NEW BRAUNFELS — Here’s a look at the buildnb.org’s “2012 Benchmark Study” of economic indicators:
• Population estimates: The city’s population has increased 48 percent since 2003, averaging 5 percent per year. The report estimates 2012 population at 62,094.
“New Braunfels’ population is growing three times the rate of the state,” said Mike Meek, president of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce.
• Per capital commercial investment: The 10-year per capita commercial investment average is $1,786. In 2012, the figure was $3,249.
“This custom benchmark was created 10 years ago to indicate how the local economy was attracting commercial investment,” Meek said. “The 2012 rate of $3,250 per capita is 82% above the 10-year average. Each year since 2007 has exceeded the previous year.”
• Real property valuation: Residential property values grew 2.62 percent in 2012.
“New Braunfels property valuations increased at double digit rates each year between 2003-2008,” Meek said. “Since 2008, the increase has been a total of 10.3 percent, mirroring the state economy, which fared much better in property values since the recession. Every year has seen an increase from the year before.”
• Median household income: This indicator, near $60,000, is up 69 percent since 2003. “This is higher than the state and metro-area average,” Meek said.
• Unemployment rate comparison: New Braunfels since 2005 has had a lower unemployment rate than the nation, state, region and metro area, the study shows.
“More importantly, the labor force employed has increased each month versus the previous month the year before since records have been kept,”
Meek said. “Employment is up 34.1 percent since 2003 or positive 7,467 jobs.“
• City Property Tax Statistics: Taxable value is $4.1 billion, up $2 billion since 2003, an increase of 96.4 percent. “Since the recession of 2008 until now, the increase has been 13.4 percent,” Meek said. “The tax rate levied by the city is one of the lowest in the state for cities this size.”
• Number of new business meters: This indicator, measured by the city-owned utility for electricity, water and wastewater, shows an average 111 new business meters per year since 2003. “That’s 1,110 new businesses in the last decade,” Meek said. There were 86 in 2012.
• Sales tax revenue receipts: This indicator is up $9.67 million since 2003, or 111 percent. The figure topped $18.3 million in 2012. “Sales tax revenue is the largest revenue source for city government services locally,” Meek said.
• Commercial industrial tax value: $1.2 billion in 2012. “Commercial Industrial taxable value has increased 79 percent over the last decade,” Meek said. “That is an average of 8.8 percent per year. Since the 2008 recession, these values have increased 10.9 percent.”
• Building permit values: Residential building permits peaked in 2006, an indicator of the coming weak housing market nationally in 2008. However, in 2006, commercial building locally grew tremendously, from a little over $40 million in permits to over $100 million the next two years. “Commercial permit values have exceeded residential permit values since 2008,” Meek said.
• Available office space: “Another custom benchmark, office space inventory has grown 63 percent since 2004, with average occupancy up from 77 percent to 95 percent in 2011,” Meek told the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. “The office vacancy rate in 2012 is a low 8.6 percent.”
• New primary jobs: An average of 318 per year since 2003, totaling over 2,860 net new primary jobs. Announced new primary jobs have averaged 781 per year since 2003, including 1,139 in 2012.
“A custom benchmark locally since 2003 with nearly 50 primary employers,” explained Meek. “Primary employers are those creating a good or service here with a majority of that good or service sold outside the trade area.”