37 thoughts on “A Guide to San Antonio’s Modern, Urban Core Apartments

  1. For $2,000 a month, a better investment is a $300,000 Hill Country Estate with no city taxes that you actually own and can create equity in. Paying $200/sqft for an apartment just because it’s hip? Not a good investment. Anyone who makes a “decent wage” should learn this.

    • Abe, I say this lovingly as a fellow homeowner: owning versus renting is purely lifestyle choice.

      If you buy a house, you’re still renting; you’re just renting the money to buy the house rather than renting the house itself.

      You can overspend on rent and you can overspend on home ownership. The distinction is that for far too long the latter has received a free pass as “making a smart investment”, leading many families to financial instability.

      After taxes, closing costs, maintenance, etcetera, you are honestly lucky to come out ahead if you own a home for anything less than ten years, and some folks may not be ready to make that kind of commitment to one location. Give me the same funds and I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll beat the return other investment vehicles.

      That said, there are some areas more conducive to renting, and some more conducive to purchasing. It’s hard, for example, to find good rental inventory in San Antonio for families.

      Rent if you want to rent; own if you want to own. Consider both as you explore the area, budget, and options that are right for you and your family. But if renting turns out to make you happier than living in Highway Country Estates, don’t fret that you are missing out or poorly managing your money. I can appreciate there are aspects appealing to you, but my hope is that someone purchasing a home in a remote suburban development to does it because they genuinely want to, not because they misguidedly feel that they have to.

    • Abe, I say this as a fellow homeowner: owning versus renting is purely lifestyle choice.

      If you buy a house, you’re still renting; you’re just renting the money to buy the house rather than renting the house itself.

      You can overspend on rent and you can overspend on home ownership. The distinction is that for far too long the latter has received a free pass as “making a smart investment”, leading many families to financial instability.

      After taxes, closing costs, maintenance, etcetera, you are honestly lucky to come out ahead if you own a home for anything less than ten years, and some folks may not be ready to make that kind of commitment to one location. Give me the same funds and I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll beat the return other investment vehicles.

      That said, there are some areas more conducive to renting, and some more conducive to purchasing. It’s hard, for example, to find good rental inventory in San Antonio for families.

      Rent if you want to rent; own if you want to own. Consider both as you explore the area, budget, and options that are right for you and your family. But if renting turns out to make you happier than living in Highway Country Estates, don’t fret that you are missing out or poorly managing your money. I can appreciate there are aspects appealing to you, but my hope is that someone purchasing a home in a remote suburban development to does it because they genuinely want to, not because they misguidedly feel that they have to.

    • Those “Hill Country Estates” and their massive lawns and roads are what are depleting our resources and are the reason we are having to ship in and/or desalinate water (read: Vista Ridge). Not to mention the infrastructure costs to build a highway so that you can commute from your estate to work! I have more than enough cash for 20% down on a $300k suburban McMansion in some gated community an hour from my job, but that sounds like my personal version of hell. I love my apartment and that I can walk or bike to work! Those of us who choose to live Downtown do so for many reasons, a few of which are: walkability (read: HEALTHIER), shorter commute, community, convenience, low maintenance, access to trails and fitness, walkable restaurants/shopping, etc. My rent is $900 per month, and that’s split between my partner and me. I would assume most people pay more than $450 per month on their mortgages… While I do want to buy a house eventually, it will be when I want to start a family. Even then, I most certainly will not be looking for a “Hill Country Estate”.

      News flash–not everyone feels the need to live in a 3,000 SF, characterless home. My partner and I do just fine in our 700 square feet, and we love it.

    • Also, a 1980’s era cookie cutter house is not an “estate”. No one has “estates” in Texas… This isn’t South Carolina.

    • Right… Because it’s not like the people renting these apartments are trying to live close to where they work and hangout after work. What’s a 30/40/50 minute commute when you’ve got your own estate?!

    • Jeff, your problem is a result of the real estate bubble that burst several years ago. Immediately, banks quit loaning money for condominium construction unless at least 70% of the units were pre-sold. Well, who’s going to buy before they exist? Even today with already-built condominiums, banks won’t loan money to purchase a unit until 70% of the units are owner-occupied. I agree that condominiums are nice for people who have the money to buy, but economic factors are working against the construction of them.

    • None of the editors seemed to check this article. I can understand that the author has not been in town long and could make mistakes. Did he do the graphics, too? Some of the easier mistakes I noticed:

      Broadway Corridor Graphic: 1220 Broadway is marked in the wrong location.
      Southtown Graphic: Southtown apartments are marked over half a mile south from their actual location.
      Textual Reference to the Peanut Factory location: They are not halfway between the Cevallo Lofts and the Agave. One MIGHT say they are halfway between the Agave and the Vistana, but that really wouldn’t be true either, since they are so far to the west of all the other complexes that they aren’t really halfway between anything.

    • What’s stopping you? I bought a loft in the Southtown area 6 years ago. You can buy at Judson Candy Factory, Steel House, Camp Street, Southend Lofts, and St. Benedict’s. There are also numerous townhomes that have been recently built or being built in the Southtown area.

      Get cracking!

  2. We are doing great as a city by building these live, work, play communities. However, be advised that while living in mid-town, museum reach area has magnificent advantages, you must be ready for the noise level. Especially at Pearl. We often times deal with very loud crying / playing children early and late who’s parents forget that there are residence on the site. There will be patrons of the restaurant/ bar / coffee shop establishments who again are very noisy. I also think management often forgets about the residence as we deal with very loud power washers and leaf blowers very early each morning including weekends. Of course there is traffic and highway noise but add all the construction noise and dust to the mix and there you go! Not trying to be negative, just honest so you will know and be prepared BEFORE you cash out your suburban home to move in. You will need to decide if the (very) high price you will pay to live in what on the outside appears to be a cool lifestyle is worth the upside of living mid-town.

    • Shari–people in SA are very spoiled. I lived in Chicago in a tiny apartment above the L train and a bustling urban core. Hearing those rickety trains go by is REAL noise. And I got used to it, because my rent was reasonable (by Chicago standards). My apartment in San Antonio is near the highway as well, my neighbor has an annoying dog that barks and some sort of motor skill deficiency that causes them to drop things on the floor in the wee hours regularly, but it is all is a part of living in the urban core, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The minor annoyances don’t come near the benefits of living in an amazing apartment in the most walkable area in San Antonio. You expect all the benefits of living above shopping and restaurants with none of the downsides. You’ve been in the suburbs too long! Learn to love the hustle and bustle and appreciate this community you are a part of.

  3. Anyone have any stats on the rate of rent increases for these places? It would be super helpful to see the trends in downtown rent over the last few years. Im guessing rent downtown goes up every year.

  4. A great guide, well done! I live at Peanut Factory in the old historical building and I love it! But I am excited about all the residential projects in downtown. Definitely looking forward to Aztech and Floodgate on the Riverwalk.

  5. So… I know you can’t list EVERY apartment… But jeez, you listed The Brackenridge at Midtown and there’s an apartment complex literally right next door that you ignored. I’d recommend anyone look into The Beverly. Right at the corner of Broadway and Brackenridge ave.

  6. Yes I love what is going on. Reminds me of midtown Atlanta in the mid late 90s. Would have loved it to be here when I moved here single in 2002. However Im married with 2 beginning school age kids that need a good yard to play in where I can keep an eye out and a good school district. Sorry the public schools in that area fall short and I can’t afford private and there’s no guarantee I can get into a good charter.

    • The public schools are not falling short, it’s the parents. Parental involvement is number one in your child’s education, and that is severely lacking at many schools. But, it’s much easier to just blame the district.

  7. As a resident at Blue Star Complex, I’d recommend anyone STAYING AWAY from renting here. It’s a pit due to management and an owner who don’t take care of anything. You’re totally on your own here.

  8. The rents seem high even for ‘downtown’ – adding to calls that we’re experiencing a bubble of new luxury-priced rental construction targeting university students, young workers, retirees and investors/non residents of these units.

    See https://www.zumper.com/blog/2015/09/zumper-national-rent-report-september-2015/

    The ‘downtown’ rent numbers in new buildings presented above are way off averages for neighborhoods within close distance of ‘downtown’ as well as rents in some older apartment complexes in downtown proper (which, simply based on recent trends, are likely the next to be targeted for redevelopment).

    See: https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-san-antonio-rent-trends/

    Construction of some new downtown units – with every bedroom including an ensuite – suggest a ‘stealth dorm’ market for students and professionals and possibly some retirees who really can’t afford (or shouldn’t be paying) over $1k a month for rents. Piling up in overpriced apartments next to investment units that, while ‘occupied’ sit empty most of the year.

    Savvy renters in San Antonio are likely looking at more affordable options in close distance of downtown in buildings and neighborhoods where they can get more for their money. Biding time until the bubble prices of new ‘downtown’
    units burst.

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