Eastside Area housing is primarily made up of older single-family homes, as over half the housing units in the plan area were built before 1960. There are a large number of rented single-family homes, and naturally occurring affordable housing in single-family and small multi-family formats.
There is increasing housing demand in the Eastside Area, leading to increasing property values and associated opportunities to rehabilitate older housing stock, create new housing, and support economic revitalization. Increasing housing demand and property values are also associated with increasing housing cost burden for existing lower income residents.
In 2018, the population of the Eastside Community Area was approximately 33,400 with 10,800 households. The area experienced a population loss between 2000 and 2010 but from 2010 to 2018 has increased by 2,300 residents, and households have grown by 0.9 percent.
The Eastside Area has the same proportion of family households as the city and is only slightly younger, on average, than the regional population. The average household size (3.04), however is greater than the city average of 2.71. The Eastside Area is more diverse than the region, having historically a higher than average concentration of African American residents and currently having a higher concentration of Hispanic residents.
The Eastside Area population has lower educational attainment than the San Antonio region’s population overall. Of those aged 25 and older, 58% have less than a high school diploma and only 17% have an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Graduate/Professional degree. Average household income in the Eastside Area ($38,600) is lower than the city’s average of $70,000.
The Eastside Area has a higher proportion of single-family home dwellers and renters than the region. Single-family detached units make up 76% of the area’s housing stock, compared to 64% in the city. Despite the higher concentration of single-family homes, the Eastside Area has a lower proportion of owner-occupied housing units than the region – 46% of units are owner-occupied and 54% are renter-occupied.
Homeowners are older on average – 54% are 55 years old or older, compared to 46% for the city. Although 60% of these homeowners do not have a mortgage, homeowners on a fixed income are vulnerable to displacement related to the costs of maintaining older homes and related to rising property values and the corresponding growth in property taxes.
The Eastside Area also has a higher percent of vacant households (16%) than the city and county averages. There are several hundred (400+) small, undeveloped lots, although some of these are owned and used as side yards by adjacent residents or as parking by adjacent businesses.
Eastside Area housing costs have increased rapidly in the past decade, however they are still on average lower than the rest of the city. The average home price is approximately $130,000, however home values vary significantly across the area. Home sale prices between 2016 and 2018 ranged between $50,000 and $500,000 or more. The increases in home prices have been most dramatic near downtown.
The average rental rate for an apartment unit in the Eastside Community Area is $854 per month or $0.94 per square foot – less than the county-wide average of $952 per month or $1.11 per square foot. There have been seven new apartment projects completed in the area since 2010, two of which were senior housing.
Area housing affordability was assessed based on the percent of households that pay more than 30% of their income on housing, making them cost burdened. Most homeowner households are not cost burdened, as only 24% of homeowners spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Over half (56%) of renter households are cost burdened, representing a 40% increase since 2000. Cost burden is most prevalent in households making less than $35,000 per year. Recent changes in home prices and household income are not completely reflected in the US Census numbers used here, so the numbers may underestimate the number of cost burdened households.
Housing Challenges in the Eastside Area
The Eastside Area Planning Team identified the area’s housing challenges and missing housing types in the two Planning Team meetings devoted to economic development and housing. Eastside Area neighborhoods have attractive features, including historic character, a gridded street pattern, walkable urban environment, and proximity to downtown. These assets have made it an increasingly popular place to live.
Three main housing challenges identified in the Eastside Area are:
- Potential for Involuntary Displacement – The Eastside Area’s concentration of lower income residents, higher proportion of renters, older home owners, and older housing stock, coupled with rising property values creates the potential for existing residents to no longer be able to afford increasing rental rates or afford the costs related to owning a home. The impact on renters is greater considering the large number of single-family homes that are rental households. As the area continues to increase in popularity, these homes may be sold to owners who want to renovate and live in the units, which will decrease the rental unit supply in the area.
- Compatibility of New Development – The Eastside Area has experienced an influx of new housing development in recent years. In some cases, the building orientation, elevation, parking configuration, and arrangement of windows and doors in new development differ from historical patterns that encouraged residents to observe the street and sidewalks and interact with neighbors.
- Vacancy – The Eastside Area has many vacant homes and undeveloped lots. These undeveloped lots and vacant homes present opportunities to provide new housing, and potentially produce affordable housing options.
Housing recommendations were developed based on the Eastside Area Plan vision and goals 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.