Bringing it home

San Antonio excels as top market for housing affordability, report says

San Antonio excels as top market for affordable housing, report says

Home for sale sign
Settling in San Antonio is a bit more affordable than in other housing markets. Photo by fstop123/Getty Images

For many middle-income households in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic put adequate, affordable housing even further out of reach. Fortunately, some metro areas — including San Antonio — make it easier to secure adequate, affordable housing.

Data released March 15 by the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing shows that among the 50 metro areas with the largest populations, only two performed better than the median across at least two-thirds of the 30 housing metrics examined. Those two metro areas are San Antonio and Pittsburgh. San Antonio climbed above the median for nearly 70 percent of the metrics, included in the Terwilliger Center’s 2021 Home Attainability Index report.

In all, the Terwilliger Center examined data for 112 metro areas in five categories: overall affordability, homeownership attainability, rental attainability, neighborhood opportunity and access, and housing creation. Although the index does not assign a score to each metro area, Ogden, Utah, landed at No. 1 for checking off the most boxes related to housing attainability.

“Patterns of housing insecurity and racial and socioeconomic inequality that existed prior to COVID-19 have been exacerbated by the pandemic and the associated economic downturn,” Michael Spotts, author of the report and a visiting research fellow at the Terwilliger Center, says in a release. “We are staring in the face of a situation in which many of the people who were critical in getting the population at large through this crisis face years of economic uncertainty and hardship as the country recovers.”

San Antonio continues to maintain its status as the most affordable major-metro housing market in Texas.

In 2020, the San Antonio area’s median home price climbed 8.2 percent to $249,000, the Texas Association of Realtors says. That compares with $344,000 in Austin, $291,000 in Dallas-Fort Worth, and $260,000 in Houston. In the fourth quarter of last year, San Antonio — at $984 — was the only major-metro market in Texas with a monthly rental rate below $1,000, according to the association.

Still, a report from the San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation warns that Alamo City “is in a housing affordability crisis.” One-third of San Antonio households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to the report, and nearly half of all renters are “cost burdened.” The report adds that this situation is worsening.

“Over the last decade, while median household income increased 1.9 percent per year, housing prices increased at 4.7 percent per year, meaning the American dream of homeownership remains just a dream for tens of thousands of San Antonio citizens,” the report says.