It is impossible to think of San Antonio, TX without “remembering” the Alamo. The historic mission is located close to the downtown area and has been turned into a museum and national landmark. The city is also home to the two mile long River Walk and the 750-ft Tower of the Americas.
Even though San Antonio has the appearance of a prosperous city, it has suffered financial setbacks in the last 10 years. This is apparent in some of the city’s neighborhoods where more homes are boarded up than occupied. In this guide you will find important information about living and working in this southwestern city, along with the reasons why many residents are taking advantage of the financing opportunities that are offered at the Buy Here Pay Here auto lots.
1 Demographics for San Antonio
2 Income and Cost of Living in San Antonio
3 Bankruptcies and Causes
4 Unemployment and Cost of Living in San Antonio
5 Repossession Rate for San Antonio
6 Unique Events That Helped Shape the City
7 San Antonio Business Districts
8 Public Transportation in the City
9 Walking Around in the City
10 San Antonio School Ratings
11 Public Assistance Programs in San Antonio
12 Free Health and Wellness Programs
13 Fun Activities in San Antonio
Demographics for San Antonio
San Antonio has been enjoying a steady growth in population since 2010, and in 2016 the U.S. Census Bureau reported an increase of 8.55 percent in just six years. According to recent estimates this brings the population in the city and metro area to 2,142,508.
The city has a diverse population that adds to its appeal. Caucasians, African Americans and Asians account for 45.18 percent of residents, with the other 54.82 percent comprised of Hispanics. 34 percent of the population can fluently speak more than one language, which is usually English and Spanish. The average age of residents is 34.1, which ensures the city has an energetic and vibrant presence.
Unfortunately when it comes to employment over 25 percent need to hold down more than one job to make ends meet, especially since
the average hourly wage is 11 percent less than nation’s.
This does affect residents quality of living and can make it difficult for them to pay their bills on time. When late payments add up their credit score can suffer making it difficult for them to find approval for a loan when they need to purchase a car. In this case many of San Antonio’s residents find themselves grateful that there are a large number of Buy Here Pay Here lots for them to choose from.
While the median income in San Antonio at $50,075 which is below the national average at $51,939 it is a good thing that the cost of living is 4 percent lower than the rest of the state. The cost of housing is 29 percent lower than national averages, but the sales tax is 23 percent high.
A large majority of the city’s population is living on an hourly wage of only $19.88, which is lower than the nation’s reported $22.33.
When this is combined with monthly rent around $920 before food and utilities are added in it is not hard to see why many residents find themselves struggling to make ends meet. As bills pile up it is not uncommon for residents to start depending on credit cards, and this is when their debt begins to mount. If it continues for too long residents often find that their only recourse when they need to purchase a vehicle is to pay the higher interest rates that come with financing from a Buy Here Pay Here dealership.
When it comes to the number of bankruptcies filed San Antonio is currently seeing its rate drop. In 2015 there were 3,124 filings for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 compared to the 5, 106 filed at the height of the city’s recession in 2009. Fewer businesses are also seeking protection with Chapter 11, which is good news for the construction and oil industry which were the hardest hit in 2008 and 2009.
With fewer businesses filing for Bankruptcy many market analysts are taking this as a sign that the city’s economy is starting to rebound, but a few are still worried now that oil and gas prices are falling. With layoffs increasing in the gas industry many economists are predicting that oil workers will soon be filing for bankruptcy.
In the meantime the three main reasons residents are currently filing for bankruptcy are divorce, job loss and illness. It should be noted that while filing for Chapter 7 or 13 can help protect your assets, it also leaves a mark on your credit history. Not only will this cause your FICO score to drop, it can also make it difficult for you to secure a low interest loan. This can be particularly frustrating when it is time to start thinking about buying a car. In many cases residents are forced to accept the high interest rates that come with an auto loan from a Buy Here Pay Here lot. The good news is that once the bad credit car loan is repaid it will have a positive effect on your FICO score.
Total Bankruptcies in San Antonio, TX
Unemployment and Cost of Living in San Antonio
The cost of living in San Antonio is 14 percent below than the national average,
but high sales tax and a low annual income of $44,937 is making it difficult for residents to make ends meet.
Many people in the city are finding that they have to choose which bills to pay each month, and this can have a detrimental effect of their credit score. Missed mortgage payments can result in foreclosures and vehicle repossession are also common, when this happens it can be difficult for them to be approved for a poor credit car loan.
San Antonio has a poverty rate of 20.1 percent, which is 35 percent higher than the national average. This is being partially attributed to the relatively low annual household income. There are signs that residents might be getting some relief. The current unemployment rate is at 5.2 percent, which is 13 percent lower than the nation’s. With more jobs opening up cash strapped residents are hopeful that their personal finances may start to improve. This also means that many of them are finding that they need a vehicle to get to work, and their best chances of being approved for an auto loan is from one of the city’s numerous Buy Here Pay Here dealerships.
Repossession Rate for San Antonio
According to the credit reporting firm Experian, this Texas city has a low vehicle repossession rate, slightly below the national average at 1 percent. This is a dramatic improvement from 2010 when it was estimated that close to 1 in 10 vehicles purchased that year were in danger of being repossessed.
While repossession rates are finally down this does not mean that the city is financially stable. Experian is also reporting the San Antonio, TX is the 4th most expensive city to buy a vehicle in. Part of this is due to the high repossession rate that plagued the city during the height of the recession.
Residents that have had a vehicle repossessed are finding it difficult to secure a low interest loan, especially from a traditional lending institution.
Even though the Buy Here Pay Here lots are often willing to approve car loans for consumers with bad credit, many residents are afraid that they won’t be able to afford the high interest payments. Unfortunately a vehicle is often necessary for them to make it to work on time, which leaves them with little choice other than to accept the a loan with a high interest rate.
Repossession rate in San Antonio, TX
Unemployment rate in San Antonio, TX
Unique Events That Helped Shape the City
There have been several unique events that have helped shaped this Texas city starting with the battle for the Alamo in 1836. Since then a vibrant city has grown up around the historic mission with much of its finances based in the oil and gas industry. When gas shortages hit in the 1970’s the city was hit particularly hard, and some businesses and residents never recovered.
During the 1980’s and up to 2007 the city saw a surge in population, along with new businesses and jobs. The housing market experienced a boom and new neighborhoods were constantly being developed, until the recession at the end of 2007. When the housing market collapsed many subdivisions were left unfinished, and foreclosures and vehicle repossession rates rose to alarming highs. This has all started to change in the last few years, and since 2010 the city seems to be making a comeback.
San Antonio Business Districts
A recent study conducted by the National Real Estate Investor has named San Antonio’s central business district as one of the top five places to watch. It is considered one of the “best values” in the country for investors, and this is bringing money and new businesses into the downtown area. USAA Real Estate Co. and Clarion Partners are two companies that have already taken advantage of the opportunities offered in the CBD, and with new construction on additional buildings underway more businesses and jobs are expected in the next few years.
The popular Rivercenter Mall and Yanaguana Park at the Hemisfair are also being revitalized, and more employment opportunities are expected once construction is finished. The downtown business district is not the only one seeing new growth, and this is welcome news for residents living in the 375 neighborhoods that make up the metro area.
Prospect Hill is not only most densely populated neighborhood it is also seeing new businesses moving into the area. Small shops and cafes are providing much needed jobs, especially for residents that cannot afford a vehicle. The Park at Deerfield was recently ranked as one of the “most livable” neighborhoods in the city, and part of this is due to the growing number of small businesses that are choosing to make the suburb’s small CBD home.
Public Transportation in the City
Even though San Antonio does have public transportation it does not provide service to all of the city’s 375 neighborhoods. This means residents living in Feather Ridge or Sierra Springs will need a vehicle if they work in the downtown area or in another neighborhood. There are 89 bus lines that provide service to the downtown and CBD, along with the international airport.
Residents and visitors can also enjoy a ride on the streetcars when they are downtown, and there is public transportation to most of the city’s attractions. The Alamo, Japanese Tea Gardens and Majestic Theater can all be reached by bus or streetcar, but residents in the metro area still face the problem of how to get to the station if they do not have a car.
With a transportation score of 36, according to Redfin ratings
residents of this southwestern city are definitely dependent on vehicles if they want to be able to easily get around.
Walking Around in the City
The city’s walkability score is also 36 out of 100, and while there are plenty of places designed to help residents get some exercise most are located exclusively in individual neighborhoods. The Riverwalk promenade is a popular destination for residents and visitors and the paved paths are perfect for walking, but once again if you live in the metro area you will find it difficult to get there without a car.
When it comes to biking the score is slightly higher at 42, and there are designated lanes in the CBD and downtown. The innovative bike sharing program has helped raise the score, and it is providing residents with a healthy and eco-friendly way to cover short distances. While this is helpful for residents in the city, many of the outlying neighborhoods are simply too far away to make cycling their main form of transportation.
With a walking around score of 36 out of 100, the 2,142,508 residents that call San Antonio home know that they need a car if they want to get around.
San Antonio School Ratings
There are 434 primary and secondary schools in San Antonio with the lowest ranked in the inner city. The overall ranking for the city’s independent school district is 3, with a total of 53,750 students currently enrolled. That averages out to 17 students per teacher.
Districts in the metro area tend to have higher rankings with Randolph Field ISD coming in with a rating of 9 out of 10. It should also be noted that there are only 1,293 students enrolled, which equals out to 13 per teacher. The smaller district of Lackland is rated 8, along with Boerne and Alamo Heights.
The large discrepancy in ratings in the city’s various independent school districts is mainly due to how they are funded. Each neighborhood is responsible for passing its own bonds, and lower income areas often cannot afford the higher taxes that are necessary to fund their schools. Adding to the problem is the fact that federal assistance is limited due to low test scores and a lack of “cross-city” busing.
With education lacking in many of the lower income neighborhoods many students are not learning the skills they need to be financially stable. The lower test scores is also making it difficult for them to be accepted into accredited colleges, and this is dramatically decreasing their chances of finding employment that pays above minimum wage. This means that there will always be residents in the city barely making ends meet, and ensures that there will always be people looking for bad credit auto loans from a Buy Here Pay Here dealership
Public Assistance Programs in San Antonio
Thankfully city and state officials understand that it can be difficult to make ends meet, especially for families that might be living off of only one income. San Antonio residents can find plenty of public assistance programs that are ready to help with everything from rent and utility bills to food and clothing. Residents in need of assistance finding gainful employment can find the help and support that they need, and there are even programs that provide credit counseling for those struggling with debt.
Not only can these programs help residents become more financially stable, but also teach them how to manage their money. This is especially important for residents that might be looking to finance a vehicle, but are afraid that they will be turned down due to their poor or bad credit. While their credit scores will not instantly improve, it is a start towards finally being approved for a car loan.
Some of the numbers that residents can call for the assistance they need include,
As previously stated illness and the resulting medical bills are one of the main reasons residents file for bankruptcy, and this can have a devastating effect on their credit scores. The rising cost of prescriptions is also making it difficult for some residents to stay on top of all their bills, and repeated late payments will show up on their credit histories. All of this can make it difficult for residents to be approved for a car loan when they need to purchase a vehicle, even from some of the Buy Here Pay Here lots.
The city does have several programs in place that can help struggling residents get the health care they need, without going into debt. Some of the numbers for these programs and clinics include,
Alamo Resource Center: (210) 358-9995
The Eats Foundation: (830) 372-7736
Corazon Ministries: (210) 226-8341
Fun Activities in San Antonio
Residents and visitors never have to worry about running out of fun things to do in San Antonio. The Riverwalk is a two mile promenade lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. There is even a dinner riverboat cruise that is popular with locals and tourists. The Alamo is a sight that should not be missed, and on the anniversary of the battle spectators are treated to a live reenactment.
Nature and animal lovers will enjoy SeaWorld, and thrill seekers will have a blast at Six Flags Fiesta. There is also zip lining at the Natural Bridge Caverns, and if you want to enjoy a spectacular view of the city you can head up to the top of the Tower of the Americas.
San Antonio is also home to several festivals held throughout the year, along with a city fair and rodeo. For those that want to learn a little about the city and state history a visit to the Institute of Texan Cultures will help answer any questions residents and visitors might have. Even though there are plenty of fun and exciting activities in and around the city you will need a vehicle if you want to experience everything San Antonio has to offer.
There is no denying that San Antonio is making a comeback after suffering severe financial hits, and with an unemployment rate below the national average it seems that residents are also starting to recover. New businesses are moving into the area and the population is growing, but there are still problems with the city’s public transportation system. With limited service to the metro area a vehicle is a necessity, and this is emphasized by its low transportation and walking scores. If you are one of the thousands of residents that need a vehicle there are a few questions you should consider before you take on an additional payment. Can you afford a vehicle is the first question, along with where can you get financing? This is especially important if you have bad credit. Even though the Buy Here Pay Here lots will charge a higher interest rate, it might be your only option if you want to buy a dependable car. While it might cost you a little more, there is a bright side. Once the loan is repaid you can enjoy the benefits that come with having a higher FICO score.