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Experts Think Amazon Will Choose Atlanta or Northern Virginia as its Second Headquarters

Atlanta home values and rents are well below the national average, making it an attractive option for Amazon's second headquarters

- A group of housing experts and economists said they expect Amazon to choose either Atlanta or Northern Virginia for its second headquarters.

- Los Angeles, Newark and New York are least likely to be chosen as Amazon's second headquarters, according to experts.

- Experts cited land availability, housing costs and access to Washington D.C. policymakers as a few reasons why they think Atlanta and Northern Virginia are attractive options for Amazon.

- Since Amazon's move to the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, home values in the Seattle metro have almost doubled and rents have increased by half.

Mar 1, 2018

SEATTLE, March 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Experts expect Amazon to choose either Northern Virginia or Atlanta for its new headquarters, according to the 2018 Zillow® Home Price Expectations Surveyi. Austin and Denver were also commonly cited by experts as strong contenders.  

After receiving 238 bids, Amazon announced in January that it narrowed its search for a second headquarters ("HQ2") to 20 cities. In and around the city that Amazon chooses, HQ2 is widely expected to have a profound impact on housing and the local economy.

Since Amazon announced last October that it would build a second headquarters somewhere in North America, it's become a popular game to guess which city they will choose based on its criteria. Zillow asked over 100 housing and economics experts to take a guess through their unique lens. Amazon is expected to announce its choice sometime in 2018.

Among the 20 cities on Amazon's list, Atlanta has the fourth lowest home values and rents, making it an attractive option for Amazon, which is expected to hire as many as 50,000ii people to come work at the new headquarters. Northern Virginia, part of the Washington D.C. metro, is among the more expensive housing markets on the top 20 list, but would put Amazon at the doorstep of the nation's top policymakers.

As Amazon has grown from a startup bookstore to one of the country's most prominent retailers, Seattle home values, where Amazon is based, have almost doubled and rents have increased by half. However, Seattle's growing pains can't all be blamed on Amazon -- the jobs boom in and around Amazon's current headquarters explains less than one-fifth of the region's rising rent. The company's growth has created a business environment that has attracted many other employers to the Seattle region.

"As the experience of Seattle suggests, Amazon will not only directly bring thousands of high-paying jobs to the chosen city, but also has the potential to transform the regional economy," said Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas. "The local jobs boom that Amazon's HQ2 promises will spur demand for the full spectrum of housing types – ranging from urban apartments to suburban single-family homes. Atlanta has the benefit of being one of the most affordable markets in the country, and is undergoing an urban renaissance with new public infrastructure providing attractive opportunities for employers seeking to lure young urbanites. Northern Virginia has its benefits as well, as it's close to a highly educated workforce and a well-developed public transit infrastructure in the D.C. area."

In addition to affordability, experts cited land availability, talent and business friendly tax codes as a few reasons why they believe Amazon will choose Atlanta as its second headquarters. A growing tech workforce and easy access to Washington D.C. policymakers were noted by respondents as reasons why Northern Virginia may be Amazon's chosen second home.

Many cities that bid to become Amazon's second headquarters offered tax breaks and other benefits to the company, which will likely be considered alongside reasons cited by experts.

The quarterly survey, sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC, asked more than 100 housing economists and professors about their overall expectations for the U.S. housing market, as well as what city they think is most likely and least likely to be chosen as Amazon's second headquartersiii.

"The potential economic benefits of hosting Amazon HQ2 are tantalizing, and will tempt the 20 municipalities still in the hunt to dangle significant tax incentives to get a deal done," said Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics. "These cities should be prepared not only to justify their financial inducements, but to carefully weigh the social risks and costs that could accompany their HQ2 commitment. The mix and degree of these potential risks, such as diminished affordable housing stock, more congested roadways, and greater income inequality, vary considerably across the 20 markets."

Among the 85 experts who responded, 12 said Amazon is most likely to choose Atlanta, 12 selected Northern Virginia, 11 selected Austin, nine selected Raleigh, North Carolina and six selected Denver.

Los Angeles, Newark, New York and Miami were the cities respondents said were the least likely to be chosen by Amazon. Reasons include high housing costs, traffic and an unfavorable tax environment. Los Angeles is one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, with a median home value of $636,500 and a median rent payment of $2,738, almost twice as expensive as the national median. Residents in the Los Angeles metro can expect to put 41 percent of their monthly income toward a mortgage payment and almost half toward rent.

Expert
Ranking on
HQ2
Likelihood
iv

Finalist City

 Metro Zillow Home
Value Indexv (ZHVI)

ZHVI Year-
Over-Year
Change

Metro Zillow
Rent Indexvi
(ZRI)

ZRI Year-
Over-Year
Change

Median Metro
Household Income

0

United States

$               207,600

6.7%

$           1,441

2.6%

$                         58,960

1

Atlanta

$               187,600

7.7%

$           1,391

4.4%

$                         63,330

1

Northern Virginia

$               387,200

1.7%

$           2,141

1.2%

$                         98,059

2

Austin

$               281,500

6.8%

$           1,686

-0.5%

$                         69,977

3

Denver

$               384,300

7.4%

$           2,042

2.3%

$                         75,396

3

Montgomery County, MD

$               387,200

1.7%

$           2,141

1.2%

$                         98,059

3

Raleigh

$               235,000

6.2%

$           1,433

2.5%

$                         68,974

4

Dallas

$               220,900

9.2%

$           1,604

2.7%

$                         63,249

5

Nashville

$               233,100

12.0%

$           1,494

2.0%

$                         61,383

5

Pittsburgh

$               138,200

3.8%

$           1,054

-1.5%

$                         57,373

6

Chicago

$               214,700

4.1%

$           1,651

1.5%

$                         66,562

6

Philadelphia

$               224,700

4.9%

$           1,579

0.6%

$                         68,376

7

Boston

$               441,800

6.8%

$           2,370

1.4%

$                         83,945

7

Washington D.C.

$               387,200

1.7%

$           2,141

1.2%

$                         98,059

8

Torontovii

$               743,200

5.2%

$           1,317

1.5%

 $                       78,280viii

9

Columbus

$               174,100

7.9%

$           1,317

1.9%

$                         61,153

10

Indianapolis

$               143,200

5.2%

$           1,209

2.1%

$                         56,931

11

Miami

$               264,200

7.0%

$           1,858

0.1%

$                         54,141

11

New York

$               431,100

6.7%

$           2,403

0.6%

$                         72,866

11

Newark

$               431,100

6.7%

$           2,403

0.6%

$                         72,866

12

Los Angeles

$               636,500

6.8%

$           2,738

3.9%

$                         67,285

Zillow

Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow's Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow and Zestimates are a registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

Pulsenomics

Pulsenomics LLC (www.pulsenomics.com) is an independent research and consulting firm that specializes in data analytics, new product and index development for institutional clients in the financial and real estate arenas. Pulsenomics also designs and manages expert surveys and consumer polls to identify trends and expectations that are relevant to effective business management and monitoring economic health. Pulsenomics LLC is the author of The Home Price Expectations Survey™, The U.S. Housing Confidence Survey, and The U.S. Housing Confidence Index. Pulsenomics®, The Housing Confidence Index™, and The Housing Confidence Survey™ are trademarks of Pulsenomics LLC.

i This edition of the Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey surveyed 105 experts between January 29, 2018 and February 12, 2018. The survey was conducted by Pulsenomics LLC on behalf of Zillow, Inc. and asked the experts about their expectations for the housing market.
ii https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17044620011
iii Of the 100 experts surveyed, 85 responded to the most likely selection for Amazon HQ2, and 84 responded to the least likely selection.
iv Ranked by net score – most likely votes minus least likely votes. Same ranking indicates a tie.
v The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) is the median estimated home value for a given geographic area on a given day and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums and cooperatives, regardless of whether they sold within a given period. It is expressed in dollars, and seasonally adjusted.
vi The Zillow Rent Index (ZRI) is the median Rent Zestimate® (estimated monthly rental price) for a given geographic area on a given day, and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums, cooperatives and apartments in Zillow's database, regardless of whether they are currently listed for rent. It is expressed in dollars.
vii Toronto housing data is from the CREA Price Index. Home price data is the average sale price from January 2018 expressed in Canadian dollars. Zillow estimated the average rent based on data from CMHC October 2017 data and Statistics Canada Consumer Price Index for Rented Shelter in the Greater Toronto metropolitan area, expressed in Canadian dollars. For questions regarding this methodology, please email press@zillow.com.
viii Source: Statistics Canada 2015 data, expressed in Canadian dollars.

 

SOURCE Zillow

For further information: Jordyn Lee, Zillow, press@zillow.com


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