By Kala Bell

The months of October, November and December are usually known for being rather dry within the real estate world. When winter gets into full swing, the holidays often drive potential buyers away from listings, choosing to instead look again in January, February or March. In the San Antonio area, it remains to be seen whether the market will hit a dry patch in these months, primarily because the early fall housing statistics are promising, especially for potential buyers.

As October draws to a close, some of the recent statistics should drive potential buyers off the hypothetical fence in the San Antonio real estate market. Potential buyers are often those who just can’t decide whether to continue renting or to finally take the plunge and find their first home. This fall, San Antonio apartment rentals have netted an average price of $758 a month. This increase marks a 2.4 percent kick up from the rental prices to closeout 2010. With a mid 90’s occupancy rate, the possibility remains for even more of a hike in area rental costs.

A rising rate for apartment rentals could be a major decision point for many potential buyers in late 2011 and early 2012. As apartment rental rates have gone up in 2011, the falling median price for single family residential homes could tempt buyers as well. The San Antonio prices have fallen nearly four percent in the past year alone. Potential buyers can see that the average of $183,762 in area properties is lower than previous years.

The sales figures from the San Antonio area in the months of early fall corroborate with these averages somewhat. In September, area housing sales increased nearly eight percent in comparison to September 2010. Although the area sales have been down for the first portion of 2011, September’s numbers are rather promising and October’s could follow suit. Another contributing factor is the fact that mortgage rates are dropping to record lows in San Antonio, as well as the rest of the country. Fixed rate, 30 year mortgages are now down to 3.94 percent, dropping to levels that haven’t been seen before.

The San Antonio area has looked pretty decent compared to other areas in the U.S. when it comes to the real estate scene. Along with other Texas cities, the area has prospered from better employment outlook than most of the country. With lower unemployment rates and better opportunity, buyers have continued to come to areas like San Antonio and Houston, helping to keep the real estate market stable as others hit turbulence.

With the numbers from early fall months like August and September already in, the October statistics should dictate the expectations for the end of the year and beginning of 2012. With figures like rental rates increasing, combined with lower prices and mortgage rates, potential buyers could swing the market in an unexpected way. At the very least, the start of 2012 should mark a small jump in the San Antonio market.