Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) may find its second home in the Tar Heel state.
A new ranking of the top cities for Amazon's second headquarters has ranked Raleigh, N.C., No. 1. That ranking, released by property data firm ATTOM Data Solution on Thursday, May 31, considered house prices, the state's average school test scores, property tax rates, crime rates and other factors.
It was in September 2017 that Amazon put out the call for cities to bid on becoming home to the online retailer's second headquarters. Initially, Amazon received 238 bids and then narrowed it down to 19 U.S. cities and one Canadian, Toronto. Since then, various organizations have ranked those 20 cities, with Austin and Boston, for example, taking the top spot. The winning city is set to score a bonanza — a $5 billion facility and 50,000 new jobs.
Here's what ATTOM saw in Raleigh:
1. Talented Labor Pool
Raleigh is located in what's called the Research Triangle, thanks to its proximity to three major research universities: Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. In addition, several tech companies are based there or have large campuses. Among them are International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) , Lenovo Group Limited (LNVGY) and Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) , resulting in a wealth of well-educated potential employees.
Brooks Raiford, president and CEO of the North Carolina Technology Association, told TheStreet on Thursday, May 31, that North Carolina has one of the highest growth rates for tech companies with much of it centered in the Research Triangle. The association also found North Carolina to be the No. 2 state for technology-sector employment and the No. 1 state for women in the tech workforce.
2. Affordable Housing
ATTOM reviewed median house prices in the fourth quarter 2017 for each city and compared their appreciation to that of the fourth quarter 2012, which was $235,000 with a 26% five-year house price appreciation. The firm then divided the median price by the median household income to come up with a price-to-income ratio. For Raleigh, it is 3.69. While Raleigh's doesn't have the lowest ratio, it came in under pricier cities like Boston, 9.57, Los Angeles, 14.51, and New York, 14.79.
3. Tax IncentivesRaleigh's bid to Amazon, like those of other cities, is unavailable to the public. However, the 2017 state budget has offered clues on how the online retailer may benefit in North Carolina. A provision passed by the state's general assembly in June 2017, which took effect the next month, states that a private company that invests at least $4 billion and creates more than 5,000 jobs can receive state grants for said company's "transformative" projects. That benefit can be extended for up to 25 years.
4. Low Crime
To determine the crime rate, ATTOM factored in both violent and property crimes. It used the number 100 to represent the national average for crime. Raleigh scored a 96, putting it far below other cities': Atlanta, 303, Philadelphia, 256, and Miami, 233.
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