“As the search for overlooked investment opportunities intensifies, these markets may be well worth the deep dive necessary to discover some pearls of real value.”

So states Price Waterhouse Coopers and Urban Land Institute’s ‘Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report 2020.’

Let’s take a closer look at the positive things that the report has to say about five of the cities that make it on to that fascinating list. We will highlight some key points from the report as to why these have been flagged up as markets that are ‘treasures ripe for discovery.’ We will also add some insights from other sources about these selected markets.

Jacksonville (Florida)

Jacksonville is rated highly in the report’s prospects survey but is not yet attracting the investment volume that its statistics seem to warrant.

Jacksonville has a population growth of 14.1 percent since 2010 bringing the total population up to 1.5 million (metro area). The population has been increasing at nearly 2% per year, and its workforce is expanding at twice the national average.

Jacksonville is home to four Fortune 500 companies. The region also has a world-class health care system, with more than 20 hospitals and a growing bioscience community. Additionally, 13 of Forbes Global 500 have operations in Jacksonville.

Commenters feel that Jacksonville offers the best of both worlds with the suburbs affording quality of life with access to the ‘big city.’

Local experts believe that it is now Jacksonville’s time for investment and growth.

Columbus (Ohio)

Similarly to Jacksonville, Columbus enjoys a strong overall prospects rank in the report but its position in terms of investment flow does not yet match that.

It has a population base of 2.1 million, with a growth of 10.8 percent since 2010.

The enormous university campus has made the area a magnet for young people.

The metro area enjoys a great geographical advantage with the intersection of Interstates 70 and 71 providing access to markets in a 360-degree ring around the city.

According to Mashvisor, ‘as is common in the Midwest real estate market, the Columbus Ohio real estate market is exceptionally affordable. With a median property price of $220,090, Columbus is considerably cheaper when compared to the national median of $299,400. Not only are Columbus house prices inexpensive, but the city’s cost of living is as well. Columbus has the 52nd lowest cost of living in the US, which is 14.5% lower than the national average.’ 

Greenville (South Carolina)

Surprisingly, investors have not yet capitalized on this opportunity. This could be because Greenville’s population is well below the one million mark that major real estate investors consider to be the minimum for consideration.

Greenville has received very favorable attention for its revitalized downtown with offices, condominiums, craft breweries, and restaurants.

Greenville’s population has gone up to 82,000 residents this decade, an increase of 10 percent.

Zillow shows that the median home value in Greenville is $188,700. Greenville home values have gone up 4.6% over the past year and Zillow’s Greenville real estate market prediction is that the prices will rise 2.3% within the next year.

Boise (Idaho)

Boise has enjoyed an 18.5 percent increase in residents (114,000) since 2010. Tech workers in particular from the higher cost West Coast metro areas have been attracted by the affordability of housing.

Construction is booming, for example, the $150-$200 million expansion at Boise’s airport, where passenger traffic is fast increasing now that Boise is one of the Mountain region’s fastest-growing cities. Boise housing prices have risen at a 15% annual rate in each of the past two years. In Boise, investment in public projects also is brisk, including an $80 million riverfront library.

Spokane (Washington)

With a metro population of 573,000 increasing 8.7 percent since 2010, Spokane has been transitioning from a natural resource-based economy to a more high-tech and services orientation.

Spokane also has the well-regarded Gonzaga University as one of its selling points.

Prices in this market continue to climb at a steady pace. Prices rose over 10% from this point last year. The Spokane Association of Realtors reports that the median home price in Spokane increased from 265k to 283k.  

It is important to note that in each case there are reasons why these markets have not yet been attracting investment consistent with their perceived prospects. All factors should be carefully considered as part of your normal due diligence.

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