Tuesday, September 29, 2009

San Antonio Neighborhoods, Old and New - Part 3: Alamo Heights

In the previous two posts I have explored the downtown neighborhood, King William, and the Mahncke Park area just north of downtown San Antonio.  This post will take us a little further north, to the municipality of Alamo Heights

History of Alamo Heights...
Alamo Heights began in the 1890's at a time when only dirt roads connected it with San Antonio.  At that time, the well-to-do in San Antonio lived south of Commerce Street.  By the early 1900's, building began in the area that attracted people of different income groups and ages.  As transportation improved, Alamo Heights grew as a desired residential community.  In 1922, in order to escape being annexed by San Antonio, the community leaders organized a vote to petition the current Bexar County judge for a city government.  At the time the population was about 3,000.  Building codes limited buildings to two stories, and provided for open spaces and greenery.  In 1927, Alamo Heights became the only municipality in the country with all paved streets!  

Life in Alamo Heights...
As of the 2000 census, there were over 7,000 residents of Alamo Heights.   Known as the '09ers because of their 78209 zip code, Alamo Heights residents are only two miles north of downtown, and many of the residents are white collar professionals, with the neighborhood's median family income at $86,000.  The city is full of old-fashioned charm, as well as recently built "McMansions" where the smaller bungalows have been torn down to make way for estate sized homes.  There are elegant restaurants, upscale clothing stores and boutiques and large retail centers.  The Alamo Quarry Market shopping center is an Alamo Heights mecca for dining, shopping and the movies, all in a structure that until 1983 was used to house a rock quarry and cement plant.  Nearby is the Quarry Golf Club, with an 18 hole, Par 71 golf course carved out of the 100 year old quarry.

Another Alamo Heights attraction is the McNay Art Museum at 6000 North New Braunfels. 

Built in 1928, the museum was originally a 24-room Spanish Colonial-Revival house built for Ohio-born heiress Marion Koogler McNay and her new husband, prominent ophthalmologist Donald T. Atkinson.  At her death in 1950, Mrs. McNay left her collection of more than 700 works of art, along with her house, surrounding 23 acres, and an endowment to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas. In 1954, the McNay opened its doors to the public.  Since that time the collection has expanded to nearly 20,000 works of art.

A gathering spot for locals in Alamo Heights is the HEB Central Market  grocery store on Broadway.  Traditional groceries blended with upscale pre-prepared foods, and full service bakery, meat market, seafood market, cooking school, ect., keeps 'em coming back for more.  Locals have nicknamed it the "Gucci B"!

Alamo Heights Real Estate Market...
Currently, there are 93 Alamo Heights homes on the market, ranging from a two bedroom, two bath cottage built in 1927 for $160,000 to a 5,352 square foot Mediterranean style home built in 2004 with an antique clay tile roof priced at $2,399,000.  While that is a rather large inventory of homes, there have already been 99 homes sold in Alamo Heights thus far in 2009.  Home sales have ranged from $40 per square foot to $347 per square foot, with the median price at $187 per square foot.  To get more information on Alamo Heights real estate, contact me at barbara@barbaralinick.com.

Currently in Alamo Heights...
The Alamo Heights ISD is celebrating their 100th birthday this year, and recently had a parade and bonfire as party of their annual Howdy Night neighborhood celebration.

Coming Soon...
All residents of Alamo Heights are invited to the first ever free Cinema Under the Stars on Saturday, Oct. 17 when the family-friendly, PG-rated movie “Fly Away Home” will begin at 7:00 P.M. at Alamo Heights High School's Practice Field on Castano, between the high school and the stadium.

Friday, September 25, 2009

San Antonio Neighborhoods, Old and New - Part 2: Mahncke Park

I grew up in a wonderful San Antonio neighborhood,
Mahncke Park.

Most of the homes in the Mahncke Park neighborhood range from 1,000 sq ft to 2,000 sq ft and were built from the 1920's through the 1950's.  I believe my childhood home on Ira Ave. was built around 1940.  The homes are mostly bungalows or ranch-style dwellings. 

Current Market Status in Mahncke Park:

Mahncke Park has begun to lose its affordable status. Buyers who desire the King William district lifestyle have discovered Mahncke Park and started refurbishing the homes there. Currently there are seventeen homes on the market in Mahncke Park, ranging from $89,000 to $398,000. About half the available homes can be purchased for under $200K. To get more info on specific homes in the area, contact me  or search our free MLS search feature on our website.

Mahncke Park Location:

The Mahncke Park neighborhood is within walking distance to: Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio Botanical Gardens, the San Antonio Zoo, Brackenridge Park, Witte Museum, Lions Field Park and the Brackenridge Golf Course. By car, the neighborhood is 10 minutes from downtown and major freeways. 

Map of Mahncke Park Neighborhood:

Nearby at Broadway and Mulberry is the famed Kiddie Park which has just re-opened under new ownership, and has been entertaining kids in San Antonio since 1925. It is the oldest kids amusement park in the entire nation. I lived just across Broadway from Kiddie Park, and as a child, have great memories of live pony rides and the beautiful carousel.  Below is the author celebrating her second birthday at Kiddie Park!

Coming soon in Mahncke Park:
Don't miss the 8th annual Home Tours on Sunday, Oct. 18th from 11 am to 4 pm.

Monday, September 21, 2009

San Antonio Neighborhoods, Old and New - Part 1: The King William District

San Antonio, Texas, the Alamo City,  is made up of hundreds of diverse neighborhoods, both old and new.  In the next few posts, I want to explore a few of those areas and their current real estate market information. 

The new home construction in the last half century or so in SA has been mostly concentrated to the north and northwest of downtown, but the older neighborhoods near downtown are becoming trendy and in some cases, much more expensive.  Many of these homes are 80 to 100 years old, and are being lovingly restored by families who want to live close to where they work, or are attracted to the many downtown sites and events.

In his blog titled "Building San Antonio: Living Inside the Loop",  David Matiella calls the midtown San Antonio neighborhoods of King William, Lavaca, Monte Vista, and others, the now "hot real estate". I want to focus on one of those, the King William neighborhood,  a 25-block area near downtown on the south bank of the San Antonio River. In the late 1800's the King William District was the most elegant residential area in the city.

According to the San Antonio Conservation Society,
"The King William District occupies land that was once irrigated farm land belonging to the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo.  When the mission was secularized in 1793, the lands were divided among resident Indian families from the mission or sold at public auction.  The area called the King William Neighborhood of today was subdivided into lots in the 1860's and laid out with the present streets.  It was about this time that a great many Germans who had immigrated to Texas in the 1840's began to settle in this area and it became known as "Sauerkraut Bend" to the rest of San Antonio.... In 1967 the King William District was designated the first Historic Neighborhood District in Texas." 

Available King William Homes:
Currently in King William, there are 14 homes for sale, ranging from $142,000 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home with 1059 square feet, to $2,630,000 for a 6000+ square foot home / guest house / studio that's been totally updated and is situated on the river.  Most are priced below $500,000.  To get more information on any of these homes, contact me.

2009 Sales in King William:
So far in 2009, there have been 8 sales, ranging from $112,500 for a fixer-upper, to $580,000 for a 3784 square feet updated home.  Sales ranged from $48 per square foot to $197 per square foot.  The updated homes sold in the mid to upper $100's per square foot, and the homes not updated sold below $75 per square foot.

Coming Events in King William...

The next free concert in the King William Park is coming up Sunday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 pm. with the Viva Tango Quartet and the Puro Tango Argentino Dancers.  This is the sixth and final concert in 2009.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 is the annual King William Holiday Home Tour which showcases the historic preservation and renovation of the district.  The tour is held yearly on the first Saturday of December, and allows visitors to view private homes in the neighborhood.

The annual King William Fair helps kick off the San Antonio Fiesta week next year on April 24, 2010.

Friday, September 18, 2009

How's the San Antonio Real Estate Market? - "Home sales up, but foreclosures drag down prices in S.A."

The San Antonio Real Estate Market

According to the Texas Real Estate Center  on September 16,2009, "Home sales up, but foreclosures drag down prices in S.A.  San Antonio continues to  an increase in homebuying — in large part thanks to first-time homebuyers motivated by a tax credit. But prices have failed to increase, and experts are saying growing short sales and foreclosures are dragging down prices.  San Antonio recorded 1,761 single-family home sales in August, a 2 percent increase from last August, according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR). It's the second month in a row the volume of sales has topped the previous year's number, ending a year-long slump.  The increase in home sales was not matched by a price increase. The median price for single-family homes in August was $147,800, a 2 percent decrease from a year ago. Florence Terrell of SABOR blamed that on a high number of short sales and foreclosures.  Bexar County has 1,554 properties posted for the October 6 foreclosure auction. That's up from 1,132 for September 1 auction, according to www.RexReport.com."

So what does that mean for you?  If you're in the market to purchase a home, it's a great time!  Our inventories in SA remain high, and interest rates are really low.  If you're needing to sell your San Antonio home, you'll need to be a little more aggressive in your pricing, and you'll need to get your home in tip top shape to sell quickly.  Analyists predict a quicker recovery for our market than in some other Texas cities, but not until 2010. 

Currently in SA....

And, by the way, if you're in San Antonio this weekend don't miss the Alamo City's "Jazz's Alive"  in Travis Park downtown Saturday and Sunday.  Great music, and best of all, it's free!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Welcome to my first posting! 

In future postings I'll give you lots of helpful information about the San Antonio area housing market, and tips for buyers and sellers that will make your next purchase or sale a pleasant experience, no matter where you live. 

In the meantime, check out available San Antonio homes at http://www.stevelinick.com/, and contact me if you'd like more info on any of those homes.