Why San Antonio, Texas Is the VA Loan ‘Capital’ of the U.S.

Marcus Marion, CMA™ 2 months ago 0 7

By some metrics, the San Antonio metro area could be considered the VA loan capital of the United States. Last year, more VA loans were generated in Bexar County, Texas (in the San Antonio metro area) than any other county in the U.S.

Read on to find out why VA loans are so popular among home buyers in the San Antonio area, and how you might benefit from using this program.

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Bexar County Had Highest VA Loan Volume

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently published a report showing VA loan usage by country for fiscal year 2023. That report revealed the total number of VA loans generated for every county in the U.S., with a breakdown showing the number of purchases and refinances.

According to that report, Bexar County, Texas had more VA loans processed in 2023 than any other U.S. county. And by a fairly wide margin.

Here are the top 5 housing markets for VA loan usage last year:

  • Bexar County, Texas: 7,090
  • Maricopa County, Arizona: 6,021
  • El Paso County, Texas: 5,214
  • Clark County, Nevada: 4,674
  • San Diego County, California: 4,019

Most of the VA loans in Bexar County (7,017) were purchase loans used by home buyers. Only a small percentage were used for refinancing.

Overall, 2023 was a light year for VA loan activity, due to a spike in mortgage rates that reduced home loan activity across the board. But if we zoom out and look at the past decade or so, we can see that these same counties usually appear in the top five for VA loan usage.

And last year Bexar County, Texas came out on top, giving it the unofficial title of VA loan capital of the United States.

Major Military Presence in the San Antonio Area

Why are VA loans so popular among home buyers in the San Antonio area?

To answer this question, we have to talk about the types of borrowers who can use this program.

Unlike FHA loans (another government-backed mortgage program), VA loans are not available to just anyone. This program caters to military members, veterans, and certain qualifying spouses. It also has specific eligibility requirements regarding the length of time a person has served in the military.

Because of this, cities with a large number of military bases and a high military population tend to have a lot of VA loan activity as well. And that’s clearly the case within the San Antonio metropolitan area.

Bexar County is home to several significant military installations, including Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, and Randolph Air Force Base. So a large concentration of active-duty, reserve, retired, and former military personnel reside in the area.

In fact, San Antonio (the most populous city and official seat of Bexar County) is known as “Military City, USA.” It even has its own trademark and logo to that effect. San Antonio has a long history of supporting the military and offers various programs and services specifically tailored to veterans and their families.

Bexar County also has a strong Department of Veterans Affairs presence with offices, hospitals, and clinics to process VA benefits and healthcare. This encourages veterans to remain in the area after leaving military service, and to relocate in from other parts of the United States.

An Affordable Housing Market for Home Buyers

Bexar County and the San Antonio Metro area offer relatively affordable home prices. It’s one of the most affordable real estate markets in the country, when compared to many other major metro areas.

According to the latest data from Zillow, the median home value for Bexar County, Texas was around $262,000 as of early 2024. That was about $80,000 less than the national median price point during that same timeframe.

In addition to having favorable home prices, the San Antonio Metro area also has more inventory available for buyers. As of January 2024, this real estate market had more than a five-month supply of homes for sale, well above the national average.

These are just a few of the reasons why so many military members and veterans seek to buy homes in the San Antonio area. It also accounts of the higher-than-average rate of VA loan usage across Bexar County.

Reasons to Use a VA Loan When Buying a House

A lot of military members and veterans in the San Antonio area use VA loans when buying a house. And for with reason. This program offers a number of benefits you can’t get from other mortgage products, including the following features:

1. No down payment. That’s right, you can finance the entire purchase price when using a VA loan to buy a house in San Antonio. This feature removes one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership, allowing you to make a purchase much sooner.

2. No mortgage insurance. With a regular home loan, a borrower who makes a small down payment typically has to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) to reduce the lender’s risk. But with a VA loan, you can buy a house in San Antonio with no down payment and no mortgage insurance.

3. Flexible criteria. Generally speaking, it’s easier to qualify for a VA loan than it is a regular conventional mortgage loan. Lenders who offer these loans receive a partial guarantee from the government, which reduces their risk. So they can be more flexible when approving borrowers.

These benefits explain why so many home buyers across the San Antonio metro area use the VA loan program when buying a house. No other mortgage product can compare!

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