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Data on demographics, households, employment and workforce was gathered and analyzed for Comal County, Guadalupe County and New Braunfels along with real estate data for New Braunfels and several surrounding cities. The data and analysis in this report provide insight into housing cost burden related to wage levels of workers in New Braunfels. New Braunfels is in a unique position having experienced robust population and job growth over the past several years. With this rapid population and job growth the local housing market has seen a rapid increase in value which has created a precarious housing challenge for hourly wage earners employed in the city to attain housing affordable to their incomes. The city faces several opportunities that require their strong leadership role in directing future development of more affordable rental and for-sale housing units for local workers.

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For-Sale Housing Market Findings

  • The 2017 median household income in Comal County was estimated to be approximately $71,000 and $58,814 in New Braunfels.
  • The single-family home price affordable to the 2017 median income in New Braunfels of $58,000 is $220,000.
  • Comal County and New Braunfels has experienced a significant decrease in single-family home sales in the $199,999 and less price range from 50% of all homes sold in the county in 2011 to only 21% of all homes sold in 2017.
  • MLS data for 78130 (the primary zip code for New Braunfels) shows that the volume of homes sold each year has increased from about 600 in 2012 to 1,200 in 2017.
  • In 2017-2018 only 20% (448) of all homes sold in 78130 were in the $199,999 and below price range.
  • In New Braunfels 22% (4,234) of all home owner-occupied units are housing cost burdened (pay 30% or more income to housing costs).
  • Common annual salaries of cost burdened owner-occupied households in New Braunfels range from $41,780 to $60,000. The related affordable home price range needed for salaries in those incomes range from $150,000 to $225,000.
  • The starting price of new entry level single-family homes being built in New Braunfels today begin at $225,000 which excludes all incomes less than $60,000.
  • VA loan programs offer 0% down options and no mortgage insurance and veteran buyers play a significant role in single-family home purchases in New Braunfels. Real estate agents interviewed stated that veterans and retirees coming in from outside of New Braunfels make up a significant and growing portion of home buyers in the market.

For-Sale Housing Recommendations

  • Based on 2017 Census data the following figures detail the number of cost burdened households by income range and the home price range they can afford (Table 91, Page 89).
  • New Braunfels has a demand of nearly 5,000 rental units in the price ranges and incomes shown above.
  • The need for rental housing reasonably affordable to households earning less than $35,000 was 3,422 as of 2017 and is likely considerably higher now.
  • There is a significant lack of Class B, C and subsidized/income restricted multi-family properties.
  • Universal City ($823), Seguin ($870) and Schertz ($934) all have more affordable average rents for market rate multi-family units than New Braunfels ($1,048). The average rent for market rate in those cities is affordable to hourly wage workers making around $15-$18 an hour. A worker must make at least $20 an hour to afford the average market rate rent in New Braunfels, therefore there is a large demand for an increased supply of rental units at these prices.
  • Manufactured home sites could be focused on for potential future redevelopment sites of new subsidized and income restricted multi-family rental properties since New Braunfels currently has only three, with one (Landa Place) age restricted for 55+.

General Recommendations

  • Public transportation service is critical for any place and New Braunfels can assist in housing cost burden of local workers and residents by creating and implementing their own or partnering with local and regional employers and/or neighboring cities and counties to provide bus or van pool transportation services.
  • Many factors influence the increased cost of housing such as city development impact fees, utility fees, trade tariffs on construction materials, national immigration policy affecting workforce in construction trades, land prices, interest rates.
  • The factors listed above impact entry level and first-time home buyers the hardest. For example, just a ¼ increase in interest rates by itself could eliminate thousands of lower income entry level and/or first-time home buyers. When considering all of these factors it is important to understand that the lowest income buyers will be impacted first and foremost by external cost pressures.
  • Due to the various external cost factors listed above it is basically impossible for developers and builders to create new multi-family Class B properties. This is one important reason why all new multi-family development in New Braunfels over the past several years has been exclusively Class A. Therefore, existing Class B and C multi-family properties must be preserved since new market rate multi-family cannot be built new and still achieve affordable rents.
  • Ensure through city zoning and other required legal entitlements related to housing construction that new types of housing products (small lot, duplex, townhome, etc.) are allowed by regulations. Several local real estate professionals mentioned that the builder’s responsibility

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