A 27-year-old real-estate investor who rehabbed 7 Austin properties last year is now targeting San Antonio, where homes can cost less than $100,000. Here are 3 reasons it's the next big investor hot spot.

Austin real-estate investor John Crenshaw said he only worked for someone else once. 

For a brief spell, when he was 17 years old, he worked at a branch of H-E-B, the popular Texas grocery store. After that, he turned his passion for gaming into a successful resale business by fixing up and reselling broken Xbox and Playstation consoles.

Now 27, Crenshaw has refocused his efforts from video games to real estate. Last year, the young investor acquired seven properties around Austin — primarily in Killeen, a fast-growing northern suburb. He renovated and sold a few houses for a profit and then held the rest as cash-flowing rentals. Crenshaw has gained enough experience and earned enough return on his investment flipping houses to start tackling an $800,000 new-home construction project in a nearby area called Harker Heights.

After a dramatic bull run during the pandemic, the Austin market is finally starting to cool off. However, despite home prices dipping from their 2022 peak, homebuying in the Texas capital continues to be competitive and especially challenging for shoppers on a tight budget. For this reason, Crenshaw sees a lot of opportunity in nearby San Antonio for newbies and experienced investors alike. 

Here are just a few reasons why he's bullish on Texas' second-largest city. 

It's close to Austin

Downtown San Antonio is roughly a 75-mile, or 90-minute, drive from downtown Austin, making it convenient for Austin-area real estate investors who don't want to venture too far.

The two are poised to become inherently linked, Crenshaw suggested, similar to other twin cities such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Raleigh-Durham, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. 

"If you look at the map, every city on the outskirts of Austin and outskirts of San Antonio are slowly starting to build up and populations are exploding," Crenshaw said, specifically highlighting growth in places that lie on the highway between the two cities like Kyle, Buda, and San Marcos. "I've had investors tell me about how they bought land down there for pennies on the dollar, but now those cities have blown up."

You can buy homes for relatively cheap 

"A lot of people have overlooked San Antonio," Crenshaw said.

While Austin has won more attention from tech and remote workers, he added, San Antonio's moment is finally arriving. 

A major attraction is its relative affordability compared to Austin. January data from Redfin pegs the median home price in San Antonio at $255,000, which is less than half of Austin's $530,000.

Investors can even expect to pick up homes for much less, Crenshaw said, adding that derelict homes in San Antonio can be bought for $100,000 or cheaper. Investors who rehab the properties nicely can resell them for up to $300,000 or more, he said.

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