RALEIGH – A new survey ranks Raleigh in a tie for third as the most likely spot to land the massive 50,000 job Amazon HQ2 project. However, there’s a big caveat. The survey doesn’t necessarily include data from across the Triangle.

Real estate research firm Zillow says experts in its survey picked Atlanta and Northern Virginia as the most likely spot followed by Austin, Texas.  Atlanta and Northern Virginia received 12 votes each with Austin getting 11. Raleigh received nine.

The Triangle, not just Raleigh, has been selected as one of the final 20 metropolitan areas considered for the project, according to Amazon. Multiple bids from across the Triangle were submitted to Amazon, which has acknowledged that the entire region is being considered, not just Raleigh.

A spokesperson for Zillow said data specific to Raleigh and the Triangle other than information compiled for a home value index was limited to comments made by respondents to the survey. And not all of the more than 80 housing experts and university professors who responded offered comments, the spokesperson noted.

“Pros” for Raleigh included:

  • Climate
  • Low housing costs
  • East coast location
  • The Research Triangle
  • “Easy access” to university talent
  • Local talent pool
  • “Cheap land” for office spaces
  • Business friendly

The con: “Small city”

Raleigh and the Triangle have scored both well and poorly in various other studies focusing on the Amazon project. Amazon is expected to announce the winner this year.

Risks of winning

Zillow worked with Pulseconomics, a research and consulting firm, on the survey.

The impact on housing is something economic developers and government officials take into consideration as they woo Amazon, the firms say.

“The potential economic benefits of hosting Amazon HQ2 are tantalizing, and will tempt the 20 municipalities still in the hunt to dangle significant tax incentives to get a deal done,” said Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics, in a statement. “These cities should be prepared not only to justify their financial inducements, but to carefully weigh the social risks and costs that could accompany their HQ2 commitment. The mix and degree of these potential risks, such as diminished affordable housing stock, more congested roadways, and greater income inequality, vary considerably across the 20 markets.”

Added Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas: “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. Atlanta has the benefit of being one of the most affordable markets in the country, and is undergoing an urban renaissance with new public infrastructure providing attractive opportunities for employers seeking to lure young urbanites. Northern Virginia has its benefits as well, as it’s close to a highly educated workforce and a well-developed public transit infrastructure in the D.C. area.”