The Southeast Community Area stretches from the intersection of I-10 and I-37, adjacent to Downtown, all the way east, past Loop 410 to the San Antonio city boundaries. The area includes a variety of neighborhoods and building ages. The older western neighborhoods are separated from the new, eastern neighborhoods by the Salado Creek Greenway and Southside Lions Park, while the newest subdivisions are located east of Loop 410. In 2018, the population of the Southeast Community Area was approximately 40,550, with 13,800 households. Despite the presence of stable older neighborhoods, the area continues to grow and attract new residential homes and apartments. The Southeast Community Area experienced a 1.3% average annual population growth rate between 2000 and 2018, which matches the rate of growth citywide.
Due to the diversity of ages of buildings and neighborhoods, the Southeast Community Area has a mixture of residents that, on average, are similar to the City of San Antonio’s demographic profile. The median age of residents in the area is 34.7 years, compared to 34 in the City. However, there are differences between the Southeast Community Area and the City as a whole. The Southeast Community Area has a slightly higher presence of family households (72% of all households) compared to 65% of households in the City, resulting in a slightly higher average household size of 2.92 compared to 2.71 in the City.
The area’s population is also slightly more diverse than the region. The population of the Area is 73% Hispanic, higher than the 65% in the City, and 63% White, compared to 71% in the city.
Household income in the Southeast Community Area is lower than the City as a whole. The average household income in the area is $57,700, compared to $70,000 in the City of San Antonio. Southeast Community Area residents are also less educated compared to the region overall. Of the area population aged 25 and older, 23% have an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Graduate/Professional degree (compared to 34% in the City).
At 74%, the Southeast Area has a higher proportion of single-family homes compared to 64% in the city. Similarly, the area has a high proportion of owner-occupied housing units, at 65%, compared to 53% in the City and 63% in the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
Housing stock and housing costs in the Southeast Community Area vary based on the location within the area. The plan area is bi-furcated into two sides, split by the Salado Creek and its associated flood plain. The western half of the area generally has older homes and lower values on average. The 78210 zip code, which stretches into Downtown, has a median home value of $96,000. The eastern half generally has newer homes and a higher median home value of $130,000. The average price of new homes in the eastern portion of the plan area is $173,000. These newer homes are generally being built east of Loop 410.
The average rental rate for an apartment unit in the Southeast Community Area is $712 per month or $0.97 per square foot, which is less than the county-wide average of $952 per month, or $1.11 per square foot. There has been limited new multi-family housing added to the area in the recent past.
Both renter and ownership households in the area were assessed to measure the general level of housing affordability based on the percent of households that pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs, also known as cost burden. Based on this measure, affordability is not a major issue for homeowners as only 23% households pay more than 30% of their income on housing. However, changes in home prices that have occurred in the past few years may not be reflected in the U.S. Census numbers used in this measure. The affordability of rental housing is becoming an issue in the Southeast plan area; over half (51%) of renter households are cost burdened, up from 37% in 2000.
Housing Challenges in the Southeast Community Area
The Southeast Community Area Planning Team completed an assessment of the area’s housing challenges as part of two meetings devoted to economic development and housing during the plan process. This analysis helped identify housing challenges that need to be addressed as well as missing housing types the plan can help capture.
The plan area does have a number of attractive neighborhoods and assets, including its location proximate to Downtown and the Brooks Area Regional Center, and connectivity to the wider region via the interstates that bisect or border it. The wide variety of housing styles and ages give the area character and also help make it family-friendly with affordable housing stock. Despite these positive assets, there are challenges the Southeast Community Area faces that need to be addressed in this plan.
- Aging in Place – While the area has a diversity of housing in terms of age of construction and styles, most of the housing is oriented towards families. There are limited options for existing and potential residents who seek smaller and less maintenance-intensive housing, such as more concentrated patio homes and townhomes. There has also been limited multi-family development in the recent past. The lack of diversity in types of housing products limits residents’ ability to age in place and to attract new residents or older children to return to the area.
- Reinvestment in Older Neighborhoods – Some neighborhoods in the western portion of the plan area have not had significant reinvestment in the older homes in recent years. The Planning Team expressed a growing perception that more single-family homes are becoming rentals when homeowners move to other areas, which can result in poorly maintained or neglected properties.
- Connecting Neighborhoods – The Southeast Community Area is well connected to the region via major transportation routes, but connectivity within the plan area is not as good. Connections between neighborhoods via car or alternative modes (transit, bike, pedestrians) are limited. The area is split east and west by the Salado Creek Greenway, which creates a physical barrier and limits connections. Similar to Salado Creek, Loop 410 is also a barrier that separates neighborhoods, and crossing streets, such as Sinclair Road, do not provide safe routes for pedestrians or bicycles to cross the highway. The Planning Team and community also expressed that there is a lack of gathering places and destinations where neighbors can interact outside of their neighborhood boundaries.
Housing recommendations were developed based on the Southeast Community 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.