Podcast - CoreLogic Economists Consider Amazon HQ2 Final Cities

Which City Offers the Best Potential Housing Opportunities

By Molly Boesel Other

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Audio Text

Frank Nothaft
Washington D.C.

I think Amazon should choose the Washington, DC area for their second headquarters.  Amazon already has staff here and part of Amazon Web Services is in northern Virginia.  Further, Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post and comes to DC regularly for meetings.  The DC area has the largest share of jobs in the tech industry of all the finalists, and has two international airports serving as a springboard for travel to Europe and elsewhere.  The proximity to embassies may facilitate discussion with foreign nations over business opportunities and consumer privacy needs.  I also think it’s beneficial to have the new headquarters on the east coast because the employees can get to work three hours earlier than in Seattle! 

Molly Bosel
Chicago

I put Chicago high on the list for HQ2. In addition to the area’s extensive regional transportation network and highly-educated talent pool, the Chicago housing market would be a positive for employees moving to the area. The median home price in the metro area is moderate and home price and rent increases have been low. There is also moderate amount of supply of homes available for sale. There is about 5 months of supply available for sale in the Chicago metro area, compared with 3.8 months for the nation.

Arthur Jobe
Dallas

The Dallas Metro area is in an interesting position of having both affordable housing and a strong, technical labor force currently in place.  The 2017 median sale price for the Dallas area was roughly $275,000, considerably less than some other competing areas with a substantial talent pool.

Dallas is differentiated further by the absence of a state income tax, making the area more desirable for employees.  With these factors in mind, in addition to its centralized location, it comes as no surprise that Dallas continues to remain in the running. 

Archana Pradhan 
Pittsburgh

I rank Pittsburgh high on the list for HQ2. Pittsburgh has a lot to offer including its multiple building sites as well as financial package of incentives and tax breaks, tech talent pool, established international airport, proximity to DC, and most importantly affordable housing for employees moving in. Pittsburgh has a very affordable housing stock and home price increases have been low. Median home price in Pittsburgh is lower than the national level, just $143,000 compared to $220,000 for the nation.

Andrew LePage
Los Angeles

Amazon’s lone West Coast pick, Los Angeles, has a fighting chance despite its high cost of living. That’s because L.A. meets some key HQ2 requirements. L.A. County has a labor force of more than five million. The area boasts top-notch universities, an international airport, a growing public transportation network and many cultural and recreational attractions. High-tech employment in the larger L.A. - Orange County metro area ranks third among Amazon’s 20 finalists. One of the L.A. bid’s main challenges will be relatively high for-sale and rental housing costs, which are among the priciest for the 20 markets. In L.A County, the median home sale price hit a record $609,000 in May and, according to CoreLogic’s Home Price Index, prices rose nearly 9 percent year over year this spring, compared with about 7 percent nationally. 

Shu Chen
Atlanta

In my opinion Atlanta should be seriously considered for Amazon’s second headquarters location. With lower home prices and rent prices compared to the national average, Atlanta offers relatively affordable homes and more choices when it comes to housing. In addition, nearby Georgia Institute for Technology can provide Amazon with talented graduates every year. Besides, robust transportation facilities like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, a potential $1 Billion-dollar tax incentive make Atlanta very attractive to Amazon.

The views expressed in this Amazon HQ2 Podcast are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of CoreLogic or its management. Check back often to the CoreLogic Insights page for more information about the United States and international real estate economy.

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