Is the San Antonio economy starting to recover?

Tracy Marlowe  |  March 25, 2009

I've seen a few clues that the San Antonio economy may be starting to recover.  Could it be true?  I'm no economic wizard, so don't hold a gun to my head to make any promises.  But I do know that economic health greatly rests upon consumer confidence.  When people aren't buying, the economy suffers.  It's that simple.

I have a close friend who works in the San Antonio real estate market, at  She's actually the buyer's agent for one of the top producing real estate agents in San Antonio, Judy Dalyrample (an extremely nice woman, if you need an agent!).  Their office sold over $50 million dollars in homes and land in a single year when the market was at it's peak.  That's pretty darned impressive.

My friend has been telling me stories over the past few months about the suffering of the real estate market in San Antonio, from a real estate agent's perspective.  Her tales included a wave agents quitting the business--agents with short careers as well as long timers who had been in for 15+ years.  I also heard about builders and developers who had laid off mass amounts of staff.  And the most telling story, I think, was the fact that my friend who basically shows all of the homes to the buyers of one of the busiest agents in town, didn't have a whole lot to do.  She'd gotten so desperate to make a few extra bucks that she was even showing rental properties--something usually done only by agents just getting into the business since the most they usually make is $50.

Needless to say, things were sounding pretty dire.  No surprise, though, I guess in light of the whole economic crisis.

But I was having lunch with my friend a couple of days ago and she told me that she's all of the sudden gotten very busy!  This was  a surprise.  I did some digging, just to uncover whether this might just be a fluke.  Maybe she was showing a lot of houses and not selling.  Or maybe there was something else underlying that wasn't necessarily a sign of a sprouting economy.

But low and behold, she revealed that she has had a sudden rash of buyers over the past month, with several homes under contract, and it looks like more coming in the future.

This was awesome news.  I honestly believe that nature and life has a way of balancing things out when they need to be balanced.  It's a well studied phenomenon of which scientists have long been aware.  Overgrown forests are suddenly besieged with forest fire which destroys in the short term and makes room for new growth over the long term.  Disease, drought and famine will balance out the animal kingdom in the face of overpopulation.  And when financial markets are booming, something always seems to come along to level the playing field.

We're probably not completely through the economic crisis.  But I certainly hope that relief is in sight and that signs of a reawakening real estate market might be a predictor of good things to come.

And for what it's worth, I went out to eat last Saturday night and was surprised to wait over two hours for a table.  It was insane.  I've never seen such a massive amount of people waiting to eat at a restaurant.  So there are obviously some people who are still spending on frivolous things like going out to eat.  Maybe things are starting to bounce back?  Possibly the stimulus package is starting to work?

I certainly hope so.

What do you think?  Have you seen any signs that the economy might be starting to recover?  Are you still spending?  Or are you saving and waiting for a sure sign of recovery?

by Tracy Marlowe

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