The Triangle has moved up three positions to No. 4 on an authoritative national ranking released Thursday that identifies emerging trends in real estate investment.
The survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Urban Land Institute say the region is among a robust market of smaller and secondary cities with young, educated workforces and diverse economies that are reshaping investment opportunities. Joining the Triangle in that trend are Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale and Nashville. Seattle topped the list.
“It’s a major shift we’ve been observing,” Mitch Roschelle, a PwC partner and author of the report, said in an interview Wednesday. “Raleigh-Durham has been a beneficiary. If you go back 10 years and look at the average size city in the top 10, they were two or three times the size of the cities in the top 10 today.”
The report guides potential investors, but it also gives the rest of us another way of looking at the changing Triangle.
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Young, skilled workers are driving the economic growth in these secondary cities, the report says. The Triangle benefits from the universities in the region, an influx of new residents and growth in 15- to 34-year-olds that is more than six times the national average. The cost of doing business, which is below the U.S. average, and disposable income growth that is 40 percent above the average are also attractive, the report says.
The report included other trends:
▪ The “Gen Z effect”: Traditional stores will have to understand the “gadgeteria” attraction of this post-millennials demographic group, the oldest of whom are now turning 19. The report contends Gen Z rejects the millennial’s embrace of open, collaborative work spaces in favor of more personal and private offices.
▪ Housing shortage: There’s been an increasing housing squeeze that’s only going to get worse with more than 150 million millennials and Gen Z youth, exacerbated by baby boomers who are staying in their homes longer. But that’s an opportunity for developers to build smaller, more energy-efficient houses, townhouses and condominiums that are affordable starter homes.
▪ Apartments: With demand for affordable rents from the younger generations comes a strong market in multi-family housing.
▪ Senior squeeze: There isn’t enough housing for seniors, a segment expected to grow across the country by 25 million in the next 15 years.
This is the 39th year the emerging trends report has been issued. It incorporates the views of 1,600 real estate experts.