San Antonio-area home sales and prices skyrocket as inventory tightens

Home sales and prices in the San Antonio area soared in September amid pent-up demand, low interest rates and a tight supply of available homes.

Buyers in Bexar and surrounding counties closed on 3,623 homes last month, up about 32 percent from September 2019, the San Antonio Board of Realtors reported Tuesday. Sales year-to-date are up about 8 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

The median price rose about 11 percent to $261,200.

“The significant growth in sales compared to last year shows the housing sector as a possible factor to move the economy forward,” said Kim Bragman, SABOR’s 2020 board chairman. “We are hopeful to see a positive growth of sales for the remainder of the year.”

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Around 68 percent of the homes sold in September were priced between $200,000 and $499,999, compared with nearly 61 percent during the same month last year. Almost 22 percent were priced at $199,000 and below, down from over 33 percent.

Houses priced at $500,000 and above made up about 9 percent of sales last month, compared with close to 6 percent in September 2019.

Active listings were down more than 30 percent and the region’s inventory of available homes continued to tighten, reaching 2.3 months. An inventory of six months typically indicates a balance between buyers and sellers.

Sales in the region plummeted in the spring as concerns about the pandemic and lockdown orders kept prospective buyers home and prompted sellers to pull their houses off the market. But activity started rising again during the summer as home hunters returned and restrictions loosened.

Similar patterns are playing out in cities across the country: sales are increasing and a shortage of available homes is pushing prices up, making it harder for first-time and lower-income buyers to find a house and prompting bidding wars.

The National Association of Realtors has not released its September figures yet, but reported sales in August were up 10.5 percent from the same month last year.

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“Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3 percent and with continued job recovery,” said Lawrence Yun, the organization’s chief economist.

The median price jumped 11.4 percent to $310,600 — marking 102 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, according to the organization. Inventory was down 18.6 percent from one year ago.

“Housing demand is robust but supply is not, and this imbalance will inevitably harm affordability and hinder ownership opportunities,” Yun said. “To assure broad gains in homeownership, more new homes need to be constructed.”

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