The Top 10 Markets in ULI’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021

HOUSTON – (By Ralph Bivins of RNR) – The Urban Land Institute has released its annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, forecasting the prospects for North American markets.

ULI’s top 10 markets for 2021:

ONE: Raleigh/Durham, NC. — A tech hot spot with the Research Triangle Park spewing out job growth into an educational mecca with Duke, UNC and NC State providing brain power. Home building is hot.

TWO: Austin, Texas — Refugees from the high-tax West Coast migrate to Austin in droves where tech jobs are exploding. Construction on Tesla’s new factory, is progressing quickly under taskmaster Elon Musk,  will create 5,000 jobs.

THREE:  Nashville, Tenn. – An 18-hour city with hotels so expensive you think you’re in NYC. But growth is strong. Forget the barn dance era at the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville is a real state powerhouse.

FOUR– Dallas, Texas – They take job growth serious in Big D. About every other week, my friend Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News is writing a story about a new 1 million SF corporate campus. Perot’s Alliance Airport is a gusher of an economic engine.

FIVE: Charlotte, NC – Development opportunity abounds in Charlotte, where the economy has diversified  beyond its reputation as a banking center. When it emerges from the negatives of Covid-19, Charlotte will blossom.

SIX: Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. – Real estate prospects are very strong in Tampa, which ULI classifies as a “Super Sun Belt” market.  New Yorkers have been heading south during the pandemic and Florida benefits.

SEVEN: Salt Lake City, Utah  – A western market that attracts growth from California. The exodus to the suburbs is a powerful trend and high-tax states are the losers.

EIGHT:  Washington, D.C./ North Va. – The suburbs of classic Gateway investment markets gain a stake the urban glow, part of the results of the pandemic’s pressure on the workplace. The arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 in Crystal City in Arlington County – it’s dynamite.

NINE: Boston, Mass. – The brain trust around MIT and Harvard is an economic generator in the tech economy. Many investors remain sold on Boston, which ULI calls one of the nation’s established “economic, government and cultural powerhouses.”

TEN: Long Island, NY –Suburbs are a winner in the pandemic. So this old-school, formerly slow-growth peninsula benefits as people give up on the big city. Crowded subways and elevators are not attractive concepts.


 In terms of “overall real estate prospects” the Lone Star State is highly regarded in the eyes of the experts that create the basis of ULI’s Emerging Trends 2021 report.

Austin is No. 2 and Dallas-Fort Worth is No. 4. And San Antonio is not far behind at No. 12.

San Antonio, the ULI report says, shines because of its “low cost of living, high quality of life and opportunity of business growth.”

Houston, although its single-family residential market is strong, slipped again this year in the ULI rankings, due to softness in the energy markets.

Houston Falls to No. 52

Houston ranked No. 52 in overall real estate prospects for 2021. That’s worse that the No. 42 ranking Houston received last year. However, job growth is expected to be a bright spot in the future.

The ULI report, which covers 80 US markets, also contains buy/sale evaluations of multifamily prospects. Austin ranks No. 4 and San Antonio ranks No. 9 in apartment investing  prospects.

In industrial real estate, Dallas and Austin are recommended “buy” markets by over 70 percent of of the experts. Houston also is highly regarded as a good place to buy industrial properties, including warehouses and fulfillment centers.

All four of the Texas Triangle cities score remarkably well in the prospects for homebuilding in the coming year, ULI reports. Austin and Dallas are 2 and 3 in the national rankings.

The survey, in its 42ndyear, is created by PwC US and ULI.  It includes data and insights from 1,600 real estate experts, including investors, fund managers, developers, brokers and lenders.

Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of Houston-based Midway, serves as ULI Americas Chairman. The Urban Land Institute, founded in 1936, is a non-profit education and research institute.

Oct. 20, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

Caption: Second Street in Austin where an office tower is being built for Google. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report. Copyright 2020

File: The Top 10 Markets

File: (2) ULI Emerging Trends. PwC, Midway, Jonathan Brinsden, Texas Triangle. Austin, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth. The Top 10 Markets


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