RALEIGH – Fitch Ratings says in a new analysis that it expects Raleigh would see little impact on housing and rental prices or salaries if it prevails among 20 finalists for the Amazon HQ2 project and its $50,000 jobs.

Unlike a Zillow real estate report last week that forecast higher rents, Fitch said in its report Monday that: “We do not expect the winner to see much change in house prices as the finalists are generally large and their healthy economic dynamics have already begun to push up prices.”

Fitch, which along with Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s make up the “big three” of rating services, did forecast some impact on worker wages since 50,000 jobs with an average wage of $100,000 would be equivalent to more than 7 percent of Raleigh’s workforce. That’s a much higher percentage than among many other of the 20 finalists which have larger metropolitan statistical areas in terms of population.

“Locations in smaller MSAs with less robust income levels, including Raleigh, Indianapolis and Columbus, are likely to see more,” Fitch said.

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The analysis also pointed out that the impact of HQ2 could be larger if Amazon chooses a campus site that isn’t already well developed.

“HQ2 may play a significant role in developing or revitalizing the immediate area if it is not in an already highly developed part of the location chosen, driving new construction and increased rents of existing properties,” it said.

Regarding salaries, Fitch added:

“Average income is not necessarily a good indicator of the impact of these highly paid jobs, as they are more likely to go to highly skilled and educated workers whose salaries are already paid well above average. Therefore, Fitch does not expect the high salaries to be paid by Amazon to have a pronounced effect on income levels. Whatever effect they have will only benefit the local government’s budget directly if it can capture the attendant property, sales and income taxes.”

However, the Fitch data is based only on a review of Raleigh MSA information. Amazon has said that the Triangle is being reviewed as a location, not just Raleigh.

When asked if including the Durham labor force would impact its findings, a spokesperson for Fitch said it would not.

“Our commentary provides a general idea of the impact that could occur in the area that is chosen as the new HQ2.  It was not meant to provide an in-depth analysis of any particular location but rather to illustrate our belief that most of the finalists would not be affected in a way that would affect home prices or municipal bond ratings,” Amy Laskey, managing director of US Public Finance, told WRAL TechWire.

“Once the location is chosen and more details become clear we can begin to incorporate them into our credit analysis.”

Fitch also forecast that landing HQ2 would not impact Raleigh’s AAA bond rating.

The Fitch analysis is based on a review of MSA data from the final 20 sites.

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