2 min read October 2021 — Keller Williams Heritage, an independently owned franchise of Keller Williams Realty International, is home to 1200 of some of San Antonio’s most renowned real estate agents. In an interview with Invest:, Corporate Broker of Record Lisa Nuttall Munoz discussed the takeaways from the pandemic, a potential increase in interest rates, the use of technology and what makes San Antonio unique.
What have been some of the biggest takeaways over the last 17 months and how are you applying those lessons learned to the future?
Keller Williams Heritage had huge growth during the last year in production and market share. Even during the challenges of the pandemic, we have sold $3.3 billion in real estate in the last 12 months, making us the largest brokerage in the city as well as the largest franchise in the Keller Williams system with close to 1,200 agents. We continue to grow and add associates monthly. Our production went up over 29% and we have 11% of the market share in San Antonio. Our takeaways and lessons from the last 17 months have been to learn to adjust in uncertain times in the market and continue serving our clients among some obstacles we faced. Being informed of the market and its conditions is key for this and any industry.
What are the possible effects of a potential increase in interest rates on the real estate market?
Recently interest rates are at the mid to high 2’s. At the time of this interview rates ticked up to low 3’s on certain loans. Many lenders are suggesting rates will probably increase more next year. We’re telling clients that the real issue right now is low inventory. There’s an influx of buyers and industries relocating from other states to the Texas area, particularly to San Antonio and Austin. That fact should be one of many focuses in coming years. We believe that the supply shortage will keep buying pressure strong regardless of interest rates.
What are residents looking for now in San Antonio?
Residents, whether local or incoming, are looking for both single-family homes and apartment communities. There is little inventory to purchase and that is driving the rents up, especially in apartment communities. Homeowners want to sell their properties to take advantage of the increase in prices and equity, but they have few buying options. Many are not selling and staying put.
In March 2020, there was a slight dip in the San Antonio single-family home market, but prices have increased due to supply constraints. This direction is not slowing down. There is high demand with few buying options, so the prices are going to remain strong. Competing offers drove sales prices quite a bit above the properties listing price.
How has your company leveraged technology throughout the pandemic?
Keller Williams Realty International created Command, a state of the art technology platform that has everything our associates need, including documents, CRMs, advertising campaigns, compliance review, and more. Keller Williams is very agent centric. We allow our associates to be their own business owners and we support them in any way we can. In the last few years Keller Williams Heritage has added lead programs, investment classes and groups, acquisition opportunities, and additional coaching and training. In fact, our training is some of the best in the nation. We strive to meet our associates’ needs as much as possible.
What are some unique aspects that make San Antonio different from other markets?
We’re a military city. We have the highest population of active and retired military personnel, which insulates us and makes us unique. We have four military installations, a huge Army hospital, a teaching hospital, and an Air Force hospital. We have a joint base of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, making our city stand out. San Antonio is known for great tourism with the San Antonio Riverwalk, great medical facilities and institutions, amusement parks, and many museums. San Antonio is very rich in culture.
What challenges do companies relocating to San Antonio face?
As more people relocate here, traffic increases. There are plans to increase infrastructure and relieve the pressure from the main highways. The weather can be challenging to some depending on where a person is relocating from. It can be hot and humid taking a little time to get used to. Even with the increase in prices our average price is still well below many other states. However, taxes, namely property taxes, are higher than other states. That fact may drive some of the industries and companies to other places where the tax rates are lower.
What are some of the key differences between the pre- and post-pandemic real estate markets?
We’re an industry of assets, our city was considered an “essential business” and did not close during the pandemic. We were able to do in house closings, show our listings and perform inspections and appraisals. In some other cities, real estate was not considered essential, however, they were eventually deemed as such. During the pandemic, we as a company worked mostly remotely. Many naysayers called out downsize, downsize, downsize. They claimed people will not come back into the workplace and will remain remote for the future. Our owner Craig Owen, an icon in the San Antonio real estate industry, bought and renovated our new 44,000 square foot headquarters. He had the vision and the faith to move forward with the project. He believes productivity and energy increase in person, especially in a relationship business like this one. It’s hard to conduct business remotely because a purchase or a sales transaction is an important life event. We want to be able to meet and carry out our business in person in a safe environment for all. The building offers a large amount of collaborative space for associates and clients to meet. In fact, we have just moved into the new building and the energy and productivity is thriving! Agents and clients are elated to be back in an office environment where business is exuding within a state-of-the-art headquarters.
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