SAN ANTONIO-San Antonio is on private investors’ radar screens these days as they drain money from the stock market and funnel it to real estate. The same is true for third and fourth tier towns in the central and southern parts of the state.

The under-$1-million property is the hottest item in town, Ernest L. Brown IV, vice president of investment sales for Grubb & Ellis Co.’s San Antonio office, tells “There are more people looking than there is product,” he says of those with $200,000 to $300,000 to invest to get the deeds to properties costing between $800,000 and $1.2 million. “There’s a preponderance of buyers who have $200,000 to invest,” he reports, noting there’s no one particular favorite product type.

Brown says “out of the blue” calls now number about three per week–just on his telephone line. Some are 1031 Exchange lookers, but more are holders of redeployed capital from the stock market. “I’d say 65% to 75% of the calls are not 1031 Exchange money,” he assesses of the latest buyer’s profile.

San Antonio is on buyers’ screens because it is, and most often has been, a stable market with historical growths of 1.5% to 2% annually. The same can be said for surrounding small towns.

All too often, the under-$1-million listings are deceiving. Buyers, looking to recover stock market losses as best they can, are carefully scrutinizing the lease rollovers before putting down their cash to make the close. Once the story airs behind a listing, the supply is pretty limited, Brown says. That kind of security hunt is what is keeping the under-$1-million crowd from the Austin city limits.

“We get a bit more attention from people who are risk-diverse,” he says. Still, the sellers don’t have all the say-so. Stock-market wary buyers have expectations for returns that are keeping prices in check, he explains.

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