The most common question we get right now is, “Has the drop in oil prices slowed down business?” The typical response is, “Shockingly no.” Starting last fall when oil prices really collapsed we anticipated we’d see some slowdown, but weren’t sure exactly how long or deep of an impact it would have. Over six months later, it’s safe to say that sales have been better than we expected. Are there prospective buyers that are maybe sitting back waiting for the oil business to recover? Probably, but those are the ones we don’t always know about. We have seen continued brisk sales; however, January and February are typically two of the slowest months of the year in the real estate market in Cordillera Ranch so it’s harder to sense the oil impact just yet.
Some buoying factors in the market have been: 1) the fact that the San Antonio market is still reasonably diversified with other industries such as biotech, health care, military and even technology companies; 2) that Cordillera Ranch is drawing from a national market — not just reliant on San Antonio and South Texas; and 3) we’ve had several new releases of premier properties over the past 18 months attracting new activity.
In late 2014, we completed the first phase of Bear’s Ridge premium view lots and followed that up with a new release of Golf Frontage Estate lots on holes 9 and 10. These heavily oak covered 1+ acre lots offer panorama views of the course and the clubhouse. Due to high demand for those lots we expedited development of the next phase of Golf Frontage Estate lots on hole 11 which were just released in April 2015, and we already have a few of those presold. The spectacular setting along the lakes of hole 11 overlooking four different golf holes makes these the most unique golf lots we’ve ever offered, and with only four lots left in this release we don’t expect them to last much longer.
The Springs of Cordillera Ranch across FM 3351 is progressing along. The builder group for one of the Springs sections was secured late last year and the custom estate lots are scheduled to be available for sale by early Summer. Construction will be under way this summer and the plans still call for 65 lots in the first phase with approximately one-third being creek front or view lots along with a mix of two to three acre estates and 0.7 to one acre lots. Homes in the Springs are targeted at $600k-$1.5MM+.
Looking further out into the planning for Cordillera Ranch, we are working on the design of some future small lodging units near the club as well as some small office development near the Highway 46 entry. Both of those projects are in the early planning stage and are targeted for development in 2016. For now, we look forward to continuing development of some of these ongoing phases and hope to see a rebound in oil prices later this year so we don’t have to keep speculating on the impact of oil prices — and answering that same question over and over!