Photo courtesy of Foster Farm & Ranch.

Have you ever wanted to buy a retreat or say you own a slice of Utopia? Now’s your chance – the Utopia River Retreat, a remarkable 12-acre property on the Sabinal River in Utopia, Texas has hit the market for $2.5 million.

The secluded, tree-filled, riverfront estate boasts nine guest cabins and "the Fortress," a historic lodge that can sleep 12 guests.

Each cabin has its own full kitchen, living space, and covered porch. Three cabins have two bedrooms that can host up to six guests, and six cabins are single-bedroom that can sleep up to four guests.

The property has been a sought-after wedding destination since the first wedding ceremony took place there in 1861. The only structure on the land at the time was a stone fort, which has since been converted into the Fortress.

Other features of the Fortress include:

  • Two master suites
  • Three semi-private lofts
  • A full kitchen
  • Fireplace
  • Wrap-around porch
  • Original stonework on display

Another highlighted feature of the property is the renovated hay barn. The previous owners turned it into a bespoke event space with an open floor plan, wood beam ceilings, a stone fireplace, and attached deck. Also around the barn is a large green space and a covered gazebo with a breathtaking view of the Sabinal river.

The Utopia River Retreat sale is facilitated by Chad Foster, the founder and broker of Uvalde-based real estate group Foster Farm and Ranch.

“With its current amenities and space for expansion, Utopia River Retreat provides potential buyers with a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Foster in a press release. “The event space, cabins, and renovated fort make Utopia River Retreat a great addition to any real estate portfolio.”

As investors are snatching up properties left and right for the next wedding venue or event space, the Utopia River Retreat is touted as the next hidden gem in a booming wedding industry. The Knot estimates a Texas couple’s average wedding budget is between $24,000 and $30,000. Texas couples are also more likely to put 30 percent of their wedding budget towards a perfect venue for their special day.

Even outside of wedding season, the estate can host family vacations, reunions, and corporate retreats, and more.

The town of Utopia is located 90 miles west of San Antonio and 350 miles southwest of Dallas.

More information about the property can be found at the Utopia River Retreat website, and more information about the listing can be found at Foster Farm and Ranch’s website.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

This is how long San Antonio home buyers need to work to save for a down payment


With home prices rising for most of 2022 in San Antonio and around the country, thoughts about saving for a down payment have been distressing, to say the least.

SmartAsset.com, a consumer-focused financial information and advice website, analyzed and ranked the 50 largest U.S. cities on how long it takes the average household to save for a home, with calculations for a 12 percent or 20 percent down payment. The study compared the median household income and median home values for each area to determine the rankings.

The new study says San Antonio buyers will need to work for 2.16 or 3.60 years to save for the $197,600 median home price on a $54,923 median income. This puts San Antonio 38th on the list, well below several other Texas cities.

Austin was the only Texas city to rank in the top third, tying with Las Vegas for 14th place. There, buyers will need to work for 3.64 or 6.07 years, saving up for a 12 or 20 percent down payment on a median home value of $482,900 with a median income of $79,542. Compared to Los Angeles where it takes the longest (11.6 years) and New York (10 years), that's somewhat encouraging.

Dallas came in 24th, right in the middle of the pack, as did most Texas cities. With a median income of $57,995 and a median home value of $267,600 in Dallas, only 2.77 years of work and saving would be needed for a 12 percent down payment.

That's comparable to Houston, where the median income of $55,499 and median home price of $236,700 placed the city 31st out of 50. Houstonians need to work, on average, 2.56 years to save for a 12 percent down payment and 4.26 years for a 20 percent down payment.

Elsewhere in North Texas and around the state:

  • Fort Worth ranked 27th with 2.19 or 3.65 years of work needed to save for the $249,000 median home price on a $68,235 median income.
  • Arlington came in at number 32 with 2.55 or 4.25 years of work needed to save for the $254,700 median home price on a $59,889 median income.
  • El Paso came in 48th with 1.97 or 2.98 years of work needed to save for the $152,800 median home price on a $51,241 median income.

Texans looking to save for a shorter time without moving too far away might look to Oklahoma, where Tulsa ranked 42nd (2.02 or 3.37 years,) and Oklahoma City tied with Memphis, Tennessee for 46th place (1.97 or 3.22 years.)

Photo courtesy of Zillow

San Antonio boasts some of the biggest houses in the country, new ranking shows

Size matters

If everything’s bigger in Texas, that should include our homes, right? Well, a new study shows homes in the Lone Star State are among the biggest in the country — but not the biggest.

Texas appears at No. 11 on American Home Shield’s list of the states with the biggest houses. In Texas, the average home is 2,170 square feet, well behind top-ranked Utah (2,800 square feet).

But don’t despair, fellow Texans. Six Texas cities, including San Antonio, land on American Home Shield’s list of the top 20 major cities for home size. This list looks at average home sizes in the country’s 50 largest cities.

After reviewing more than 500,000 U.S. home listings from Zillow, American Home Shield concluded that San Antonio's average home boasts 2,002 square feet, ranking No. 17 in the nation and No. 5 among large cities in Texas.

The Texas cities on the list are:

  • No. 5 Fort Worth, 2,255 square feet
  • No. 7 Austin, 2,081 square feet
  • No. 11 Houston, 2,041 square feet
  • No. 16 El Paso, 2,004 square feet
  • No. 17 San Antonio, 2,002 square feet
  • No. 20 Dallas, 1,930 square feet

In case you were wondering, the big city with the biggest houses is Colorado Springs, Colorado (2,760 square feet), while the tiniest houses are in Honolulu, Hawaii (825 square feet).

“Several factors can dictate how large the average home is in a certain state or city,” says American Home Shield, which sells home warranties. “One of the primary factors is the age of the housing stock. American homes have gotten larger over time; states with a higher percentage of new homes tend to have larger homes on average.”

Photo courtesy of Icon Global

NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch at Texas-Oklahoma border listed for $22.5 million

Celebrity listing

An Oklahoma ranch around 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth that’s owned by NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw is back on the market for $22.5 million.

Bernard Uechtritz, owner of Dallas-based real estate agency Icon Global Group, says the 744-acre ranch was relisted after a deal with a would-be buyer fell through. Cancellation of the purchase followed a series of contract extensions, along with repeated assurances from the potential buyer and their representatives that the deal would close, according to Uechtritz. It’s unknown how much that buyer was willing to pay for the ranch.

Over the years, Uechtritz and Bradshaw have been “inundated” by inquiries about selling the ranch, where the E! reality TV series The Bradshaw Bunch was filmed, according to an Icon Global news release.

Terry Bradshaw ranchThe E! reality TV series The Bradshaw Bunch was filmed here.Photo courtesy of Icon Global

Bradshaw says in the news release that he and his wife, Tammy, are “sad to leave this great big ranch and our wonderful home, which has been our idyllic retreat of so many years; however, it is time that we slowed down a little, freeing us up to travel more, as well as enjoy new grandchildren, family, and other interests.”

The Bradshaws now live on a smaller farm in Texas where they continue to operate their Quarter Horse breeding business. In conjunction with the sale of the ranch, the Bradshaws are selling 150 Quarter Horses at an October 22 auction.

Terry Bradshaw ranchThe ranch sits on 744 acres.Photo courtesy of Icon Global

The ranch, just east of Thackerville, Oklahoma, and a few miles west of the Texas-Oklahoma border, will keep operating until the new owner takes over. The property, overlooking the Red River, sits within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation, which is home to the massive WinStar World Casino and Resort.

“The property and facilities are a turnkey-ready proposition for a major equestrian player in the horse business, or continued use as a cattle or private recreational ranch,” Uechtritz says.

Highlights of the ranch include:

  • Rustic 8,600-square-foot home with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, and four fireplaces
  • 2,600-square-foot manager’s house
  • Four-bedroom bunkhouse
  • Outdoor patio encompassing about 1,000 square feet, with a full kitchen, bar, fireplace, hot sauna, and fire pit
  • Eight lakes and ponds
  • Outdoor pool
  • Two-story doghouse made of stone
  • 12-stall stallion barn
  • 20-stall show barn
  • 50-stall mare barn with a laboratory, breeding facility, office, and covered arena
  • 20-stall barn for weaning horses
  • Hay barn
  • Show-pig barn

The property has been on and off the market for a number of years. At various times, it’s been priced at $11.9 million, $10.8 million, $10.6 million, and $9.9 million, according to media reports.

Terry BradshawThe Bradshaws are selling 150 Quarter Horses at an October 22 auction.Photo courtesy of Icon Global

As quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s and ’80s, Bradshaw led the team to four Super Bowl victories and twice clinched Super Bowl MVP honors. The Louisiana native, who celebrated his 74th birthday earlier this month, retired from pro football in 1984 after a 14-year stint with the Steelers and then joined CBS Sports as a football analyst. He’s been a Fox Sports football analyst since 1994.

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Board of Realtors

San Antonio home prices rise and sales fall in latest real estate report

Real Estate Report

San Antonio home prices went one way, while sales went the other in July 2022. The latest report from SABOR shows a 15 percent year-over-year increase in the area's median home price; meanwhile, there was a 15 percent year-over-year decrease in home sales.

In July, the San Antonio median home price clocked in at $341,600. The average area home price hit $389,486, up 12 percent from a year ago, but down from the all-time high of $405,891, which was recorded in June.

“Though the average and median price of a home continues to rise, this is the fourth month in a row we are seeing a decrease in home sales,” said Tracie Hasslocher, SABOR chairman, in a release.

“3,333 homes were sold in July, a decrease of 15 percent from July 2021. To close the month, there were 5,114 new listings and 9,068 active listings, both an increase from last year. However, there was a 12 percent decrease in pending sales.”

According to data provided by SABOR, the San Antonio trends mirror the Texas market as a whole. Home sales across the state dropped 15.4 percent last month, compared to July 2021, while the average home price grew 10 percent and the median home price climbed almost 13 percent.

Photo by Ariel Skelley/Getty

San Antonio ranks No. 5 among best bang-for-your-buck housing markets

alamo city bargain

In today’s home market, buyers are looking to get the most house for the lowest price. It turns out that in this regard, the San Antonio area delivers one of the biggest bangs for the buck.

A new ranking from residential real estate platform Home Bay puts San Antonio at No. 5 among the country's 50 biggest metros on the "most bang for the buck" meter. The ranking is based on the median price per square foot for a new single-family home.

In 2021, the typical 2,036-square-foot new home in the San Antonio area cost $349,900, or $172 per square foot, according to Home Bay.

“Examining price per square foot is more important than in the past because housing prices are also outpacing income,” Home Bay says.

Two other Texas metros join Houston in the “most bang for the buck” category:

  • No. 3 Houston, with a median price of $167 per square foot for a new 2,185-square-foot new home, costing $359,995.
  • No. 8 Dallas-Fort Worth, with a median price of $186 per square foot for a new 2,145-square-foot home, costing $399,950.

Memphis, Tennessee, tops the “most bang for the buck” list, with a median price of $92 per square foot. Across the U.S., the median price per square foot stands at $169.

Also in the Home Bay report, Houston appears at No. 5 for the median size of a new single-family home (2,158 square feet at the end of 2021). Two other Texas metros make the top 10 in this category: No. 6 Dallas-Fort Worth (2,145 square feet) and No. 8 Austin (2,100 square feet).

Memphis also leads this list, at 2,630 square feet for the median size of a new single-family home.

Home Bay used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Realtor.com to come up with its rankings.

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Soul songstress Patti LaBelle makes solo stop in San Antonio on her Texas tour with Gladys Knight

Midnight Train

It may be hard to nail down what gives someone “soul,” but two iconic performers are taking that je ne sais quoi on tour. Gladys Knight (“Midnight Train To Georgia”) and Patti LaBelle (“Lady Marmalade”) are joining forces for a summer tour that San Antonians can catch if they want to take a drive to Austin.

LaBelle will breeze through San Antonio’s Majestic Theater on June 17 for a solo show. She will meet Knight at Austin's Bass Concert Hall on Monday, June 19.

Both singers came up as frontwomen of groups — Knight with her family as Gladys Knight & the Pips, and LaBelle with girl group Labelle. Knight stayed more in the realm of soul and R&B, while LaBelle crossed over to a more rock sphere. Both have won numerous awards and are considered pioneers in the genre.

Knight and LaBelle are the same age, but after decades of friendship spanning the majority of their lives, the former calls the latter her “little sister.” The pair famously first appeared together in the 1986 HBO special Sisters in the Name of Love, and have been seen as a pair many times since, including when LaBelle bestowed Knight with her Kennedy Center honors in 2022 and even facing off in a Verzuz battle (a webcast stream in which the two artists chatted and took turns singing karaoke to their own tracks).

The duo will be hard to catch elsewhere, as both are on separate tours that only sometimes converge. LaBelle's only solo Texas stop is the Majestic Theater stop. Knight's independent tour schedule does not show any Texas date. The two will come together before their Austin show in Grand Prairie, Texas, at the Texas Trust CU Theatre on June 18.

Tickets for LaBelle's San Antonio performance are available at majesticempire.com via Ticketmaster. Tickets for the Austin performance will go on sale on March 31 at 10 am at texasperformingarts.org. Presale tickets are available to Texas Inner Circle members as of March 28.

Shiner Beer crafts new barbecue joint at iconic Texas brewery

Lewis and Clark, Sonny and Cher, SpongeBob and Patrick. Duos float in and out of pop culture at hummingbird speed. But few have quite as much staying power as beer and barbecue. So, it’s only natural that one of Texas’ most iconic breweries would want to break out the smoker.

According to a release, Shiner Beer is untapping a new market with the April 1 grand opening of K. Spoetzl BBQ Co. Housed at the newly expanded Spoetzl Brewery, the eatery will welcome carnivores seven days a week.

Pitmaster Tommy Schuette, the former proprietor of the Shiner Barbeque Co., will lead the charge with the state’s holy trinity of smoked meats, including brisket, sausage, and ribs. Other favorites like pulled pork and chicken will be served alongside a meaty assortment of salads, loaded potatoes, and sandwiches.

Of course, no Texas barbecue joint can get away with skimping on the sides. Potato salad and pinto beans are served throughout the week, but weekend guests get a little extra. Diners can also opt for green beans, coleslaw, creamed corn, and giblet rice from Thursday through Saturday.

In celebration of K. Spoetzl BBQ’s debut, samples will be passed out between 10:30 am-6 pm on April 1. QR codes will also be scattered across the grounds giving visitors a chance to win gift cards, shirts, hats, and more. Diners will also be given a free beer token for every $25 spent at the restaurant that day.

In addition, budding influencers can post a picture of Schuette to social media to get a coupon for 10 percent off. (As a rule, pitmasters do not need a yassify filter.)

After the grand opening celebration, K. Spoetzl BBQ will be open daily. Hours are 10 am-4 pm, so plan accordingly.

Texas rises through the ranks of most innovative states, says new report


The Lone Star State has again taken a step up on an annual report that ranks the most and least innovative states in the country — this time cracking the top 15.

Texas ranked No. 15 in personal finance site WalletHub's 2023’s Most and Least Innovative States ranking. It's a steady improvement for the state, which ranked No. 16 in 2022 and No. 17 in 2021.

The report analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia and how each performed across 22 key metrics, including population of STEM professionals, venture capital investment activity, number of technology companies, patents per capita, and more. The data was pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, National Center for Education Statistics, United States Patent and Trademark Office, and other records.

Here's how Texas performed at a glance:

  • No. 18 – for share of STEM professionals
  • No. 16 – for projected STEM job demand by 2030
  • No. 25 – for eighth grade math and science performance
  • No. 21 – for share of science and engineering graduates aged 25 or older
  • No. 13 – for share of technology companies
  • No. 31 – for R&D spending per capita
  • No. 18 – venture capital funding per capita

For the 11th year, Texas won Site Selection Magazine's Governor's Cup, the governor's office announced earlier this year. The award, which Texas has won 19 times since its inception in 1978, recognizes the nation’s top-performing state for job-creating business relocations and expansions.

"Texas truly is America’s economic engine, and we stand apart as a model for the nation. When choosing where to relocate or expand their businesses, more and more innovative industry leaders find themselves at home in our state," Governor Greg Abbott says in a news release about the award.

"I congratulate the exceptional economic development teams at the local, regional, and state level who have worked so diligently to attract and retain these growing businesses and the jobs they create in diverse communities across this great state," he continues.

The most innovative states included the District of Columbia, which ranked at No. 1, followed by Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, and California, respectively. The least innovative state was identified as Mississippi, followed by Louisiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Arkansas, respectively.

Source: WalletHub

Access to quality education is a significant contributor to each state's innovation economy, the experts say in the report.

"Investing in education, particularly K-12 but also at the University level, it is no accident that innovative ecosystems develop in states with strong education systems and research universities," says David L. Deeds, professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. "These institutions build strong capable modern workforces that attract capital, and jobs and create innovations. The benefits do not happen overnight, in fact, they take years if not decades, but consider what The UC’s or the University of Texas at Austin have meant for the development of premier innovative ecosystems."