Cities to watch: North America

Commercial real estate investors are finding opportunities in a number of US cities both large and small.

Boise, ID

Population: 236,600
(+0.4 percent since 2020)

The city tops many best places to live lists and is rapidly expanding, driven by professionals no longer tethered to a big city and younger families looking for a more affordable outdoor lifestyle. Boise has seen an explosion of multifamily sales while the city’s industrial vacancy hit a historic low of just 1 percent, according to Boise-based commercial real estate brokerage TOK Commercial.

Phoenix, AZ

Population: 1,644,400
(+2.3% since 2020)

Arizona’s stable climate and business-friendly atmosphere have contributed to the growth of new businesses and families, especially in Phoenix. But the city’s real claim to fame this cycle may be its active development pipeline. Research firm StorageCafe ranks Phoenix among the top 10 cities for new construction over the past decade.

Dallas, TX

Population: 1,299,500
(-0.4% since 2020)

Dallas is a favorite among several global brokerage firms. Knight Frank listed it as one of the top three cities for domestic investment and among the top five for cross-border investment, while JLL named the city within the top five in its global real estate health monitor this year. And CBRE identified Dallas as the number one most preferred market among real estate investors in its 2023 survey.

Austin, TX

Population: 975,000
(+1.3% since 2020)

Texas is a prime relocation destination for businesses and individuals. Tech firms Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Oracle, IBM and Dell all have a presence in the state’s capital, known as Silicon Hills. Austin’s economy continues to expand and its current unemployment rate of 3.8 percent is below the long-term average of nearly 4.3 percent.

Atlanta, GA

Population: 499,100
(+0.1% since 2020)

According to a 2022 commercial real estate market report published by PwC and the Urban Land Institute, Atlanta came in third place in the Cities to Watch category. Atlanta boasts a comparatively low cost of living, strong economy and growing population, while its retail and industrial markets continue to see rising rents and strong absorption, according to national commercial real estate brokerage firm Matthews REIS.

New York, NY

Population: 8,335,900
(–5.3% since 2020)

While it is no secret that New Yorkers have been leaving the city since the pandemic began, the nation’s most populous city continues to top the list of many investors. New York City offers some of the biggest and best commercial properties in the country and has seen continued demand and price increases across all sectors, despite economic uncertainty and empty offices.

Raleigh, NC

Population: 476,600
(+1.9% since 2020)

A report by local nonprofit business group Kenan Institute ranked Raleigh as the fourth fastest-growing city in the country. Its proximity to top universities has produced an educated workforce that enjoys an affordable lifestyle, leading many financial, technology and life sciences firms to take space in the “research triangle.” The area remains a Southeast distribution hub and industrial volume has climbed.

Charlotte, NC

Population: 897,700
(+2.7% since 2020)

This rapidly growing Sun Belt city is attracting professionals and new businesses alike, thanks to massive inbound migration, especially in the healthcare and financial services sectors. The global business hub enjoys a robust economy, low cost of living and business-friendly government, and is home to three of the nation’s six largest banks.

Tampa, FL

Population: 398,200
(+3.4% since 2020)

During the pandemic, people from across the country flocked to Tampa in droves for its warm weather and extremely low cost of living. This influx has fueled multifamily construction and rent growth. The area also boasts a thriving economy, strong tourism, lively beaches and has one of the nation’s most affordable housing markets.

Miami, FL

Population: 449,500
(+1.6% since 2020)

Once dependent on tourism, South Florida’s growing population has helped launch new start-ups; global economic forecasting and analytics group Oxford Economics estimates that Miami will see job growth of 1.2 percent this year. The gateway city is home to diverse industries and one of the country’s largest ports. Industrial vacancies remain low, and Blackstone invested $1.3 billion into industrial properties in Miami-Dade County in 2022.