By Christopher Green
A recent study shows Hays County is one of the top counties in Texas when it comes to investment in its local economies.
According to the study, conducted by SmartAsset, Hays County had a 13.8% increase in business growth, $724 million increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 44 new building permits per 1,000 homes in a 3-year period.
The study looked at four factors including business establishment growth, GDP growth, new building permits and federal funding. Overall, Hays County ranked third behind only Comal and Rockwall counties.
According to SmartAsset, business development included the change in the number of businesses established in each location over a 3-year period, which shows whether or not people are starting new business ventures in the county.
SmartAsset also looked at investment and development in the local residential real estate market. To measure this real estate growth, it calculated the number of new building permits per 1,000 homes.
The study also considered the amount of federal funding Hays County receives, which is $618 per capita.
Vice President of Financial Education AJ Smith said part of the reason the study was conducted was to show entrepreneurship on a local level.
“We release these studies to get people thinking and talking about their finances. In this case, there are a lot of people who think investment and their minds immediately go to Wall Street, or Silicon Valley, or some of these financial capitals,” Smith said. “What this study shows is how investment can happen on a local level, in communities throughout each state,” Smith said.
Smith also said the GDP in Hays County ranked among the highest in Texas. GDP is the total value of goods and services produced in an area within a year.
“Hays County ranked 26th in Texas in the GDP Growth category, which means they outranked most Texas counties in how much their local economic output grew over five years,” said Smith.
Jennifer Storm, who works with the Buda Economic Development Corporation (EDC), said Hays County’s ranking will help serve its residents.
“It’s great that our county has grown so highly, and it will really help our residents with property taxes and employment opportunities,” Storm said.
Storm also said that Hays County will likely continue to grow in the future.
“We are perfectly situated on the high growth corridor between Austin and San Antonio and we are definitely going to continue to grow and Buda is at the heart of that growth,” said Storm.
Kyle City Council member Daphne Tenorio said Hays became one of the top counties for incoming investments in the nation due to the education system in the area. Tenorio also cited the affordable living that the area delivers.
“We’re right in the middle of one of the biggest educational institutions. We’ve got the University of Texas, Texas State University, Austin Community College,” said Tenorio. “Most people who come to this area fall in love with this area. So you’ve got a lot of talent, high educated population and a low tax rate with affordable housing,” said Tenorio.
Tenorio also said that growth in the area is still growing.
“There’s quite a bit of growing already. I think the citizens of Kyle will be impressed with the things that are being planned,” said Tenorio.