Northside ISD, Stillwater Ranch homes usually cost between $233,990 and $264,990. Both quick move-in and custom homes are available now!
If you’re looking for something similar to the neighborhoods listed above but want something a bit closer to the center of the city, you might consider Estonia Estates! This neighborhood is located just outside the northwestern section of Loop 410. Built by Meritage Homes, prices are very affordable, ranging from about $182k -$268k.Highly acclaimed Northside ISD services Estonia Estates, which also offers a park, playground, recreation center, swimming pool, and walking/running trails. Homes are marked by spacious, open floorplans...perfect for starting a family!
The Canyons at Stone Oak
Due to the area’s recent “up and coming” status, most of these featured neighborhoods have been in the northwest section of San Antonio. However, if you’re looking for something in a different area, we recommend you take a look at The Canyons at Stone Oak. This beautiful gated community features beautiful views, mature oak trees, and an on-site swimming pool. The Stone Oak area boasts a variety of convenient shopping and is in close proximity to restaurants, theaters, and popular golf courses like TPC San Antonio. Also, due to its location on Hwy 281 just north of Loop 1604, it’s truly on the cusp of the Texas Hill Country. Homes are very affordable, priced anywhere from the $230’s to the mid-300s! The neighborhood is serviced by North East ISD, which boasts San Antonio’s highest-rated schools.
If you’re a first-time buyer in the San Antonio area, you certainly have a lot to choose from! These are just a few neighborhoods that combine factors we suggest looking for: affordability, good school districts, up-and-coming location, and room to grow. Want more info? Click here to download this FREE Buyer’s Guide, customized for the San Antonio buyer. You’ll find valuable information about finding a REALTOR®, connecting with lenders, making an offer, closing costs, and way more. Let us be your guide!