Lower interest rates entice San Antonio homebuyers during the pandemic

People want more space and those interest rates are attractive

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio home-buying market seems to have thumbed its nose at the pandemic and economic fallout as sales for this year exceeded last year by 5%, according to figures from the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR).

After a spring cooldown, summer home sales got hot. Compared to the same time periods last year, sales were up 14% in June, a whopping 25% in July, and 7% in August.

With the economy disrupted, so many people out of jobs, and people living physically-distanced lives, why are so many people still buying?

“I think one of the biggest reasons is interest rates,” said SABOR Chairwoman Kim Bragman. “People’s buying power is so much greater. We’re seeing most loans under 3%.”

Mortgage rates this week averaged 2.87% for a conventional 30-year fixed loan.

While job losses are significant, economists say many have been in lower-income industries, such as hospitality, where renting is common.

Pent up demand is another reason for the buying boom. Peak season simply shifted from spring to summer, Bragman said. And people staying home more realized they needed more home and more elbow room.

“A lot of what we are seeing is people wanting more space and realizing they can work from home,” Bragman said.

Many buyers have moved to homes that have not only office space but also a yard and even a pool.

One thing that is not booming is the number of houses for sale. Listings are way down, Bragman said. Low inventory drives prices up.

For August sales, the median sales price was $259,600, a 9% increase over last year.

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