Rohnert Park’s economic outlook is improving, with income, home sales and taxable sales all showing steady gains, according to a recently released report by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.
The number of houses sold in both Cotati and Rohnert Park is rebounding after a precipitous fall in 2007, with sales up by 111—a nearly 19 percent gain over the past year.
Median household income has grown by 18 percent over the past decade to $64,000. The growth is expected to continue with median income rising to $75,675 by 2016.
"What we’re seeing nationwide as well as here is a slow recovery," said Ben Stone, executive director for the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. "However, Sonoma County is the number one job creator in the state and the new casino will create 2,500 jobs, which will be a big boost for Rohnert Park."
Another good trend is that the number of households earning less than $35,000 is shrinking, a sign that people previously unemployed or underemployed are going back to full-time work, according to Stone.
However, Rohnert Park’s residential housing vacancy rate (that is, the number of homes that are unoccupied) is expected to continue to rise by 2.3 percent over the next three years.
In terms of taxable sales, things are looking better, although at 3.7 percent over the past year, the gains are small. That’s slightly higher than taxable sales throughout the county (3.4 percent in 2012), but still lower than the 4.4 percent statewide.
Another interesting tidbit from the report: Nearly 44 percent of Rohnert Park’s employed population is in the services sector, with the second largest sector being retail trade.
That’s similar to the county average, although there is more manufacturing in Rohnert Park than in other cities.