In May 2008, before the demise of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, AIG and a host of banks, I posted “Mustang Island Real Estate 101.” The article provided an overview of this coastal Texas real estate market. At that time, much of the U.S. was already reeling while our market remained stable. That is still largely the case in September 2009 as described in “Mustang Island Real Estate 101 Update.”
Photo by Mark Creighton
Mustang Island Real Estate 101 - Update
While much of the country continues to suffer through a difficult housing market, the Gulf Coast City of Port Aransas continues to be a popular choice for vacation and second home buyers. Most of the real estate buyers in Port Aransas call San Antonio, Austin, Houston or Dallas home. Port Aransas has always been a mecca for Texans looking for a beach or fishing escape. The secret is slowly getting out and coastal enthusiasts from across the nation are discovering Mustang Island.
The Texas economy has proven to be remarkably resilient. Buyers from large and small inland Texas communities are the lifeblood of the Mustang Island real estate market. Even those that once only considered Florida or other U.S. beach destinations are opting for Port Aransas and Mustang Island.
The town of Port Aransas (Port A as the locals call it) is the center of the Mustang Island community. Mustang Island is an 18 mile barrier island running parallel to mainland Texas north of Padre Island, with Corpus Christi Bay to the West and the Gulf of Mexico to the East. The northern end of the island is connected to the mainland by a ferry system run by the Texas Department of Transportation. The trip is free of charge and takes only three minutes to cross to the mainland. On the southern end, the JFK Causeway connects the island with mainland Corpus Christi.
Because of this, Port Aransas is as accessible as it is beautiful. With a life of its own and a lot of character, this peaceful beach community has miles and miles of unspoiled beaches lapped by gentle waves. Port Aransas is an area of immense natural beauty that (combined with the opportunity for a sound real estate investment) is becoming especially popular with Baby Boomers. The island is perfect for people looking for a laid back coastal lifestyle different from the one offered by tall-and-glittering condominiums elsewhere in the U.S. To many, Port Aransas is the kind of place described in a Jimmy Buffett song.
The Port Aransas Housing Market
Texas housing markets are some of the most stable in the nation. Because of this, the state has been able to avoid “the popping of the real estate bubble” which has been occurring in growing communities all over the country. Texas homes have resisted the drastic downward trends in pricing suffered in other U.S. states. Instead, many Texas communities are showing modest growth during a time of national economic malaise.
Port Aransas is one of these communities and offers some of the best value in coastal property in the U.S. While much of the Gulf Coast is dotted with towering condos, Port Aransas is an attractive option for those looking for a more peaceful environment (or just a sound investment) in a beachfront home or condo.
Why is Port Aransas a growing community? Part of the reason is that Mustang Island boasts a large portion of the total Texas coastline available for development. Of the 375 miles that make up the Texas coast, 293 miles are unavailable for development, 56 miles are fully developed, and 26 are available for development. Many of those 26 miles lie on Mustang Island.
Communities on Mustang Island
There are many planned communities built and being built on Mustang Island. These range from modest condominiums and town homes to entire planned communities complete with marinas, golf courses, parks, shopping and restaurants. The overall economy has slowed the construction starts for some of the planned projects, but many are moving forward with success.
Cinnamon Shore is a 64-acre planned community which began construction in the spring of 2007. Upon completion, this master planned community will feature about 240 single-family homes, 275 housing units, and 1,100 feet of coast line. The development is designed around the idea of beautiful architecture and pedestrian friendly streets, as well as having only a minimal impact on the environment around it. Southern Living Magazine chose Cinnamon Shore as the location for their 2009 “Tarpon Run” Idea House.
Established in 2003, Royal Sands is a 32 acre Mustang Island beachfront community consisting of 90 home sites. The development features family and adult pools, birding ponds, protected dune areas and a beach walk over. Royal Sands provides onsite management, security and maintenance support for vacation rentals. 2009 vacation rental revenues are well over 2008 levels.
Newport Beach and Golf
The Arnold Palmer Signature course opened in October 2008 and has already earned critical acclaim on a national level. The Newport Beach and Golf master planned community is planned around the concept of a European port city. At the heart of this community will be the Town Center Marina, surrounded by residential villages with luxury homes, hotels, shops, a marina, and waterfront cafes. Three local builders will begin construction on Mediterranean style town homes in the coming months.
Developers Koontz McCombs waterfront Palmilla resort will be situated on 30 acres of land and will consist of 94 home sites. The community will feature a mile of bulkhead walkways, floating boat docks and a resort style pool. Updated construction timelines have not been announced.
Village Walk, located in the heart of Port Aransas, consists of 98 homes and opened for occupancy in 2007. This community is made up of coastal cottage style homes, with gated access, gulf views, pools and tropical landscaping, all only two minutes from the beach. The second and final phase is underway.
Mustang Island Real Estate
The one area of the local market that has seen significant price erosion is in unimproved land and residential lots. In fact, many price points have returned to 2004 levels. A large inventory and slower sales have driven down prices. It appears that most vacation and second home buyers prefer to purchase new and existing homes and condos rather than build.
The real estate market on Mustang Island is ever changing. For updated information on these developments or to search the MLS network for all the current real estate listings visit Port Aransas MLS.
Thank you for visiting the Port Aransas real estate blog.
Keith McMullin – Broker/Realtor
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