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If It Lands Amazon HQ2, Raleigh Rents Would Go Up More Than Anyplace Else


The impact of winning Amazon's second headquarters — and its influx of high-wage tech workers — would drive Raleigh-Durham apartment rents higher as a percentage than any other market, according to an Apartment List study of 15 major markets bidding on the project.

The company estimated Amazon HQ2 would drive rents up 1.5% to 2% in Raleigh-Durham, in addition to growth that would have happened anyway. From 2005 to 2015, annual rent growth in the metro area has been 3.2%. 

As a smaller metro, Raleigh-Durham would experience such a sizable increase in rents because it would be unable to build enough housing to keep up with the large increase in workers, Apartment List said.

The metro has been touted as a potential Amazon HQ2 location because of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, home to top universities to recruit employees from. However, with its relatively small workforce, the metro would still have to attract many workers from other parts of the country.

With more competition for existing housing and an influx of workers with higher wages, rents would shoot skyward.

Although a 1.5% or 2% rent increase per year may not sound like much, the additional rent growth comes at a time when rents are already rising rapidly nationwide and half of renters are cost-burdened, spending 30% or more of their income on rent, Apartment List said.