Although they’re native Texans, Gary and Lynne Tate spent eight cold years in Alaska before finally coming back to the state. Before they left, they had a ceremony to destroy their snow shovel.
Then they moved to South Padre Island.
Nowadays, the two Realtors with Keller Williams Lynne Tate South Padre Island spend their time helping people find their new home, home-away-from-home, or investment property on the island.
“It happens every year, somebody will come down and catch more fish here than they ever have and want to get a place here,” Tate said.
“We see a lot of interest in buying around the summer,” fellow Realtor Gayle Hood agreed.
And Hood said you can find almost anything you want — inventory is wide open and very affordable.
For instance, when we asked what $500,000 could get you in the Padre area, she chuckled and said, “Probably anything you want! There’s a huge variety.”
“The majority of our inventory is under $500,000,” Hood said. “In general, the average sale is around $260,000.”
In fact, $260,000 could probably get you a pretty nice two bedroom, two bath condo — perfect for a vacation spot for a family, she added.
Tate says the market can be interesting, too. Take inventory, for instance, and how long homes stay on the market.
“I can tell you two stories that kind of illustrate how different things can be,” he said, laughing. “I had a fella come in who was a petroleum engineer looking for a place here. He asked what the numbers were next to one listing, and I told him that was how long the place had been on the market.”
“He says, ‘Oh wow, this home was on the market when I was in high school.’ And sure enough, it was — it had been on the market for 1,500 days.”
The engineer ended up buying the home because he saw the potential for a good deal, Tate added.
“But then I can tell you that my wife and I went to look at a listing the first day it was on the market,” he continued, “and I turned to her and said, ‘I really like this place,’ and she said, ‘I do too, let’s buy it.’”
“So I guess I would say listings stay on the market anywhere between one and 1,500 days,” Tate laughed. “But typical time on the market is between four and six months.”
So who is buying homes in Padre?
“There are a lot of residents, a lot of people that buy second homes, some that buy for investment,” Hood said. “Padre is growing. There is industry growth in Brownsville, and that spills over to Padre, where it’s prettier to live.”
Hood is part of the Padre Elite Team with RE/MAX Elite, which has been featured on two HGTV shows — Beachfront Bargain Hunt and Island Life. She has also been president of the South Padre Island Board of Realtors as well.
“We think we’re special,” she said.
Hood said the variety of property means you can find something for everyone. “There’s a lot of variety,” she said. “Beachside, bayside — you can satisfy the folks that want to fish, and the ones who want to play on the beach.”
“There are three main ways to fish,” Tate explained. “There is bait fishing and offshore fishing. Then there is a huge number of people that fish on the beach.”
There are huge swaths of beach at the northern end of the island, he explained, where fishing enthusiasts can fish beachside, and avoid swimmers.
“Really, there’s bay fishing, beach fishing, and offshore fishing,” he said. “And there’s tons of beach.”
“There’s lots of activity even in the off-season,” Hood added. “Sandcastle Days, shrimp cook-offs — there’s all kinds of things happening, because we’re trying to attract people from the (Rio Grande) Valley and everywhere.”
“We do have a good winter Texan crowd,” she said. “But the busiest time is definitely summer.”
And as both Hood and Tate mentioned, there is easily a home for every budget. For instance, if you’re just looking for a small space, this 890-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath condo is a steal at $159,000. It may not be right on the ocean or the bay, but you’re a quick two-minute drive, five-minute golf cart ride, or 10-minute (max) bike ride to public beaches.
Want something a bit fancier? For $379,000, you can get this two-bedroom, two-bath condo with a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico. With 1,226 square feet of space, it’s got a bit more wiggle room, and you know, those drool-worthy views.
Have a bigger family or want to host friends, too? For $450,000, you can get this four-bedroom, three-bath, 2,062-square-foot, single-family home. It’s adorable, has a pool, and is close to the beach.
For $500,000, this amazing three-bedroom, two-bath condo is 1,474 square feet of beautiful finishes and views. The Sapphire Condominium building features a spa, pool overlooking the Gulf, and a large fitness center, too.
And we’d be woefully remiss if we didn’t show you this one-bedroom, one-bath condo on the bay side of the island, which features gorgeous views and a place to park your boat. At $125,000, it’s a bargain.
Both Realtors agree that a second home (or even a primary home) in the South Padre would not be a regret.
“We moved here because it was the best place on earth to live,” Tate said of his move 25 years ago. “We get more bang for our buck. Everybody is really friendly. We go to a good church, and there are plenty of things to do here.”
“For the money, this is the place to be.”
But what if you want to rent your South Padre vacation home out when you’re not using it? Wednesday, we look at what you need to know before you buy, and get advice from a vacation rental investor.