Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So What Happens When the Real Estate Tax Incentives End?

So what happens to the real estate market in San Antonio when the tax incentives end in a few days?  The $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers and $6500 for repeat homebuyers ends this Friday, April 30th.  Buyers who qualify for that incentive have to be under contract by that date and close the deal by June 30th to get the credit.

Ahh, but for San Antonio, there is an "escape clause".  San Antonio may benefit from an IRS provision that gives active-duty military members an extra year to buy a house and take the tax credits if they have been deployed for at least 90 days between Dec. 31, 2008, and May 1 of this year.  So with our large military bases here, we may see the market continue to be fueled by returning military buyers for the next year.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Home Sales Improving in San Antonio?

Good News......

Sales of existing San Antonio homes increased 28 % in March, compared with March, 2009, as more than 1,700 homes sold, according to the latest data from the San Antonio Board of Realtors.  More than 3,700 resale homes have changed hands in the first quarter of the year, up 12 % from  the first quarter of 2009. 

There were 1,849 pending sales at the end of March.  Those are homes which are under contract but haven't yet closed. It was the highest number since August 2007, and the San Antonio Board of Realtors  is hoping it's another sign that the market is warming up for the traditional spring and summer sales season.  Homes were taking an average of 90 days to sell in March, compared with 103 during March, 2009.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Viva Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas!

The latest from the Alamo City... it's FIESTA TIME!

New Orleans has Mardi Gras. Rio de Janeiro has Carnival. And San Antonio has Fiesta — 11 days of partying, Texas-style. Fiesta began in 1891 with a single parade honoring the heroes from the battles of San Jacinto and the Alamo. Women in decorated horse-drawn carriages gathered in front of the Alamo to toss flowers at each other.

Today there are more than 100 events around the city celebrating the unique spirit of San Antonio with live music, food, dancing, fairs and art.  Not to mention all kinds of parades, including the floating Texas Cavaliers' River Parade, the nighttime Fiesta Flambeau Parade and the Battle of Flowers Parade — inspired by those bloom-tossing ladies.

The festivities kick off today with Fiesta Fiesta, the opening ceremony at the Alamo that includes live music, food and children's activities, emceed by San Antonio native and ABC News anchor John Quiñones. Americana music star Kevin Fowler headlines.  They're not the only celebrities joining the fun. Former Spur David Robinson will head River Parade, while singer Vikki Carr will be the grand marshal of the Flambeau.

Fiesta's royalty are celebrities in their own right. There's King Antonio, who represents the order of the Cavaliers, and El Rey Feo, the “ugly king,” a monarch for the masses.  But there are no ugly queens at Fiesta — at the Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo, the queen, as well as princess and duchesses, wear elaborately decorated gowns. There's also Miss Fiesta San Antonio, the Queen of Soul and the Charro Queen.  And don't forget King Anchovy of Cornyation, the irreverent pageant that pokes fun at current events, and El Rey Fido, who's top dog at the Pooch Parade.

It seems like every Fiesta-goer has a favorite event. There's the Fiesta Carnival packed with games and rides. A Taste of New Orleans at Sunken Garden Theater boasts music and cuisine. A Night in Old San Antonio takes over La Villita with entertainment and food from different cultures. Fiesta Oyster Bake at St. Mary's University is all about music and eating. 

Those same Fiesta-goers know how to make the most of the party: Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen. See how many Fiesta medals and pins you can collect. And beware friends bearing cascarones, colorful eggshells that spill confetti over your head. 

After more than a century, Fiesta continues to evolve. This year, it is making strides toward a greener celebration.  The Fiesta Commission is working with the city to provide recycling containers at several events, including NIOSA, Fiesta Fiesta, King William Fair and Fiesta de los Niños at Port San Antonio. At the major street parades, groups that sell seating will collect recyclables. 

But some things about Fiesta that never change — it raises thousands of dollars for various charities every year, and it brings residents and visitors together to celebrate San Antonio's diverse heritage and culture. ¡Viva Fiesta!

Article by Jessica Belasco from the San Antonio Express News

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Top High Schools in San Antonio Area

Top 10 High Schools in Greater San Antonio Area

1. Health Careers High (Northside ISD)

2. International School of the Americas (North East ISD)

3. Alamo Heights High (Alamo Heights ISD)

4. Reagan High (North East ISD)

5. D’Hanis School (D’Hanis ISD)

6. Winston Churchill High (North East ISD)

7. Medina High (Medina ISD)

8. Sandra Day O’Connor High (Northside ISD)

9. Medina Valley High (Medina Valley ISD)

10. Clark High (Northside ISD)
A group called “Children At Risk” evaluated and ranked 57 high schools, 101 middle schools, and 257 elementary schools in Greater San Antonio.  Children At Risk ranks high schools based on factors like graduation rate, participation in advanced coursework, and performance on college entrance exams. 
Congratulations to these fine schools and their students and faculties on a job well done!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's Bluebonnet Season in South Texas!

It's bluebonnet season in south Texas, including our very own San Antonio.  The bluebonnet is the Texas state flower, and grows along Texas highways as a wildflower, returning year after year from seeds from the previous growing season.  The wind helps to spread the seeds, so you can find large areas of beautiful blue flowers along highways and in neighborhood yards, including mine!  These photos are from my backyard bluebonnets. 

You'll note there are also bluebonnets that are not blue!  Texas A&M University developed a hybrid bluebonnet that is Aggie maroon (Go Aggies!).  So in my yard, you'll see both colors that have come up from seed from last year's crop.  Enjoy!