Revisiting this post from 2008, I had an e-mail from some clients overseas asking about the average price per square foot in ZIP code 78249 to help them decide whether to make an offer on a second home and for how much. They saw the Board of Realtor statistics published from December and were wondering if the average price per square foot would fall to $75 to $78 in this neighborhood. Here's the gist of my reply, recycled for the blog in case it's interesting to others:
The problem with ZIP codes is they are funny shapes and 78249 goes all over the place-I know because I used to live in it and I still have a rental property in it! The two are wildly different. The average price per SF is not a meaningful number, because the ZIP code contains a variety of homes. San Antonio is now the eighth-largest US city, so we are talking about a lot of homes, too.
According to the local Board of Realtors, sales prices are projected to stay level and even rise into the spring and most of the new-home inventory is expected to be sold by the end of the year. Because San Antonio has reasonably priced real estate that has not shot up in value, it is not expected to go down much either. There was a slowdown last fall, in the lower price ranges especially, because of the subprime mortgage industry trouble, but homes in good condition and well priced continued to sell. There is a six-month inventory (last time I checked anyway), which is skewed towards a buyer's market, but nothing like Las Vegas, Miami, San Diego, or Tampa.
When I do a search on the MLS of single-family homes that have sold to date since September 1 in 78249, I get the following results: the lowest priced were 10 homes under $100,000. Two homes sold for over $1.2 and $1 million respectively; followed by three over $500,000 and three in the mid- to high-$400,000s. Of the rest, 44 sold for $200,000 to $300,000; 110 sold for $150,000 to $200,000; and 91 sold for $100,000 to $150,000.
With these figures the average sold price for all of 78249 was $178,057; the median was $159,853; and the average sold price per square foot was $85.
However, the sales price per square foot also varies a lot with the size of the home. There is a certain "base" price per square foot that it takes to build any house. Then as you increase the size, you reach efficiencies of scale. On top of that, of course, you add the features and finish-out: a mansion will obviously cost more per square foot because of the marble floors and gold faucets than a regular tract home. But different-sized tract homes in the same subdivision, by the same builder, even with the same degree of finish-out, will have a different price per square foot. You'd have to know exactly how many homes sold and for what size, and what features they had, for the average price per square foot to be useful in a large area such as a ZIP code.
This concludes the broadcast portion of my message to my clients.
Now I'm a big-picture person myself, and I love to look for trends and patterns, but sometimes you have to zoom in a bit to see the trees in the forest.
Or in this case, zooming in even further to see the daffodils among the trees! This was taken in 2004, and the squirrels have probably eaten all the tasty flowers by now. But if we get some nice new tenants who want to plant some more, I'll buy the bulbs!