Despite less than four months of inventory available, home buyers were not deterred and contributed to a five percent jump in total home sales in October, according to the Multiple Listing Service Report (MLS) from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR). Just over 2,500 homes sold during the month, while days on market dropped four percent to 55 days. October ended with 2,203 sales still pending.
This surge was driven by low and mid-range homes, with 47 percent of homes sold priced under $200,000 and 48 percent priced between $200,000 and $500,000. Higher-end homes—those over $500,000—accounted for just five percent of the month’s sales, with 15 priced over $1 million.
“The San Antonio area continues to be one of the most affordable metro areas in the state, with almost half the homes priced under $200,000. In fact, the median price of a home in Bexar County in October was $196,000 while homes in Travis County sold for a median close to $340,000,” said Yvette Allen, SABOR’s 2017 Chairman of the Board. “When we look at everything in the MLS, which includes some inventory in surrounding areas like Boerne, our median goes up to $207,100, which is still far less than other parts of Texas and below the state median of $220,500.”
“With prices remaining stable and new listings continually coming on the market, there is something for both buyers and sellers here,” said Gilbert Gonzalez, SABOR’s interim CEO. “For buyers, there tends to be less competition in the off-season and they can see how the home functions in the colder weather. For sellers, homes are selling for 97.4 percent of list price.”
While the news is certainly heartening, those selling higher-priced homes need to make sure their property stands out to a more limited pool of buyers. That’s where a realtor with expertise in your area of town can be crucial. I have over 18 years of specialized experience working with sellers of fine properties in North Central San Antonio. Give me a call if I can help you understand and navigate the ever-changing real estate market in your neighborhood.
SABOR Multiple Listing Service Report: Home Sales Recap
|October 2015||October 016||October 2017|
|Total Month Sales||2,223 (5% increase)||2,399 (8% increase)||2,507 (5% increase)|
|Average Price||$229,637 (10% increase)||$240,373 (5% increase)||$241,127 (0% increase)|
|Median Price||$186,900 (6% increase)||$203,300 (8% increase)||$207,100 (2% increase)|
*Percentage increases are based on a year-over-year comparison.
Twelve days of early voting yielded Bexar County’s lowest pre-Election Day turnout in the last eight years. That means plenty of folks still need to head to their local polling place to vote today. What’s on the ballot? Besides several municipal races and local propositions, there are seven state constitutional amendments, including a property tax break for spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty. Other state propositions would establish new term limits for gubernatorial appointees and make several changes related to home equity loans, including a lower cap on loan fees.
Polling sites are open until 7 p.m. today. Not sure where you need to go to vote? You can find your polling location on the Bexar County Elections Department website.
It’s no surprise to anyone who lives here that San Antonio consistently appears at the top of “best places to live” lists. We have a great climate, interesting cultural roots, first class universities and a solid economy—plus our Alamo City was recently named by Forbes as one of the top twenty places in the nation to invest in a home due to affordability and growth. But there’s one list I wish San Antonio didn’t find itself on the top of year after year—the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s (AAFA) “Allergy Capital” ranking.
Last year, San Antonio ranked 22nd out of 100 of the largest U.S. metro areas by pollen count, allergy medicine use, and allergy specialists. And now that cooler weather and pumpkin-spiced lattes are in the air, it’s time to break out the tissues. If you’ve recently noticed yourself sniffling, sneezing and rubbing your eyes, you can blame ragweed and mold. But the worst is yet to come—one of my team members noticed a few ashe juniper trees beginning to turn tawny orange on their tips up in the Hill Country, meaning it’s only a matter of time before cold fronts carry those hazy yellow clouds our way again. San Antonio transplants might not notice much at first, since it may take years of exposure for sufferers to develop full-blown “Cedar Fever” symptoms.
But once you have it, all you want to do is make it stop. Besides seeing your doctor and figuring out which antihistamine and nasal steroid spray to use, what can you do to make this year’s allergy season better than last? Unfortunately, no one has come out with a magic bullet that works to stop cedar suffering, but there’s quite a bit you can do to minimize the fallout from pollen.
Keep Pollen from Hitchhiking Back Home with You
- Change clothes, or better yet, take a shower, when you come home after being outdoors.
- Take shoes off at the door and ask guests to do the same.
- Get daily wear contacts or wear glasses to reduce irritants clinging to lenses.
- Groom your pets more often if they spend much time outdoors, or wipe down fur with a cleansing cloth made for pets.
Make Your Home a Fortress
- Don’t be tempted to open windows to enjoy that fall weather. With the cool breeze comes pollen. Keep windows closed and run the AC if necessary.
- Clean carpets regularly in the fall and winter or replace carpets with tile. Hard surfaces are easier to clean and don’t retain pollen like carpets do. If you can’t replace your carpets, use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter for best results.
- Whether you are sipping hot cocoa while cutting your own tree in the Hill Country, or choosing one at a tree lot near you, be sure to spray it off with a hose when you get home. If your allergies are severe, consider an artificial tree.
- Replace your furnace’s filter. A furnace filter should capture most of the irritants that may trigger winter allergies, but won’t be as effective once it’s clogged. Replace your filter now, and again in late December or January, to keep pollen to a minimum
Choose Your Moment
- Time your workouts. It’s best to avoid the outdoors during high pollen count days, but that’s not always practical. So avoid the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. window when most plants tend to pollinate. And skip the outdoor run and head to the gym on windy days, when pollen tends to get stirred around.
- Know your pollen count and plan accordingly—for a Facebook friendly listing of what allergens are in play on any given day, check out Dr. Paul Ratner’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/paulhratner.
And for those of you who haven’t seen the trees in action, take a look at this video from Youtube:
School buses are back on the roads and the weather is cooling. With these sure signs of fall comes another—the predictable slowing of the San Antonio real estate market. Home sales in September totaled 2,587, a 13 percent decrease from the 2,984 homes sold in August.
“It is not unusual for sales to taper off once the summer season winds down. Kids are returning to school so families want to remain in one place, and many buyers and sellers like to be settled for the coming holiday season as well,” said Yvette Allen, SABOR’s 2017 Chairman of the Board. “This has still been a busy year for real estate in the San Antonio area. In fact, since January, a total of 23,414 homes have been sold, which is three percent more than this time period last year.”
Homes priced between $200,000 and $500,000 made up 50.3 percent of the homes sold in September and homes priced under $200,000 made up 45 percent of the month’s sales. Homes priced over $500,000 accounted for 4.8 percent of September’s sales, with 12 of those priced over $1 million.
Meanwhile, days on market plummeted seven percent from the previous year to just 52 days in September and months of inventory also remained low with 3.8 months available.
A tight market with inventory below 4 months generally favors sellers. My team excels at acting quickly to help our buyers write an attractive offer that will stand out from the rest. When conditions are competitive, working with an experienced REALTOR® can make all the difference.
The Syrian civil war is now in its seventh year. Come learn more about the complicated situation’s beginnings, as well as the current prospects for a peaceful resolution. My husband, Dr. David Lesch, author of “Syria: the Fall of the House of Assad,” and professor of Middle Eastern History at Trinity University, has met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other high-level officials on all sides of the conflict over the years, and will bring his personal insights to the November 9 lecture at Trinity. Click on the link above to be directed to more information and tickets to the event.
Ever had one of those moments where you wanted to eat out, but couldn’t face the prospect of getting back in the car after fighting traffic on your commute home? Did you think it would sure be nice if someone would go pick up the food you wanted and deliver it right to your door, while you surfed Facebook in your pajamas? And wouldn’t it be great if they could pick up your dry cleaning or grab a prescription from the pharmacy on the way? Well, now there is an app for that!
Favor delivery service allows you to get just about anything you want delivered right to your door in under an hour. After you download the app and save your info, just enter the items you would like from any restaurant or store in the San Antonio delivery zone, and Favor will send one of their “runners” to complete the pickup and delivery. Payment is secure and cashless and takes place right in the app.
The average delivery time is 35 minutes, but can vary depending on demand, traffic, and restaurant wait times—Favor keeps you posted on the status of your order via push notifications and texts from your runner.
So what will all this convenience cost you? Favor charges a $6 delivery fee in San Antonio and a 5% – 9% processing fee based on the cost of the items you’ve ordered. Tipping runners is highly encouraged, and the runners keep 100% of anything you decide to give.
If you are heading to ACL this weekend or next, Favor also operates in Austin and will bring almost anything you might need to your hotel or Airbnb place. They’ll even deliver Fest merchandise.
But be sure to BYOB—Favor doesn’t deliver alcohol in any of its cities. For more information, check out Favor’s website.
Texas home sales volume, home prices and listing activity experienced strong gains in the first half of the year, according to the Texas Association of REALTORS® 2017 Texas Real Estate Midyear Report. San Antonio was no exception, as we saw median prices slide up 5 percent and price-per-square-foot increase 6.2 percent over 2016. But Hurricane Harvey, and the massive devastation left in its wake, will have an incredible influence over the next six months–and beyond. Most of us have friends or relatives who are now dealing with their losses from flooding and gale-force winds, and the challenges they are facing in rebuilding are enormous. Those affected will have to make the decision about whether to rebuild or try to sell and move, and either option comes with both a human and economic pricetag. Businesses from “Mom and Pop” operations to blue-chip companies will need to make the same determination. I have already seen buyers from Houston taking a look at relocating to San Antonio, and I also think area developers will face shortages of skilled workers (already in short supply), such as electricians and masons, as Houston and the coastal areas rebuild. Though we were spared the direct effects of Harvey’s wrath here, we will certainly see the ripples from it in our market for some time to come.
Jim Gaines, Ph.D., chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, cautioned that Hurricane Harvey will likely negatively impact housing market statistics for some time to come. “Houston’s housing market accounts for roughly 25 percent of the Texas housing market,” said Gaines, “and it could take months before the Houston area begins to enter the recovery phase and a few years before the impacted communities fully recover.”
When I help my clients prepare their home for sale, one of the topics I discuss is staging. Not every home needs staging, but over the years, I have found most homes photograph and show better with a little professional editing. I work with an experienced interior decorator with a knack for making little changes that create a dramatic impact. It’s surprising how simply turning a sofa or moving a rug or a lamp can make a huge difference in a room, and my clients often remark that they wish they had thought to make the changes years earlier.
Helping buyers fall in love with a property takes more than making the beds and running the vacuum. It requires decluttering, depersonalizing and styling. So what common mistakes do stagers see and address with my clients? These top offenders seem to come up most often:
Mistake: Decluttering into Closets. Most clients have momentos, collections, extra clothing and furniture that will need to be removed. But cramming all of that clutter into every corner of every closet is a major problem. Storage is an important consideration for most buyers, and overstuffed closets give the wrong impression. Sellers can streamline the moving process by donating or throwing out unwanted items, and consider renting a storage unit or using a corner in a friend’s garage for the excess.
Mistake: Lawn and Patio Neglect. Withering plants give buyers pause; if a seller doesn’t take care of the landscape, what else aren’t they maintaining? Trim the bushes, keep the lawn mowed and edged, and add new blooming plants in large pots near the door or on the patio. Get rid of rotted or rusty furniture, and power wash patios and walkways.
Mistake: Misused Space. Bedrooms should be bedrooms, not closets. Dining rooms should contain a table and chairs, not the children’s video game equipment and a sofa. Although a non-traditional arrangement of space might have worked wonderfully for the seller, to appeal to the greatest number of buyers, each room should have a clear, traditional function. An easy rearrangement of furniture is usually all that is needed to give buyers a clearer picture.
Mistake: Hunting Trophies. Although many sellers and buyers are avid hunters, especially here in Texas, a wall full of deer heads is a turnoff for some. Now is the time to remove the trophies and put them in storage, then patch and paint walls.
Mistake: Getting Personal. Buyers have trouble picturing themselves in a home if the seller’s interests and opinions are represented in every corner. Ditch the kitsch, remove university affiliations (this means you Aggies and Longhorns), take down political signs, and store family photos, awards and collections.
Mistake: Forgetting about Fido. Pets are like family members, but even buyers who adore animals don’t want to smell them in their potential new home. Sellers should ask a trusted friend to give their home the sniff test. Cleaning carpets, repairing any damage pets have done to moulding or door frames, and moving kennels and extra-loved doggie toys to the garage can go a long way towards easing buyers’ concerns over lingering pet problems.
So what can my sellers expect when working with a stager? Most staging appointments last between 1 to 2 hours. The stager will walk through the house with the seller, and make most of the necessary changes right on the spot. Most of my sellers have a notebook handy, and make notes about any staging tasks, such as taking boxes to storage or rehanging artwork, that will need to be completed as “homework” after the stager leaves. Once the staging is complete, we schedule our photographer, and then my sellers can relax—their home is ready to impress at its first showing!