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Austin, Texas wins ‘Top City’ in the Emerging Trends in Real Estate outlook

Austin was followed on the list by Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and Portland, Ore.

November 08, 2016 |

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Niche neighborhoods and economic diversity are driving forces behind the strong showing of this year’s top ten U.S. cities, according to Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2017, recently released by PwC US and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Austin, Texas wins “Top City,” thanks to its authentic, niche neighborhoods and depth of economic diversity, from manufacturing to education, health care and technology. Construction labor shortages and the rapid spread of digitization throughout the industry are also playing key roles in fueling 2017 real estate trends, along with “Optionality,” the multi-purposing of in-demand spaces.

The outlook includes interviews and survey responses from more than 1,800 leading real estate experts, including investors, fund managers, developers, property companies, lenders, brokers, advisers and consultants.


Top trends for 2017:

  • Niche Neighborhoods & Economic Diversity: Market characteristics such as authentic, niche neighborhoods with strong economic diversity are driving growth outside of gateway markets. The attractiveness to both workers and employers alike is supporting real estate growth.
  • Labor Shortages: Construction labor shortages are driving up construction costs and stretching out project timelines, directly impacting availability of affordable real estate across all residential sectors.
  • “Optionality” – A new driving force landlords can use to protect revenue potential by allowing multiple uses of the same space at different times, and permitting tenants to use only the space they need when they need it.  For example, an office by day and a party/event venue by night.
  • Digitization & Transparency: The digitization of real estate is revolutionizing the industry by improving accuracy, transaction speed and transparency, which in turn is fueling an “auto-correcting” real estate cycle.  Rising property prices slowing transaction volumes while new supply remains under control is holding off the traditional “boom/bust” of previous cycles.


Top cities for 2017:

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  3. Portland, OR
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. Nashville, TN
  7. Raleigh/Durham, NC
  8. Orange County, CA
  9. Charlotte, NC
  10. San Francisco, CA

Atlanta and Denver both dropped out of the top 10 market ranking for 2017 but are both still in the top 20.


2017’s top 5 markets to watch and why:

  1. Columbus – A major university town, Columbus is seeing a surge in entrepreneurial activity.
  2. Richmond – The “hip factor” of downtown Richmond is on the rise.
  3. Pittsburgh – Emerging tech and other startups are flocking to Pittsburgh because of the access to talent from nearby universities and a 4% lower-than-the-national-average cost of doing business.
  4. Charleston – The Charleston economy is hitting on all cylinders with strong demographic growth and expanding technology, manufacturing and transportation industries.
  5. Salt Lake City – Salt Lake City is benefitting from a unique synergy between financial services and technology firm
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