Raleigh's ready to pay higher rent, drive longer if Amazon's HQ2 comes to Triangle, poll finds

Raleigh's residents are willing to make some life adjustments if Amazon picks the Triangle as the location for the company's second headquarters, commonly known as HQ2, but they draw the line if it means paying more taxes, an Elon University Poll shows.

It's likely rent prices in Raleigh will increase if Amazon picks it for HQ2 as the Triangle is not expected to build enough apartments for the influx of new workers to the region, according to a report by Apartment List, a website that helps renters find apartments.

If a location in Raleigh or Durham is picked, either city can expect workers with higher wages from other parts of the country to relocate to the region and compete for the existing housing.

But some Raleigh residents seem to be OK with that.

Forty-three percent of Raleigh residents surveyed in an Elon University Poll said they strongly supported Amazon building its second headquarters in the region, while 42 percent somewhat supported it.

Only 3 percent strongly opposed it, even though 69 percent of those polled anticipated an increase in housing costs.

Seventy-one percent of residents expected commercial rent prices to increase, the poll showed.

Despite the anticipation of higher costs HQ2 could bring, 88 percent of Raleigh residents polled at least somewhat agreed that, from the perspective of Amazon executives, Raleigh was the best choice compared with the 15 other U.S. regions.

Residents also seem to be willing to add more time to their commute to work, with 30 percent of respondents willing to increase their commute between 6 to 14 minutes and 27 percent of respondents willing to add more than 15 minutes to their commute.

Raleigh commuters already spend about 18 hours every year in traffic congestion, and Durham residents spend about 10 hours, according to the transportation analytics firm INRIX.

The majority of Raleigh respondents, 80 percent, were not willing to personally pay taxes to fund incentives for Amazon, but 48 percent agreed special incentives should be offered to Amazon "within reason."

Amazon is considering 20 metro areas for its second headquarters, including 18 U.S. cities in 15 states, Washington D.C. and Toronto.

The Elon University Poll was an opt-in online survey, in partnership with The American City Business Journals, in the 15 U.S. finalist states and Washington D.C. between March 30 and April 3. Toronto, which is among the finalists, was not included in the survey. The sample size for Raleigh was 376 respondents, with a 5.6 percent credibility interval.

Camila Molina: 919-829-4538, @Cmolina__