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Hot growth markets

5 best places to invest in San Antonio, Texas

Known as the home of the Alamo and of a number of active military bases, San Antonio is another Texas city that is seeing population growth fuel an active real estate market.

Between 2001 and 2019, Alamo City was the fifth-fastest-growing metro area in the U.S., and over the next year it was the ninth-fastest-growing, and now has 2.5 million people. And a major expansion is coming: the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization forecasts the population to reach four million by 2050.

Demand for homes has pushed up prices.

  • A June report from the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR) showed that the average home price was up 19 percent to $345,144 from last year, growing significantly faster than it did the previous year.
  • Homes are selling twice as fast as a year ago, with time on market shrinking more than half, from 60 days to just 23.
  • SABOR reported the average rental price increasing by 7 percent year over year, to $1,587.
  • Zillow forecasts home values to grow by 12.3 percent in the coming 12 months.

(READ MORE FROM MYND: Strong and steady tells the San Antonio story)

A view of the San Antonio River walk along the San Antonio River. The city park is built one level beneath traffic. (Credit: City of San Antonio)

A view of the San Antonio River walk along the San Antonio River. The city park is built one level beneath traffic. (Credit: City of San Antonio)

Military and tech drive the economy

San Antonio is nicknamed “Military City, U.S.A.” because of facilities like Joint Base San Antonio and the presence of some 300,000 active-duty personnel.

“Having facilities like Lackland Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston gives a lot of stability to a metro area,” says Edward Friedman, a director at Moody’s Analytics.

But it’s not just the military that drives the area’s robust economy. Many Fortune 500 companies have a headquarters or a footprint here, including GM Financial, grocery store chain H.E.B., Frost Bank, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Toyota, Wells Fargo, and Caterpillar.

“There are many good opportunities here for investors,” says Wade Shoop, a Texas real estate broker with Mynd, who outlined five growing areas in San Antonio and the surrounding metro area that show great promise.

OKIN BPS, a Prague based business supplier, announced in October 2018 that they would move their U.S. headquarters to San Antonio, TX. The move has brought thousands of jobs to greater San Antonio. (Credit: City of San Antonio)

OKIN BPS, a Prague based business supplier, announced in October 2018 that they would move their U.S. headquarters to San Antonio, TX. The move has brought thousands of jobs to greater San Antonio. (Credit: City of San Antonio)

1. New Braunfels

Just north of San Antonio, on the way to Austin, is New Braunfels, an incredibly fast-growing city owing to the growth in both of the larger cities on either side of it. There, the population grew by a whopping 56.6 percent to 90,403 since the 2010 Census, making it the third-fastest-growing city in the union, qualifying it for a profile in The New York Times.

“It is a bedroom community for the growth in northern San Antonio, and it’s also growing in its own right through medical and government services,” says Shoop. “New Braunfels also has its own tourist industry. There’s an annual Wurst Fest that brings a lot of people into town, the Schlitterbahn water park is a big draw, and Gruene Hall is an iconic music venue downtown.”

2. Helotes

This small city more than doubled in population since the 2000 Census, to about 9,000. Some active-duty military live in the city due to the presence nearby of Camp Bullis, part of Joint Base San Antonio that sprawls over nearly 28,000 acres.

“It’s a really pretty area in the hills to the west of town, with a fair amount of new construction,” says Shoop. Longtime residents hope to maintain some of the charm of a country town even as it becomes more suburban by the day.

The Floore Country Store in Helotes, TX. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 2005, and is a beloved institution in the area. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Larry D. Moore) 

The Floore Country Store in Helotes, TX. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 2005, and is a beloved institution in the area. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Larry D. Moore)

3. Southwest San Antonio

The part of town by Lackland Air Force Base has seen a healthy amount of new construction. “On a map, it looks like it’s far out, but it’s only 25 minutes to downtown,” Shoop points out. “One reason for the growth is simply that it’s where developers could still buy land.”

Lackland has the distinction of being the sole location for Air Force enlisted basic military training, with about 5,600 residing on the base.

4. Seguin

This city of about 30,000 lies just east of San Antonio (and just southeast of New Braunfels) on I-10, just 30 minutes from the city proper and an hour from Austin.

Companies like Caterpillar, Vitesco Technologies and Niagara Bottling have recently taken advantage of available commercial real estate to expand here. It has grown from about 22,000 at the turn of the century.

To facilitate the increased demand for housing, over 8,000 new homes were either under construction or in the development review process as of 2020.

5. Converse-Schertz

The neighboring cities of Converse and Schertz lie four miles apart, and are to the west and north, respectively, of Randolph Air Force Base, in the northeastern part of San Antonio.

“As elsewhere in San Antonio, there’s a fair amount of new construction in this whole area, again driven by military spending,” says Shoop, “but there’s also large retail development, and Amazon has a facility there.”

Converse is home to nearly 30,000, Schertz to 44,000. Schertz’s population has more than doubled since the turn of the century, while Converse’s has nearly tripled.

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