Thursday, December 31, 2009

The San Antonio Spurs Make the Alamo City Proud

The San Antonio Spurs make the Alamo City proud, once again!  Besides the four recent NBA championships, the Spurs lead the entire NBA in winning percentage from 2000 to 2009.  From Jeff McDonald and comes:

"This from the number crunchers at the Elias Sports Bureau ...
No team in the NBA won more regular-season games during the soon-to-be completed decade than the Spurs. Since Jan. 2, 2000 (there were no games on New Year's Day), the Spurs are 573-245, good for a winning percentage of .700. The next best team was the Dallas Mavericks, who were 561-260.

Here is the glance at the NBA standings for the decade of the Aughts:

.700 573 W, 245 L: SA

.683 561 W, 260 L: DAL

.646 530 W, 291 L: LAL

.600 493 W, 329 L: DET

.599 493 W, 330 L: PHO

.560 460 W, 362 L: UTA

.550 453 W, 370 L: SAC

.546 449 W, 373 L: HOU

.536 441 W, 381 L: BOS

.523 429 W, 392 L: IND

.515 422 W, 398 L: NO

.513 421 W, 400 L: ORL

.512 422 W, 402 L: POR

.510 417 W, 401 L: PHI

.506 415 W, 405 L: MIA

.496 409 W, 415 L: CLE

.496 409 W, 415 L: DEN

.491 405 W, 420 L: MIN

.481 395 W, 426 L: NJ

.453 371 W, 448 L: MIL

.452 371 W, 450 L: OKC

.450 370 W, 453 L: TOR

.417 342 W, 479 L: NY

.411 337 W, 483 L: WAS

.398 327 W, 495 L: CHI

.392 322 W, 500 L: GS

.385 316 W, 505 L: MEM

.380 312 W, 509 L: ATL

.378 310 W, 511 L: LAC

.355 156 W, 283 L: CHA"

It's nice being on top!  Thank you San Antonio Spurs!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Conflicting Reports on the Health of the San Antonio Real Estate Market

It seems we are getting conflicting reports on the health of the San Antonio, Tx real estate market.  In my blog on Dec. 11, 2009, San Antonio was named by Forbes magazine as one of the 10 best cities in the nation in regards to avoiding the foreclosure crisis in residential real estate. 

And yet, in today's local news, it was reported that the January, 2010 Bexar county auction of foreclosed real estate will hit record levels with 1,652 properties up for sale.  This follows a 20 year high foreclosure rate in 2009 of nearly 16,000 properties sold.  Most of those homes were purchased in 2004, 2005, and 2006 when adjustable-rate loans and interest-only loans were more common and the market was peaking.  Those loans are commonly fixed for the first five years before the rates start to change.  The recent increases in monthly payments are pushing some homeowners into foreclosure.

But the news isn't all bad.  Backing up the Forbes magazine statements, our underwater or negative-equity properties in San Antonio was about 9.9% compared to a national average of 23% as of September, 2009.   So it's bad, but not as bad as in some other locales.  We still have a lot to be thankful for in the San Antonio housing market this Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Christmas Time on the San Antonio River!

It's Christmas time on the San Antonio River! 

Holiday Boat Caroling
Celebrations abound this month, leading up to Christmas.  From November 28th until December 20th, from 6:30 pm - 9:45 pm each evening, joyous caroling fills the evening air along the San Antonio River Walk as more than 185 school, church, company, and civic choral groups ring in the holidays by singing traditional carols on cruising boats. The eclectic mix of participants includes bell choirs, folk groups, Latino ensembles, and hearing impaired performers. Join visitors from around the world in impromptu sing-a-longs from the patios of River Walk restaurants.

Fiesta de las Luminarias
From Dec 4th through Dec. 20th, experience the holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 6,000 luminarias. Warmly glowing candles in sand filled bags line the walkways to symbolically mark the "lighting of the way" for Holy Family. This centuries old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only.

Come spend an evening on the Riverwalk with your whole family. It's Christmas Time on the San Antonio River!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A San Antonio Treasure - The Spanish Missions

A San Antonio Treasure, the Spanish Missions.  From the website, Las Misiones,

"The Old Spanish Missions of San Antonio are a chain of five colonial era compounds located in a southern line from the center of downtown San Antonio to the southern edge of the city. They were established in the 18th Century as an outreach of the Spanish Government and the Catholic Church. The Franciscan Fathers founded each mission to evangelize the regional natives, teach them skills to help them adopt to Spanish ways, and minister to their needs. Additionally, the effort was to make them active citizens of the Spanish province of Tejas. Military forces were often located in the vicinity of each mission to offer protection.

Four of the five original missions still function as active Catholic parish Churches. They serve both a stable population of parish members as well as many visitors who attend worship services. These are Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. They are operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio as the Old Spanish Missions, Inc., an umbrella non-profit organization to provide for their care. The Archbishop of San Antonio appoints the Director of the Old Spanish Missions, who is responsible for the maintenance and restoration of the mission churches.

San Antonio de Valero, known as the Alamo, is owned by the State of Texas and operated by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. It does not function as an active parish church and is not part of the Old Spanish Missions, Inc."

If you are planning a visit to San Antonio, by all means visit the Alamo, but try to find time to also see one or more of the other missions, all just south of downtown San Antonio.  It's a treasure that's not as well known, but well worth the trip!

Friday, December 11, 2009

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Cities Where Housing Is on the Mend

                           REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Cities Where Housing Is on the Mend
from Forbes Magazine, Dec. 9, 2009

No cities have totally avoided the foreclosure crisis, but some were able to sidestep the worst of it.  These markets are now recovering quickly....
  1. Harrisburg- Carlisle, Pa.
  2. Austin-Round Rock, Tx.
  3. Ogden-Clearfield, Ut.
  4. Buffalo, NY
  5. Knoxville, Tn.
  6. Raleigh, NC
  8. Syracuse, NY
  9. Salt Lake City, Ut.
Moline, Il tied with St. Louis, Mo, Wichita, Kansas and Rochester, NY

So, once again, San Antonio has made an appearance on a "good list" of cities.  Congrats to SA!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Are Homes in San Antonio Overpriced?

Are homes in San Antonio, Tx overpriced?  They are, according to an article yesterday from Forbes magazine, "Cities with the Most Overpriced Properties". 

According to Forbes, home owners in some parts of the country have clung tenaciously to their notions of the value of their homes, despite having no luck selling their properties.  Markets were ranked based on the ratio of the median initial list prices compared to the median list prices when the properties actually sold.  Also considered was how long the properties stayed on the market.  And finally, Forbes considered expert forecasts of price increases which were encouraging home owners to price their homes high.

The top 10 areas Forbes found with the most over-priced properties were:
  1. Orlando, Fla
  2. Miami - Ft. Lauderdale - Pompano Beach, Fla
  3. Jacksonville, Fla
  4. Baltimore - Towson, Md
  5. Chicago - Naperville - Joliet, Il
  7. Denver - Aurora, CO
  8. Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater, Fla
  9. Indianapolis - Carmel, Indiana
  10. Austin - Round Rock, Tx
My take on this?  We do have a LOT of homes on the market in San Antonio.  Do I think a lot of them are over-priced?  Not really.  The market in San Antonio has only seen modest gains in the last 5 to 10 years, and our housing is already inexpensive compared to a large part of this country.  Should we expect to see prices come down in the near future?  I hope not, because that would wipe out the modest equity many people have in their homes.  San Antonio has a good solid economy, and our future looks bright!  Perhaps Forbes magazine needs to take a closer look.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Buyers, Considering the Move from Apartment Life to Home Ownership?

Buyers, are you thinking of losing the landlord, and owning your own home in San Antonio in the near future?  Are you considering a move from your nice newer apartment to an older, established neighborhood?  What adjustments can you expect in order to move into an affordable home? 

San Antonio is blessed with a lot of choices for first time buyers.  We still have builders actively constructing new homes, and a lot of them are in an affordable range for first time buyers.  But if a new home is not in your future, San Antonio has hundreds of neighborhoods in which you can find existing homes for sale that will be perfect for your first home.  But you may have to adjust your thinking a bit in what amenities you are looking for in a home.

  • Need to update
For example, older existing homes may be not as new as your present apartment, and may have a kitchen or a bathroom that is in need of updating.  You may have to eventually invest money in newer appliances, or countertops to get the look you like. 

  • Smaller rooms
Also, the room sizes may not be exactly what you have now.  Even though the home will most likely have more square feet than your apartment, some of the rooms may be smaller in an existing home, depending upon the age of the home.

  • Less Open Floor Plan
The older homes may have dark paneled walls and standard 8 foot ceiling heights, and seem less bright than a newer home.  The floor plan in an older home may be more closed off or choppy, compared to a newer open plan.  The closets may be smaller, especially in the master bedroom than today's standards.

So why "settle" for an older home?  Look at the advantages.  There's a lot to be said for moving into an established neighborhood.  The area usually has a reputation for it's schools, crime rate, neighborhood associations, and the older areas are closer in to town usually, which makes for a shorter commute to work.  Also, the lots are generally larger and have mature trees and landscapes that give the homes a warm, lived in look.  You have more distance between your home and your neighbor's. 

Don't forget that your first home will probably be your smallest and will most likely have less features than your future homes, but you have to start somewhere to get the process going.  And what better time than now!