Real Estate

Boston Was Named One of the Top 10 Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2019

The Urban Land Institute's annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate report has arrived.


Photo via iStock/JC Ruiz

Every year, the Urban Land Institute publishes its Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, a widely read market forecast for the year ahead. Covering investment and development trends, technological impacts, regional market outlooks, and more, the report from ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers is a pretty good indicator of what’s to come in the new year. And for the second year in a row, the report has ranked Boston one of the top 10 real estate markets in the country.

Boston was named the number 7 city to watch in 2019. It’s up three places from its number 10 spot last year—but it’s the other cities on the list that make Boston’s appearance significant.

The report’s top 10 U.S. markets to watch are as follows:

  1. Dallas/Fort Worth
  2. Brooklyn
  3. Raleigh/Durham
  4. Orlando
  5. Nashville
  6. Austin
  7. Boston
  8. Denver
  9. Charlotte
  10. Tampa/St. Petersburg

Notice anything? The majority of the markets to watch are concentrated in the South. That’s because companies are moving there to take advantage of the region’s growing workforce. People are migrating South for its lower costs of living, and the jobs are coming to them.

“You have jobs following people,” said Mary Lundgrin, a managing director at real estate investment management firm Heitman, during the Urban Land Institute’s fall meeting at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center this week.

So why is Boston still up there with the likes of Raleigh and Nashville, even with its high cost of living? There’s a massive concentration of talent coming out of colleges and universities here, explained Mitch Roschelle, a partner at PwC.

Some cities have affordable housing and lower costs of doing business, and others (namely us) have big brains. “Boston has talent in spades,” said Roschelle.

That and capital, added Tom Toomey, chairman, CEO, and president of UDR, Inc., a real estate investment trust. He explained an educated workforce draws capital, which in turn, “builds a lot of buildings,” he said.

Boston is considered the country’s highest-ranked gateway market in the 2019 survey, meaning it’s the top market where real estate investments are safe and have high rates of return.

“The New England markets are well educated,” reads the report. “Boston, Portland, and Hartford all have a higher percentage of their population with a postsecondary degree than the national rate.”

We also have a huge concentration of young people compared to the rest of New England—and the country. “Boston has a higher percentage of younger workers, with a higher percentage of its population between the ages of 25 and 44 than the national average,” the report says. Employment growth is up, too, and investment opportunity is seen as abundant for 2019.

The report also notes that Boston is at the center of several real estate trends, like redevelopment, technology, and sustainability. On a national level, the report points to the country’s building boom slowing down—but not nose diving—as well as the rise of amenities in work and living spaces, suburbs growing in popularity, and more. You can read the full report here.