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It’s the second-biggest city in Texas, and its housing prices have more or less doubled in the past decade, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center. But even so, homes in San Antonio are surprisingly affordable. The median sale price for a single-family home here in February 2023 was $310,000, according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR) — that’s more than $50,000 less than the country’s overall median.
If you’re hoping to become a homeowner in the Alamo City, it’s important to understand the local market, including housing trends, mortgage rates and typical down payments. Here’s what you should know about buying a home in San Antonio.
Deciding where to live in San Antonio
One of Bankrate’s best places to live in Texas, San Antonio is known for its housing affordability and growing job market, in addition to its history, culture and cuisine. Whether you want to live a city lifestyle or enjoy a slower pace, you have plenty of options around town, including popular areas such as Tobin Hill, Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills.
How to buy a house in San Antonio
Saving for a down payment in San Antonio
While it’s not always necessary to make a 20 percent down payment on a house these days, you will likely still need to put a substantial sum down when buying a home. Your specific down payment requirement will depend on your mortgage loan, home price and financial profile, but based on the national median down payment of 13 percent and February’s median home price in San Antonio of $310,000, a typical down payment in the city would be $40,300.
Find the right lender and get preapproved for a mortgage
When you reach your down payment savings goal, you can start shopping for a mortgage lender. There are multiple types to choose from – including banks, credit unions and online lenders – and each one offers its own mortgage terms and rates.
It’s also smart to secure a mortgage preapproval from a lender before you start house-hunting. This document outlines how much you’re likely to be approved to borrow for your purchase. Not only does a preapproval help you understand what you can afford, but it also shows sellers that you’re a serious, qualified buyer. And when you’re ready to apply for full approval, you’re not obligated to go with the same company that preapproved you.
Find the best local real estate agent
From finding properties that fit your budget and lifestyle to negotiating and closing a deal, purchasing a home can be complex — especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Working with a local real estate agent gives you expert insight into the San Antonio market, helping you lock down the right home and get the most value for your money.
Start house hunting and make an offer
Kick off your house hunt with the help of your agent, who will have access to the local multiple listing service (MLS), a database that has details about properties for sale in your desired area. You can also keep an eye out for real estate listings on social media and in the neighborhoods where you’re hoping to move.
When you find a house that you’re ready to make an offer on, your agent will guide you through the process and help you craft a competitive offer. According to SABOR data, single-family homes in the area closed for 93.5 percent of their listing price in February 2023, meaning that the average buyer got a home for 6.5 percent less than full list price.
Get a home inspection and appraisal
Once a seller accepts your offer, you’ll want to schedule a home inspection. This involves hiring a professional inspector to look for any existing or potential issues with the property. If they uncover any, you could negotiate with the seller to cover the cost of repairs or reduce the price of the home.
Your lender will also require an appraisal to make sure that the home is worth at least as much as they’re lending you. If it’s not, you’ll need to pay the difference or renegotiate the price with the seller.
Requirements to buy a house in San Antonio
Can I afford a house in San Antonio?
Currently, home prices in San Antonio are lower than in many other parts of the country. As of February 2023, the median sale price for a single-family home here was $310,000, while the U.S. median home price was $363,000. However, mortgage rates are still high. So if you’re deciding whether to buy now or wait a while, you might consider holding off until they decrease.
Your monthly mortgage payment in San Antonio will vary depending on purchase price, down payment, loan type and interest rate. Use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to get a more accurate estimate for your situation, but here’s a quick example of how things might look: Let’s say that you buy a home at the median price of $310,000, with a 20 percent down payment of $62,000, taking out a 30-year fixed mortgage with a 6 percent interest rate. That would give you a monthly principal and interest payment of $1,486 per month (not including property taxes, insurance and other fees).
First-time homebuyers in San Antonio
If you’re preparing to buy your first home, there are ways to make the process less of a financial challenge. Texas offers several first-time buyer assistance programs, and there are other national and local programs out there as well. Many loans are tailored to first-timers as well. You might also qualify for down payment assistance programs.
House prices in the city have been on the decline since peaking last year, so it could be a smart time to invest. In addition, prices here are significantly cheaper than the national median, so even with steep interest rates, you may be able to afford more home here than elsewhere.
Home prices here hit all-time highs in June 2022 but have fallen fairly consistently since then, according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors. However, prices in February are up 2 percent year-over-year.
In 2022, the average down payment in Texas was $31,750, and a typical 20 percent down payment on a median priced $310,000 home comes to $62,000. But your down payment amount will depend on many factors, including your purchase price, loan type and amount, mortgage rate and more.