San Antonio’s income surge hints at more housing pressure, moving trucks on the horizon

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio’s median income is up. A lot.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city’s median family income has reached $83,500, a 13% spike over last year’s median of $74,100. Compare that to Dallas and Austin, which both saw comparatively modest median family income increases of 11%, and 9%, respectively. Texas as a whole was up 11% to a median family income of $83,500.

To be sure, the family-earnings jump, coupled with San Antonio’s surging population, is extreme relative to other parts of the U.S. and is contributing to growing pains throughout the city, particularly when it comes to housing affordability. Joshua Roberson, a senior data analyst with the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center, said those factors have snowballed since the Covid-19 pandemic as San Antonio has rapidly added high-paying jobs in sectors such as professional services.

“Since we’re still in 2022, the figure is likely a forecast even if it doesn’t explicitly say so. I do think it’s a believable number given how much growth there has been in higher-income jobs,” he said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual salaries in almost all of San Antonio’s most densely populated employment sectors went up in 2021 — the exception being management occupations. However, Roberson said the earnings surge may also have another source.

“Of course, you’re also familiar with out-of-staters moving into the major Texas metros,” Roberson added.

A recent Business Journal analysis of U.S. migration and IRS data found that Texas is drawing a significant number of relatively higher-earning tax filers from other states — a trend that is driving many existing Texans to more affordable locations such as San Antonio’s Bexar County.

For example, tax filers moving to Bexar from Travis County, where Austin is seated, averaged $127,878 in annual gross income in 2019 and 2020, the latest reporting periods available through the IRS. Other locations to send tax filers — and higher earnings — to Bexar County included Fairfax County, Virginia, (tax filers moving to Bexar County averaged $123,452 in annual income).

When the pandemic struck, San Antonio’s housing market drew in thousands of new residents, many who work remotely. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, San Antonio boasted the largest number of new residents nationally in 2021, with a net 13,626 more residents than the previous year.

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

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