UTEP releases Borderplex Outlook Report

Economists see growth in housing, retail

Veronique Masterson

University of Texas at El Paso

The Department of Economics and Finance at The University of Texas at El Paso released its Borderplex Economic Outlook: 2011-2013 report as part of the UTEP Border Region Modeling Project. The report outlines trends and forecasts future performance in various sectors of the El Paso, Las Cruces, Ciudad Juárez, and Chihuahua City metropolitan economies. In El Paso, improvements are expected in terms of labor market conditions and the overall rate of business formation, said Tom Fullerton, Ph.D., professor of economics at UTEP and co-author of the report. 

“Ongoing expansion at Fort Bliss will continue to benefit economic performance in El Paso,” Fullerton said. “That includes the local housing market.”

Fullerton and Adam Walke, an economics research associate at UTEP,  compiled data for multiple segments of the regional economy including income levels, housing prices, commerce, demography, and migration. Model simulations are summarized in 18 different statistical tables that quantify regional economic performance from 2003 forward with forecasts through 2013. Despite recent financial uncertainty in the United States and countries in Europe, the report suggests possible gains in the housing and retail sectors, which should have positive impacts on the El Paso area economy.

“Following an up and down year in 2011, housing prices are projected to climb steadily in 2012 and 2013,” Fullerton said. “Although mortgage rates are very likely to increase above current record low levels, affordability is not expected to erode precipitously.”

As a result, Fullerton suggested that sales of existing units should perform well through the next two years and residential construction activity should remain economically healthy, especially when compared to many other parts of the country. From a regional perspective, better economic conditions also are expected to prevail in Las Cruces, Ciudad Juarez, and Chihuahua City. Export manufacturing is expected to lead the charge south of the border, while multiple sectors contribute to better overall performance in Las Cruces.

Borderplex Economic Outlook: 2011-2013 is available for sale from the Border Region Modeling Project of the UTEP Department of Economics and Finance at 915-747-7775 or via email at agwalke@miners.utep.edu.



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