Home COVID-19 Updates Pandemic doesn’t stop North Central homebuyers

Pandemic doesn’t stop North Central homebuyers

Sales slow, but buyers are getting serious about closing deals

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In spite of the pandemic sparked by the highly contagious COVID-19, real estate professionals report that home sales are still moving along at a steady pace across San Antonio, including on the South Side. Stock photo

Home sales remained steady this spring in North Central despite a pandemic and lockdowns, though May saw a dip compared to the same month a year ago.

“We have a lot of serious buyers,” said Joyce Marie Jackson, a Realtor with Kimberly Howell Properties. “Before COVID-19, they were looking. Now they’re serious.”

Sales in North Central San Antonio, which also includes the cities of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park and Terrell Hills, declined in May to 88 in five ZIP codes, compared to 123 in May of last year and 121 the same month in 2018, according to Multiple Listing Service data from the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

Jackson said with more buyers taking the increased downtime to get out of the house and putting home buying at the top of the list, the numbers could rise in the next months as more deals close.

She said one of the hot areas has been from Tobin Hill to North New Braunfels Avenue, where the deals for houses under $200,000 are drawing everyone from first-time homebuyers to investors looking to fix and flip older homes.

Prices across North Central showed a mixed bag.

In the 78204 ZIP code, seven houses sold for an average of $203,557, a 29 percent decline compared to the average of the seven homes sold in the same month last year.

For 78205, which encompasses downtown where there aren’t many single-family houses on the market, there were two rare sales in May, going for an average price of $398,000 after just 51 days on the market.

The most active was in the 78209 ZIP code, which had 38 home sales in May, but it was still down significantly from 67 in the same month last year. The average price of houses sold for the month was down 7.4 percent to $481,316. The median price, however, was up for the month by 29 percent to $458,750.

In 78210, the average price on the sale of 20 houses was up 8.6 percent in May to $202,840.

The average sold price for 21 houses in the 78212 ZIP code was up a whopping 70.2 percent at $524,765. That likely indicates a handful of high-dollar sales in the mix. The median price in May declined 39 percent to $262,400.

Citywide, apartment rental rates had been climbing for years including reaching new highs by 2020’s first quarter, according to an analysis of a national database from Apartment List/Rentometer. However, job loss associated with the pandemic, and an overall softening economy, caused a slight drop in average rates in May.

Rents declined 0.3 percent from April to May, and were virtually unchanged from last May. The median for a one-bedroom and two-bedroom unit is $856 and $1,076, respectively.

Across the San Antonio metropolitan area in May, home sales fell 20 percent from last year to 2,869, according to SABOR. However, it is rebounding from April, when the number of sales dipped to 2,748.

The city and county issued shelter-in-place directives in March, and ordered the closure of nonessential businesses, to thwart the coronavirus spread. Some of those mandates were lifted weeks later, though what some are calling a significant surge is prompting new safety measures.

May’s pending sales, many with closing dates in June, numbered 3,745, up from 2,652 pending sales at the end of April.

“While we saw a little downward trend this month compared to May 2019, if we’re looking at total numbers for the year, the sales numbers are only a 0.3 percent decrease, so we’re near par for year-to-date home sales,” said Kim Bragman, SABOR’s 2020 chair. “Also, we entered into June with (the) total number of pending sales up by 20 percent, which is promising for an upward trajectory to round out the year, as we move into summer buying months.”

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