San Mateo County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state and steadily rising home prices, with property tax revenues going up in tandem, the just-released annual county financial report says.
In June, the report from county controller Juan Raigoza said, the county's unemployment rate was 3.3 percent, down from 4.2 percent a year earlier. The county's unemployment rate was much lower than the state rate of 6.2 percent as well as the national rate of 5.3 percent, and was the lowest of any county in California in June, the report says.
Housing prices are steadily increasing in San Mateo County, with the median single-family home price going up 12.8 percent to $1.3 million from June 2014 to June 2015, the report says.
Commercial real estate rental prices were also up, with the average rent going up by 14.9 percent from June 2014 to June 2015 -- to $4.40 per square foot.
That translated to a $10.5 million increase in property tax revenues for the fiscal year, the report says. The county also had a $7.4 million increase in sales and use taxes, including $5 million in sales taxes due to Measure A, a 10-year, additional half-cent sales tax approved by the voters in 2012 that is to fund county facilities and services.
The report also says that the latest figures on income in the county, which are from 2013, show that while the per capita personal income was on the rise, increasing by 7.1 percent to $79,893 over the rate a year earlier, the county's estimated median family income decreased to $88,202, a 9.7 percent decrease from the previous year. The report says the median family income has been decreasing since 2010.
This means the affordability index, a metric put together by the National Association of Realtors, for San Mateo County shows the median county income is only 13 percent of the income needed to buy the median-priced county home. The Bay Area's affordability index is 20 percent. The state's is 30 percent and the nation's is 57 percent, the report says.
The report also shows that the public school population of the county has grown to 95,187 in 2015, up 3.3 percent from 2014.
It also says that implementation of the Affordable Care Act in San Mateo County "has been a great success." By the end of the 2015 enrollment period, the report says, approximately 91 percent of county residents were insured, with 31,000 additional residents enrolled in Medi-Cal and 32,000 in subsidized private health insurance.
The report says that the outlook for the coming year is also good, with the overall assessed value of property in the county expected to grow by 7.7 percent in the 2015-16 fiscal year. That would generate $21.6 million in additional general fund revenue for the county, the report says.
"In the near term, the forecasted low unemployment rate, steady growth in gross domestic product, and local indicators such as growth in the technology business sector and continued growth in property tax revenues will allow the county to maintain its sound finances if prudently managed," the report says.
The county's approved budget for 2015-16 is $2.5 billion.