We all know what renters dream about when they’re not thinking about the logistics of owning a home: low rent prices with the perfect amount of space. In a city like San Antonio, that’s getting harder and harder to come by.

In fact, for renters who have a budget of $1,500 a month, the average apartment size they can get in San Antonio spans about 1,010 square feet. That’s according to a new study by apartment rental marketplace RentCafe. RentCafe’s study looked at data from their sister site, Yardi Matrix, to determine the average size and price per square foot for a $1,500 monthly budget in 200 of the largest American cities.

Alamo City is No. 9 among the Texas cities with the most space for the same budget. This may not sound like a great rating, but San Antonio is significantly bigger than the rest of the most spacious top 10 — so there's more to do outside that 1,010-square-foot apartment.

The worst offender, with the smallest space for the price, is Austin. Austin renters have to make do with an average apartment size of 714 square feet, which is a nearly 300-square-foot difference in comparison to San Antonio. In Killeen, which is only 70 miles north of Austin, renters can find an average apartment size of 1,095 square feet. Austin is at the bottom of the list in the overall analysis of Texas cities.

If you head to the Houston area, Pasadena residents get an average of 1,180 square feet of space for $1,500 a month, whereas renters searching for apartments in Houston proper will only get about 997 square feet.

Renters looking to live in Fort Worth or Dallas will notice a nearly 100 square foot difference between apartments, at 909 and 805 square feet, respectively. Residents can get the most bang for their buck in the suburbs with an average apartment size well into the 900-square-foot range. Mesquite residents, by far, get the most space, at 999 square feet, whereas renters in Garland and Arlington get an average of 937 and 928 square feet for the same budget.

Elsewhere in Texas, apartments in the Rio Grande Valley have the best price per square foot in the state. McAllen residents get the most space out of any other Texas city with an average apartment size of 1,471 square feet. Renters in Brownsville, which is 60 miles east on the border, can get a similarly sized apartment that’s 1,307 square feet for the same $1,500 a month budget.

Here’s how much space you can rent for $1,500 a month in other Texas cities:

  • Amarillo – 1,318 square feet
  • El Paso – 1,222 square feet
  • Lubbock – 1,218 square feet
  • Corpus Christi – 1,126 square feet
  • Grand Prairie – 873 square feet
  • Denton – 868 square feet
  • Irving – 848 square feet
  • McKinney – 809 square feet
  • Plano – 766 square feet
  • Frisco – 740 square feet

The full report can be found on rentcafe.com.

Photo by Henry Becerra on Unsplash

San Antonio rent prices increased 7 percent from 2022, report finds


Apartment rent keeps going up in Texas, and in San Antonio the increase is seven percent more than last year, making it more difficult to afford living in the city. That’s according to a new national rent report from online rental marketplace Zumper.

Despite rent increases showing small improvements month-over-month, overall prices are still on the high side from the previous year. For example, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Antonio is $1,430 now, in March of 2023, which is a 1.4 percent decrease from the previous month, but a 4.4 percent increase from 2022. The average rent for a one-bedroom is $1,160, which is a mere .90 percent increase month-over-month, but a whopping 7.4 percent increase from last year.

The report looked at rental data from more than one million active listings in the top 100 cities in the United States to determine the rankings. Zumper ranked San Antonio the No. 66 most expensive rental market across the nation in February of 2023, up three places from the last report.

The report attributes these recent rental increase trends to the nation's rising inflation rate and unpredictable economy. Though unemployment is low (less than 3.4 percent), potential homebuyers are being sidelined with increasing interest rates. This is causing more competition among renters all over the country.

“Many markets continue to either normalize or correct following the steep increases in rent seen in 2021 [and 2022] in the zero interest rate [and] QE environment we went through,” said Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades in the report. “With interest rates expected to rise further in 2023, we anticipate continued deceleration in rent rises as new household formation freezes or is at least postponed.”

Much higher up the list from San Antonio is its Central Texas neighbor Austin, coming in as the No. 25 most expensive rental market, which is a two-place increase from a previous report. Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment stayed relatively flat over the last month, at $1,670, yet is still 7.7 percent higher than it was last year. Two-bedroom apartments saw a higher year-over-year increase at 8.4 percent, with the average rent price at $2,070.

Several cities in the DFW metro area also made the list, as well as Houston (No. 51) and El Paso (No. 95). Most notably, Irving (No. 34) is experiencing a nearly 15 percent year-over-year rent increase for both one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The nine total Texas cities that made the list include:

  • No. 25 – Austin
  • No. 34 – Irving
  • No. 36 – Dallas
  • No. 40 – Plano
  • No. 51 – Houston
  • No. 55 – Fort Worth
  • No. 66 – San Antonio
  • No. 67 – Arlington
  • No. 95 – El Paso

The full data from Zumper’s National Rent Report can be found at zumper.com.

San Antonio renters see a tight squeeze with limited availability, says new report

Housing crunch

Many looking to rent an apartment in Houston might be having a hard time — and for those wondering why, Rent Cafe offers an answer in its end-of-the-year report on Texas' most-competitive rental markets.

In San Antonio, renters are mainly staying put, renewing their leases into 2023. According to Rent Cafe, about 56 percent of renters and apartment dwellers opted to stay where they were. That's creating a tight squeeze for would-be renters; for every available apartment, there are, on average, 12 renters vying to live there.

Rent Cafe also indicates that apartments in San Antonio fill up within 31 days and the overall apartment market finds itself at about 94 percent occupancy.

That's great news for rental property owners, even as it's likely causing stress for those looking to find new digs and aren't interested in home ownership.

Turns out, though, that San Antonio isn't actually the most competitive rental market in the state. That honor goes to El Paso, where there are 15 renters looking for every available unit. And available apartments in Sun City stay vacant for only 28 days.

In Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth, would-be renters are also finding things difficult. In Austin, 12 prospective renters are vying for every available unit, and those units stay vacant, on average, for only a month before someone else signs a lease.

In Dallas, there are 14 renters for every available unit, and those who spy a vacant apartment better grab it fast. Rent Cafe says the units in Big D stay vacant for only about 30 days, which is also the story in neighboring Fort Worth, where 13 prospective renters compete for every available unit.

So, why can't Texans find apartments in Texas? Blame supply and demand. There are more people looking to rent than are places to rent. Even though Austin increased its share of rental units by nearly three percent this year and Houston upped its supply by two percent, it's still not enough.

"Markets in Texas continued to attract out-of-state renters looking for better job opportunities and a more affordable lifestyle," read a summary of Rent Cafe's report.

The bright side to all of this? We're not Miami. The Florida city topped Rent Cafe's list of most-competitive markets, where 32 prospective renters are competing for every available unit.

Looks like the moral of the story is, Houstonians should be prepared to sign on the dotted line once they find that spot they love.

Photo by Chandra Maharzan on Unsplash

San Antonio announces first 14 affordable housing projects of landmark $150 million initiative

Now Projected

The City of San Antonio made history in May when voters elected to approve its first full-scale affordable housing bond. It brought $150 million to the table, with five years to invest those funds, starting now. On December 16, the San Antonio City Council approved funding for a round of 14 projects, utilizing $43.9 million in bond and federal contributions to create or maintain 2,523 affordable housing units. A second round of projects is expected to be revealed in spring 2023.

“Affordable housing has been a top priority of our residents and over the past several years, the City of San Antonio has made record investments to make housing more affordable,” said city manager Erik Walsh, as quoted in a public release. “The Affordable Housing Bond is bringing new housing options online, while also preserving the availability of housing units for those who need it most.”

In total, the 14 projects include more than 2,500 units, with 2,461 rentals and 71 units for purchase. The bonds will produce more than 750 new units to rent or own, and 1,775 rental units will be rehabilitated.

Nearly a quarter of the units will be used as public or income-based housing. The remainder still focus on equity, as determined by a committee that considered factors like “deep” affordability (for renters earning less than half of the median area income, and homeowners earning less than 80 percent), universal design (for many ages and abilities), sustainability exceeding city code, and a number of measures of accessibility for residents.

Other considerations for more holistic equitable living included high-speed internet access, more diverse geographic distribution, and “meaningful, on-site resident services.” The reviews also considered what would happen to communities already in the area, and required developers working on new construction to fill out displacement assessments.

“Addressing housing affordability has been a key priority of mine, and over the past five years, it’s an issue that San Antonio residents have come together to rally behind,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “This direct investment in affordable housing will considerably boost local housing supply, preserve our aging housing stock, protect our neighborhoods and will help ensure that everyone has a place to call home.”

The City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) have requested proposals by January 23, 2023, for permanent supportive housing (PSH), which combines affordable housing with support services to address chronic homelessness or other barriers. Since the current 14 projects don’t use all the bond’s resources, this represents the remaining category.

A full breakdown of projects by income is available at sanantonio.gov.

Photo by SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

San Antonio sees nation's second biggest spike in rent prices, says new study

Housing pain

If a new study is an accurate indicator, renters in San Antonio have experienced more sticker shock in the past two decades than homeowners.

The study, published by Clever Real Estate’s Real Estate Witch website, shows the San Antonio metro area was among seven major metros where the growth in rents surpassed the growth in home values from 2000 to 2022.

Rents in the San Antonio area climbed from $383 in 2000 to $1,165 in 2022, up 204 percent, according to the study. Among the 50 largest metros, San Antonio ranked second for the steepest rent hikes, behind only Nashville (179 percent).

Meanwhile, home values in San Antonio jumped from $130,821 in 2000 to $309,475 in 2022, up 137 percent.

Even though rents soared over a 22-year span, San Antonio is one of only four major metros where the rent-to-income ratio is lower than the national median, says the study, based on federal data for the country’s 50 biggest metro areas. The ratio is 16.4 percent in San Antonio, compared with 16.5 percent nationally. In other words, rent is more affordable in San Antonio compared with the rest of the country.

According to rental platform Apartment List, San Antonio rents increased 14.5 percent from May 2021 to May 2022.

“This is the fifth straight month that the city has seen rent increases after a decline in December of last year,” Apartment List says.

Still, San Antonio’s year-over-year rent growth lags the Texas average (14.8 percent), as well as the national average (15.3 percent), according to Apartment List.

Courtesy of Hemisfair

Historic house at Hemisfair up for lease as park transformation continues

Hemisfair News

The Kusch House, an 1880s-era building that lies at the western edge of Hemisfair’s Tower Park, is now available for leasing opportunities as officials focus on the newest phase of the downtown park’s transformation.

The Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corp. (HPARC) announced on April 25 a Request for Interest process, seeking proposals from local businesses and entrepreneurs who want to expand or launch their concept in central San Antonio.

HPARC has been working to reimagine the original Hemisfair Park, which was first built to accommodate the 1968 World’s Fair. Much of the civic space between the central business district and Southtown stood underutilized for years, but private and public initiatives have been part of efforts to remake Hemisfair into a destination with family-friendly parks, green and event spaces, new apartments, and retail and dining ventures.

Interested parties may submit proposals for the Kusch House at hemisfair.org/rfi.

“With the momentum building following Civic Park’s groundbreaking, Kusch House offers an exceptional view of it all,” Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar said. “We want to hear the small business community’s big ideas for breathing new life into this historic building and showcasing what San Antonio has to offer for all who visit, play and live at Hemisfair.”

HPARC said the exterior of the Kusch House, including windows, doors and roofing, has been stabilized and updated due in part to private donations, including a grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Other grant funds will be use to support the build-out of the structure once a small business tenant is selected.

The 1,100-square-foot structure includes an additional 385 square feet of front and rear porch space and 550 square feet of basement area. The property also features an outdoor space for additional seating with views of the Tower of the Americas. HPARC said the areas surrounding the property contribute to one of the most active pedestrian gateways in downtown, with proximity to multiple adjacent retail spaces, parking facilities, residences as well as the River Walk and Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Hemisfair provides a flexible lease structure with tenants renting the historic homes they occupy based on a percentage of sales. Hemisfair typically draws more than 600,000 visitors annually, though the lease structure is forgiving in times of low attendance or economic uncertainty, according to HPARC. Hemisfair officials also said revenue generated by leasing such structures contributes to Hemisfair’s overall financial sustainability and helps it become an active, urban park for residents and visitors.

Where the Kusch House is concerned, HPARC hopes to see proposals from ventures focused on food and beverages, retail or health and wellness. Hemisfair follows a public procurement process for new onsite business opportunities, usually with a three-to-12-month timeline from selection to opening, pending design and construction needs.

RFI responses are due by 5:59 pm on June 10, 2022. Tours of the space are available by appointment for interested parties, and a pre-submittal conference and open house will take place at 3:30 pm on May 17.

Along with the new tenant of Kusch House, HPARC is eager to expand the portfolio of Hemisfair tenants, which currently includes Box Street Social, CommonWealth Coffeehouse and Bakery, Dough Pizzeria Napoletana, EnergyX Fitness, Lick Honest Ice Creams, Magik Theatre, Paletería San Antonio and Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery. Bombay Bicycle Club, Künstler Tap & Brat-Haus, and Jerk Shack are among the eateries scheduled to open at Hemisfair this year or next.

In January 2022, Hemisfair also broke ground on Civic Park, an 18-month construction project meant to produce more than five acres of new public park space, including natural rock formations and water sources designed to tell the story of the region’s geologic development. Civic Park Phase I is scheduled to open by fall 2023.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

San Antonio plummets on list of best places to live, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From hotel accolades to urban treasure hunting, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio plummets on list of best places to live in new national report. San Antonio was previously the No. 75 place to live in America in 2021, tumbling to No. 83 in 2022 and dropping even further down the list to No. 103 in 2023.

2. Here are the top 7 things to do in San Antonio this holiday weekend. Check out Spoon or Kool and the Gang tonight, or head to UTSA for their annual Asian festival.

3. This is how big San Antonio apartments get for $1,500 a month. San Antonio renters can find apartments that span 1,010 square feet for $1,500 a month.

4. Posh Pearl hotel books top spot on best luxury hotels in U.S. list. Tripadvisor's coveted Travelers' Choice Best of Best Awards recently gave Hotel Emma top marks in two categories.

5. Texas unearths new ranking as 2nd best state for urban treasure hunting. Fun fact: Texas has the highest number of metal detecting sites in the nation.

Fine dining chef unpacks nostalgic pop-up concept at popular Grayson Street bar on Memorial Day


With new restaurants seemingly opening daily, San Antonio’s culinary scene is more exhilarating than ever. But even those with a packed reservation schedule sometimes crave something different.

Enter pop-ups — a San Antonio obsession that grows more popular each month. The latest to enter the fray is Restaurant Claudine chef Mel Cavazos, who will debut Throwback Sammies, a one-night-only concept sprouting up at Three Star Bar on May 29.

“I want to do something comforting that everyone can relate to,” explains Cavazos of the nostalgic concept. “I want the menu to read simply but totally unexpected when you eat it.”

The small menu includes a trio of dishes that evoke childhood memories. Cheese bread is reimagined with Romesco sauce, burrata, and basil, while another sandwich has all the fixings of a Sunday pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy. Those desperately waiting for fall will no doubt flock to the Thanksgiving Meltdown, complete with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry.

One dish, however, is even more personal. In honor of a recently passed friend, Cavazos added a “secret” vegan sandwich featuring buffalo cauliflower and homemade pickled vegetables.

“He loved his vegan wings,” Cavazos remembers.

The chef tells CultureMap that Throwback Sammies is just the start of a series of pop-ups she hopes to hold monthly. As she continues developing a career at Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality’s ever-growing restaurant empire, she sees the pop-up series as a chance to keep exploring her culinary voice.

“I want to expand and explore more options,” Cavazos says, adding, “I love sandwiches, but that’s not what I like to be known for.”

Throwback Sammies starts at 8 pm and runs until supplies run out. Future pop-ups will be announced via Instagram.

Texas' best restaurants and bars reign at 2023 Tastemaker Awards


It’s another one for CultureMap’s history books, folks. Our statewide journey to recognize some of the best chefs, restaurants, and more in 2023 has finally come to a close.

The series kicked off April 13 with our sold-out Houston Tastemakers at Silver Street Studios, then we moved to Cowtown for our Fort Worth event on April 27. The Texas culinary tour steered us to our Metroplex neighbors in Dallas at the Fashion Industry Gallery on May 4. From there, we took a drive to the Hill Country for Austin’s evening festivities at Fair Market on May 11, then concluded our journey with our second-ever fête in San Antonio on May 18.

The 2023 Tastemaker Awards honor the state’s most innovative culinary pioneers, allowing nominated chefs and restaurants to showcase their talents for guests before announcing the winners during a live ceremony.

Guests sampled chefs’ specialty bites and imbibed a variety of creative cocktails or mocktails, with a few Topo Chicos sprinkled in throughout the evening. But as always, our nominees and winners are the main focus of our program and are the reason we can bring these celebrations to life.

Nominees are brought forth by a panel of previous Tastemaker winners and CultureMap editors. While the panel choses a majority of the winners, the winner of Best New Restaurant is determined by our readers in an online, bracket-style tournament. New this year in each city, a sizzling on-site Burger Throwdown sponsored by Goodstock Beef by Nolan Ryan.

Without further ado, let’s meet our 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards winners, listed by city:

San Antonio:

  • Restaurant of the Year: Carriqui
  • Chef of the Year: Robbie Nowlin, Allora, Arrosta
  • Bar of the Year: Amor Eterno
  • Brewery of the Year: Künstler Brewing
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: The Magpie
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Sofia Tejeda, Hotel Emma
  • Best Burger: Last Place Burger
  • Best New Restaurant: Reese Bros BBQ


K\u00fcnstler doppelbock
Künstler Brewing Instagram

Künstler Brewing is our Brewery of the Year.

  • Restaurant of the Year: Bludorn
  • Chef of the Year: Mark Clayton, Squable
  • Bar of the Year: Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar and Spirit Lounge
  • Best New Restaurant: Aiko
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Emmanuel Chavez, Tatemó
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Shawn Gawle, Goodnight Hospitality
  • Bartender of the Year: Kristine Nguyen, Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Craft Pita
  • Wine Program of the Year: Nancy’s Hustle
  • Best Pop-Up: Khói Barbecue
  • Best Burger: Burger Bodega

Fort Worth:

  • Restaurant of the Year: Fitzgerald
  • Chef of the Year: Juan Ramón Cárdenas, Don Artemio
  • Bar of the Year: Birdie’s Social Club
  • Best New Restaurant: Calisience
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Angel Fuentes, Guapo Taco
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Cafe Bella
  • Best Burger: Dayne’s Craft Barbecue
  • Best Brewery: Martin House Brewing Company


  • Restaurant of the Year: Shoyo
  • Chef of the Year: Junior Borges, Meridian
  • Bar of the Year: Lounge Here
  • Best New Restaurant: Quarter Acre
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Mike Matis, Fearing’s
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Maricsa Trejo, La Casita Bakeshop
  • Bartender of the Year: Haley Merritt, Midnight Rambler
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: El Rincon del Maiz
  • Wine Program of the Year: Pappas Bros.
  • Best Burger: Wulf Burger
  • Brewery of the Year: Manhattan Project Beer Co.


  • Restaurant of the Year: Birdie’s
  • Chef of the Year: Amanda Turner, Olamaie
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Joaquin Ceballos, Este
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Mariela Camacho, Comadre Panadería
  • Bar of the Year: Nickel City
  • Bartender of the Year: Erin Ashford, Olamaie
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Nixta Taqueria
  • Wine Program of the Year: Bufalina
  • Brewery of the Year: Lazarus Brewing Co.
  • Best Burger: Dai Due
  • Best New Restaurant: Maie Day