San Antonio House Prices Continue to Rise, Despite Slowing Sales

The increasingly serious shortage of new housing in San Antonio is beginning to have a major impact on the real estate market, as housing prices continued to rise in June, even though the pace of home sales is slowing, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The total number of homes sold in the month actually fell one percent from June of 2018, but the average sales prices was up sharply nonetheless, rising by 6% to just under $285,000, according to figures released by the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

The days a house spent on the market rose by two days in June over June of 2018.

SABOR Chair Grant Lopez says the local housing market remains strong, despite the drop in sales for June, which is among the strongest months for home sales.

"In fact, June had more than 700 more active listings than this same time last year as more and more sellers put their homes on the market this summer," he said.

He says the number reflect that San Antonio remains a 'seller's market.'

The slowdown in new home construction is a pheonmenon in growing cities nationwide, and is fueled by several factors. The main one is a lack of skilled construction workers. It is not unusual for the timetable for new home construction to be much longer today, with unsold homes sometimes sitting idle and half built for months.

Raw materials prices are also rising, and cities like San Antonio, which once had large stretches of developable land within easy reach of commercial centers is finding that land becoming scarce, and the prices becoming far more expensive.

But a significant factor in the rising price of homes is the 'impact fees' charged by city government. Local officials have made the decision, for example, to assess the total cost of running water, sewer, and utility service to a home under construction to the home itself, rather than spreading the cost across the system, on the argument that 'growth should pay for growth.' But the result is often a lack of lower end 'starter homes,' because those impact fees are charged 'by lot' instead of based on the sales price of the home. That encourages builders to put up more expensive homes, because the impact fees, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, are the same for every price level of homes, which cuts significantly into profits for 'affordable' homes.

Despite the rising price of metro San Antonio homes, San Antonio remains competitive in the state, and housing prices in Texas remain generally lower than prices in other attractive and growing cities and states.

The median price of a San Antonio home, which is the point at which half of the homes cost more and half the homes cost less, which avoids one $2 million sale pushing the 'average' price unrealistically high, was $241,000 last month. Compare that to the statewide median price of $313,000, and a median sales price now at $400,000 in Austin.

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