If it were up to housing experts to pick Amazon’s second headquarters location, Denver wouldn’t be it.
But the Mile High City would come very close. Fourth-place close, albeit in a three-way tie, according to a new report by real estate site Zillow and researcher Pulsenomics that explored housing in the 20 places Amazon picked as HQ2 finalists.
Researchers asked 105 housing economists and professors which city or region was most likely and least likely to be Amazon’s HQ2.
Six picked Denver as most likely. And no one felt Denver, which has a Zillow median home value of $384,300, was the least likely city. Denver has the ninth highest median home value of the 20 finalists. Zillow added that economists also liked Denver because it’s “relatively affordable,” and “it’s a boom town and (a) younger generation loves it” and “Pot is legal.”
Nine experts picked Raleigh, N.C., as their favorite, but three others gave Raleigh the thumbs down, bringing the city to the same number of “most likely” votes as Denver. Also in the fourth place was Montgomery County, Maryland, which won seven yay’s but one nay.
Atlanta and Northern Virginia tied for the most likely to win HQ2, receiving 12 and 11 votes, respectively. But both also nabbed some “least likely” votes. And Austin, Texas, landed at a solid third, with 11 voting most likely but two saying least likely.
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“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,” said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas in a statement, and pointing to Atlanta’s affordability and northern Virginia’s proximity to an educated workforce and public transit.
Not everyone voted, so some of the 105 experts skipped the Amazon question. But those who did voted Los Angeles as the likely city. Zillow cites high home prices — the second most expensive in the group behind Toronto, with a median home value of $636,500 and a median rent payment of $2,738. Twelve experts said the city was the least likely to get HQ2 and no one voted it as a “most likely.”
Nobody thinks New York City or Philadelphia will get it either.
Top reasons experts felt Amazon wouldn’t pick a city? “High housing costs, traffic and an unfavorable tax environment,” says Zillow.