The NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center has a population of approximately 14,100 people and 5,600 households. In the past decade, the plan area has grown by 0.9% households annually, which is slightly lower than the City's annual household growth rate of 1.2%.
The median age of residents in the Regional Center 35.6 years old, which is close to the City's median age of 34 years. There is a greater percentage of residents in the Regional Center who are African American or multiple races than the City as a whole, but a lower percentage of residents of Hispanic origin. Almost a quarter of Regional Center residents over the age of 25 hold an associates, bachelors, or graduate degree compared to 34% for the City as a whole.
Household characteristics such as type, size, and income in the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center differ from citywide averages. 60% of households in the plan area are categorized as “family households” (slightly lower than the citywide rate of 65%) and the average household size in the plan area is 2.53 persons (slightly smaller than the citywide average of 2.71). Average household income in the Regional Center is $58,000 (lower than the citywide average of $70,000).
The composition of housing stock In the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center also differs from the City. Single-family detached units make up only 47% of the housing stock in the plan area (compared to 64% citywide). At 45%, structures with two or more units make up a higher than usual share of the housing stock, compared to 32% citywide. The NE I-35 and Loop 410 area is already a prominent location for denser housing product types due to its central location and proximity to transportation routes, jobs, and retail.
The greater presence of attached and multi-family housing types in the plan area has led to a lower proportion of owner-occupied housing units than the City (45% of plan area units are owner-occupied compared to 53% in the City).
Housing costs are lower in the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center than the County overall. The median home value in the plan area is $142,000 (based on Bexar County Assessor data); however, the average actual home sale price in the proximate area was $193,000 (between 2016 and 2018), which is closer to City averages.
The average rental rate for an apartment unit in the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center is $820 per month or $1.04 per square foot – less than the countywide average of $952 per month and $1.11 per square foot. The Upton at the Longhorn Quarry is the only multifamily development to be built in the plan area since 1987. Completed in 2017, the Upton is a 306-unit complex with an average monthly rental rate of $1,200. This suggests a market demand for new units.
Housing affordability is often measured in terms of “cost burden,” or the share of income paid towards housing costs. In general, if a household spends over 30% of its income on housing, it is considered to be cost-burdened. By this measure, housing stock in the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center is generally considered affordable for homeowners, with only 17% of homeowner households cost-burdened (compared to a 21% rate for the County). Renter households, however, may be facing affordability challenges if current trends continue. Despite lower than average apartment rental rates in the plan area, almost half (49%) of renter households are cost-burdened, which has increased from 33% in 2000. The upturn of cost-burdened renter households in the Regional Center is attributed to rising housing costs Citywide without commensurate increases in household income.
The NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center is forecast to grow by 1,400 to 2,300 households between 2010 to 2040. The number of new and planned multi-family housing units at the Longhorn Quarry indicates a renewed interest in housing development in the plan area.
Housing Challenges in the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area
The NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center Planning Team assessed the plan area’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges over two Planning Team meetings devoted to housing. Highlighted among the Regional Center’s assets are its access to quality schools, general affordability for most residents, central location, and proximity to outdoor recreation opportunities. Despite these strengths, three main housing challenges were identified for the Regional Center:
- Diversity of Housing Options – The housing stock in the Regional Center is older, with most of it built before 1990. While there is a greater diversity of housing product types in the plan area than other parts of the City, the area lacks newer housing products that can help increase the appeal of the area and spur reinvestment in neighborhoods. The Planning Team specifically indicated a desire for and new homes and apartments that allow residents to age in place and also for housing options that appeal to the luxury market.
- Areas for Growth – The NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center has a limited amount of land to accommodate new housing development. New housing in the plan area will likely be limited to higher density product types. However, any increase in housing development will help support emerging mixed-use and entertainment destinations that attract reinvestment to surrounding commercial areas.
- Mobility Barriers – The NE I-35 and Loop Area Regional Center is divided by many major barriers to mobility including major highways/interstates, creeks, floodways, and railroad tracks. The lack of access and ease of circulation could limit the potential for growth in the plan area if these challenges are not addressed.
Housing recommendations were guided by the overall vision and goals for the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center and the need to address the plan area’s specific challenges. Specific strategies to implement the recommendations below can be found in the Implementation section of the Regional Center Plan.
Recommendation #1:Increase the diversity of housing options within the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area Regional Center to support residents at all stages of life and income levels.
The community and Planning Team identified increasing the diversity of housing types in the NE I-35 and Loop 410 Area as a priority. Specifically mentioned was the need for new housing options that allow residents to age in place as well as housing that appeals to those in the luxury market. The general affordability of housing in the plan area was highlighted as a major asset, so efforts to maintain and expand, as needed, affordable housing options are also desired.
Because the Regional Center has a limited amount of land available for development, new housing in the plan area will likely be limited to higher-density product types such as apartments, townhomes, and duplexes. Financial incentive programs currently in place can be used to encourage innovative approaches to meeting the needs of seniors and those on fixed incomes across all housing product types as well as help focus housing development in designated mixed-use areas and along transit corridors.