Progress on San Antonio’s East Side brings higher rents, housing costs

Recent survey points to lack of decent, affordable housing

Progress on the Eastside also brings higher rents, housing costs

SAN ANTONIO – Residents on San Antonio’s East Side say progress in their neighborhoods has led to higher rents and housing costs.

Rosa Montalvo -- who was selling an assortment of shoes, clothes, toys, and more at a yard sale behind her home, spoke in Spanish with the expertise of a housing analyst about what’s happening on the East Side.

“The rents have gone up much more these days,” said Montalvo, based on her own experience.

She said she’s paying almost $1,000 a month for her modest home, expecting it could go up even more.

Montalvo said at least it’s not as high as the house she’d inquired about renting for $2,500 a month, plus a $2,500 deposit.

“That’s a down payment on a house,” she said.

Montalvo also has seen how home prices have increased in her area. She said her husband is a painter, so he knows how much construction costs have risen.

Montalvo said climbing construction costs and even higher interest rates are keeping her from realizing her dream of owning her very own home.

She said she’s seen the new condominiums and renovated homes on the East Side, but she believes progress has come at a cost.

“That’s what’s raising prices of existing houses, so it’s become more difficult for us,” she said.

Montalvo said she also believes out-of-state investors behind much of the new construction and renovations expect the same returns they’d get in those states.

“They think we live the same way here. It’s not the same,” Montalvo said. “It’s not the same. Here the wages are real low.”

Robert Melvin, president and CEO of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, or SAGE, said the survey done for the organization’s State of the Eastside earlier this week reflects the disparity.

The lack of decent, affordable housing was shown to be a top priority throughout the survey.

He said that growth and development are good for the East Side, but the question is, “How do we do so in a way that is not harmful to the people that call east San Antonio home?”

“We can’t do so in a way that’s going to disrupt the historical integrity of what our community is and what that history means to our residents,” Melvin said.

He said it would take thoughtful planning and assuring residents they’re not alone in facing the changes and challenges brought on by the growth around them.

Melvin said SAGE is ready to help with “any resources that they may want and/or need. We’re here to provide that for them.”

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.