2 min read October 2021 — The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade organization in San Antonio and represents over 14,000 members. In an interview with Invest:, President and CEO Gilbert Gonzalez discussed the current state of San Antonio’s real estate market, his organization’s ongoing advocacy efforts and his outlook for the future.
What are your main advocacy efforts?
The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® is a strong advocate for private property rights, working in collaboration with public officials to protect those rights. Part of these efforts include educating our elected officials about how public policy impacts the real estate economy. We also monitor and respond to city ordinances, public hearings, and media reports around the real estate community. Because of this work, legislation that may have negatively impacted the real estate community has been defeated or redefined. Currently, one of those issues is around eviction moratoriums, which have had a significant impact on the community. Fifty percent of San Antonio residents rent or lease property; they are not homeowners yet. For the property owners — the individuals who may have bought one or two houses for their future — we needed to make sure they had funds coming in to support the mortgages they financed. Today, all these things are part of the conversation around affordable housing and there is great pressure to get things done as quickly as possible. The lack of housing inventory is the number one factor affecting affordable housing in our market right now.
Will San Antonio maintain its affordability and growth?
Through its policy efforts and structures, San Antonio and Texas as a whole, has always done a fantastic job keeping housing affordable and making our city a desirable place to live. In comparison to other cities in Texas, we’ve always been much more affordable, but we also provide many of the same economic opportunities offered by those larger metropolitan areas. For example, we’re attracting great employers to San Antonio, such as technology firms, biomedical firms, military, and aerospace. Because of all these things, I don’t think San Antonio is going to see a down period. I think we’re going to see constant growth and affordability.
How have consumer demands for housing shifted during the pandemic?
We’re seeing growth outside the 1604 Loop with more urban clusters moving to suburban areas. A lot of our larger employers are allowing for remote work and that, therefore, allows employees to live further away from clusters. As well, with the increased time spent at home, people have wanted larger yards, more office space, and even more space for homeschooling. There has been a demand for more space and square footage. People were forced to stay in their bubbles, and this led to people wanting bigger bubbles.
As far as specific parts of town that are experiencing growth, San Antonio has been lucky in that we’ve experienced growth in every direction. Every part of town has something desirable.
What market factors are you watching?
We’re closely monitoring interest rates, of course. Low interest rates combined with people’s inability to vacation and spending less due to the pandemic, created a perfect financial opportunity for potential homebuyers. That extra savings in the bank created demand for real estate and I think this trend will continue. Interest rates will likely rise, but it won’t be too extreme.
There isn’t anything that concerns us other than market inventory. If there isn’t enough supply, the cost of housing will continue to go up; that’s just economics. We need more houses on the market and more multifamily opportunities for people to rent.
What is your outlook for the San Antonio real estate market?
The general outlook for our members and the greater real estate market in San Antonio is positive. San Antonio has always done a good job in maintaining the factors that create a great housing market. That’s one of the reasons why so many people are moving here. San Antonio was working years prior to the pandemic on housing sustainability and doing what was necessary to make sure we did not become a market that sees housing issues. We’ve been preparing, now it’s just about execution. I have faith that over the next three to five years, we will execute on those opportunities and maintain San Antonio as the safe, stable investment opportunity that it is.
For more information, visit: https://realestate.sabor.com/