SAN ANTONIO – Dan and Claudia Solis finally got the house after a sometimes discouraging hunt. The first-time home buyers know first-hand just how competitive the housing market is right now.
“We were putting in bids over asking (price), quite a bit over, and then getting outbid by cash offers,” Dan Solis said.
As they found out, the list price is often starting price, cash is king and there is a lot more demand than there are for-sale signs. That supply and demand imbalance is driving prices up.
The median price of an existing house that sold in San Antonio in March was $326,5000, according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors. That’s a 22% increase over the same time last year.
Tracie Hasslocher, SABOR chairman, describes the local market as “busy, competitive, and continuing to grow.”
It’s especially competitive in the more affordable price points.
“If you are a buyer in the $299,000-and-below category, it is very, very hard to find a home right now,” she said.
Those buyers can still find a house, she said, it just may take longer and lot of patience.
There were 3,522 existing homes sold in San Antonio last month, representing a modest 1% increase over last year. Experts attribute that, in part, to budget-constrained and first-time buyers beginning to be priced out and rising mortgage rates.
Mortgage rates have climbed to 5%, still historically low.
The Solis’ realtor, Monique Cardenas, expects a busy spring and summer, traditionally the peak home-buying season.
She advises first-timers to be ready with their funding.
“In order for us to get your offer accepted in this market, we have to get creative,” she said.
For the Solises, that included writing a something of a love letter to the seller.
“We just wanted to make the seller know we were in love with the home and we would take care of it,” said Claudia Solis.
They like to think it helped. They also made an offer significantly above asking price.
“Forty-three bids on this house,” Dan said, “and we got picked.”