Despite it being a common hot-button issue among permanent residents, property values of homes in San Marcos are not dropping after apartment complexes move in nearby, according to numbers from the Hays Central Appraisal District.
Appraisal records show the property values of San Marcos homes near new multi-family housing complexes are retaining almost their full pre-development values. Opponents of large multi-family housing developments have spoken publicly about the negative effects of apartment complexes on property value. However, James Walker, vice president of the San Marcos Area Board of Realtors, said he does not see effects on property value after large apartment developments are built near neighborhoods.
At Pearce Court, a single-family neighborhood across from The Retreat, property values remained almost exactly the same at an average of $123,135 after the apartment complex was opened this fall. Property values of homes on the 400 block of Mill Street across from Aspen Heights slightly decreased from a $107,040 average in 2010 to $102,807 two years later. Aspen Heights was built in 2011.
Homes on Meadow Parkway near Hillside Ranch experienced an increase in property values in 2011 when the apartment complex was built. Homes had a $159,739 average property value in 2010, and rose in 2012 to $163,430.
Walker said property values have to be examined on a case-by-case basis.
“In some cases (the construction of apartment complexes) is going to increase values,” Walker said. “In some cases it is going to decrease values. It all depends on location, type of development and the quality of the single-family homes.”
David Valle, chief appraiser at the Hays County Central Appraisal District, said there are many factors to determine property values. Therefore, when values decline, it can be challenging to pinpoint what is causing the drop, he said.
Valle said if homes in the area of those appraised are selling for less than in past years, there is a red flag caused by the drop. Valle said he hasn’t seen dramatic drops in the last few years. He said if the apartments were going to be affected by the multi-family developments, they would have already happened.
Despite this, some residents have spoken out against developments, citing a drop in property values as a deterrent for local government to allow rezoning near single-family homes.
Resident Larry Mock said he lives near Sessom Creek with an apartment complex on the other side of his land. He said the multi-family housing was there when he moved in. Mock said the students in the complex rarely disturb him because they are separated by land, but issues arise when multifamily housing is built near or within a neighborhood.
“It kind of degrades the neighborhood because there’s more transient people,” Mock said. “People who buy houses are here to stay, whereas people who live in apartment complexes aren’t here to stay. So, they might not take care of where they live as much.”
Having multifamily housing near homes with children creates a discordance that lowers the value of nearby houses and harms the local environment, Mock said.
“It makes traffic worse,” Mock said. “It just makes the neighborhood less attractive to people who generally want to buy.”
Mona Mendiola, resident and former real estate broker, said she “absolutely” believes property value is diminished by the creation of any retail property, including apartment complexes.
“A non-homeowner mentality moves in,” Mendiola said. “People come who don’t have a sense of pride of ownership.”
Mendiola said properties should be zoned so complexes can’t be built near homes. She said homeowners associations can also help combat low property values.
San Marcos’ average property value has increased on average in recent months, Walker said. Central Texas is a high-demand area and a desirable market.
“I personally, and I know several other agents, have experienced the busiest December and the busiest January that we have seen in several years, which is a good thing,” Walker said. “We’ve got a lot of people moving from out of the area into the area, which ultimately affects the value and starts an increase in the overall values.”