Plan Framework and Implementation Priorities
The Port San Antonio Area Regional Center has a population of approximately 54,150 people and 13,700 households. A household is composed of one or more people who occupy a housing unit. The Regional Center has increased by over 1,900 new households since 2010. However, the number of households in the Regional Center is growing at a slightly lower rate than the city as a whole (0.9% annually since 2010 compared to 1.2% for the City).
The characteristics of households in the Regional Center differ from the city overall. The majority of households (75%) in this Regional center are considered family households, in which the people within the households are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. This rate is higher than the city average. This is evident by the average household size of 3.23 people in the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center. The Regional Center population is also substantially younger than the City population overall; the median age in the area is 26.3 years, compared to 34 in the City. Nearly half (47%) of the population is under age 20 indicating a large presence of children in the area.
The average household income in the Regional Center ($50,300) is lower than the City average ($70,000). Similarly, the education attainment levels of residents in the Regional Center are lower than the City’s average. Of the area population aged 25 and older, 25% have less than a high school diploma (compared to 18% in the City), and only 20% have an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Graduate/Professional degree (compared to 34% in the City). Despite the large number of jobs in the Regional Center, there are only a small percentage of residents that live and work in the Regional Center. There is a miss-match between resident education levels and skills with the requirements of many of the jobs in the Regional Center, especially jobs in Port San Antonio.
The housing stock in the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center follows a similar pattern as the City overall. The majority of the housing, approximately two-thirds of structures, is single-family detached. New housing development in the Regional Center has been more oriented to multi-family units. The Regional Center has captured over 1,900 new housing units since 2010, of which approximately 2/3 of the units have been multi-family units. There have been three large multi-family projects totaling 1,200 units constructed in the area since 2010; however, only one of these projects is a traditional, market rate apartment development (the 252 unit Freedom Hills Ranch). The other two projects were targeted at seniors and/or low income households. The Port San Antonio Area Regional Center is forecast to grow by 13,500 to 15,500 housing units from 2010 to 2040. Since 2010, the Regional Center is estimated to have grown in housing units at a slower rate than forecasted.
Only 56% of the households in the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center are owner-occupied despite a higher than average presence of single-family homes. This indicates the older single-family housing stock may have a higher proportion of renter-occupied units than found citywide.
Housing costs are lower than average in the Regional Center compared to the City. The average single-family home price is nearly half that of the citywide average. Apartment rental rates are also lower than average but only 20% less than the average in the city. Despite lower than average housing costs, there are still issues of affordability for some households. In the Regional Center, 19% of homeowners and 49% of renters are cost burdened, which means they pay more than 30% of income towards housing. The percentage of cost burdened owner-occupied households is below the Bexar County average and does not indicate issues with home-owner affordability. However, the rate of cost-burdened rental households is greater than the County average and has grown from 40% in 2000 to 49% in 2017.
Port San Antonio Area % of Cost Burdened Households by Income and Tenure, 2018
Housing Challenges in the Port San Antonio Area
The Port San Antonio Area Planning Team completed an assessment of the Regional Center’s housing challenges as part of the two Planning Team meetings devoted to economic development and housing during the plan process. This analysis helped identify housing challenges that need to be addressed in the plan and missing housing types the plan can help capture.
There are three main housing challenges that were identified for the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center:
- New Market Rate Housing – The Regional Center has many desirable neighborhoods. The neighborhoods on the eastern side of the Regional Center have been around for many decades and have many long-term home owners. These attributes provide stable neighborhoods with well-established character. Some of the older housing units in these neighborhoods need support with upkeep and maintenance to preserve their desirability. For some residents, affording these improvements may be challenging. Although development pressures have not yet reached these neighborhoods in terms of infill or redevelopment in a significant way, there are concerns that the forecast amount of job growth in the Regional Center may begin to cause housing issues that the areas near the Downtown Area and Midtown Area regional centers are experiencing. As job growth continues in the area and more market-rate housing is attracted, there is a desire to proactively ensure long-time residents are not displaced or negatively impacted, and to make sure the neighborhood character is preserved as new housing is added to these neighborhoods.
- Neighborhood Long-term Affordability – The older housing stock gives Template amazing character, but will be difficult to maintain due to costs of reinvestment and development pressures.
- Quality Schools -The Port San Antonio Area Regional Center overlaps five independent school districts. The fragmented pattern of school districts that occurs in this area makes identifying school options challenging for existing and perspective residents. The attractiveness of school options also impacts the Regional Center’s ability to attract new workers who have families. While the City of San Antonio has limited ability to impact the school districts, it can help serve as a convener of the districts to align efforts to educate new and existing residents of district boundaries and school options.
Housing recommendations were developed based on the Port San Antonio Area’s vision and goals and to address the challenges identified during the planning process. Specific strategies to implement these recommendations can be found in the Implementation section of the plan.