In April, Apple delighted North Carolinians who had been worried about the state’s economic vitality after Covid, by announcing its plans to invest 1 billion into the state by 2029. The tech giant plans to open a hub in the research triangle. This will bring 3000 jobs to the region. Not only will the move bolster the tech and engineering industries in the state but Apple’s investments will also support critical infrastructure projects as well as education endeavors, according to Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, who is a North Carolina native himself. The announcement comes on the back of multiple market surveys that indicate North Carolina is well-positioned for continued growth despite the setbacks from Covid-19.
Why is this particularly important to the CRE world?
It is incredibly significant that Apple is choosing North Carolina to be the first US location in over 20 years to receive a completely new facility. And, we’re seeing this as part of a larger trend. Companies and individuals are choosing to migrate and bring their business to North Carolina.
In 2020, survey results indicated that one in five Americans found a new place to live. In large part because of the economic downturn related to the global pandemic, many Americans have sought out more affordable homes and regions. But the exodus of Americans from larger metropolises like San Francisco and NYC is part of an ongoing trend. The trend has been happening for around a decade.
North Carolina has become an increasingly popular destination. Especially for Americans looking to migrate away from larger metropolitan areas where they’ve been priced out. According to Move.Org North Carolina ranked number five of all states that people were choosing to move to. Charlotte, North Carolina, in particular, is a burgeoning hotspot for tech talent. It is positioned to be another transformational city such as has happened in Austin, Texas.
Market Resiliency and Growth
With more people and businesses comes expanding infrastructure needs. Already, North Carolina has the second most miles of highway in the United States. And many of these roads are in need of repairs and updates. This is especially important with an expanding population. To address America’s infrastructure development needs, the Biden administration has designated $115 billion to repairing roads and bridges nationally.
Nation-wide over 22 million people have become out of work in the pandemic. Despite this, data indicates that the infrastructure sector is best placed to weather the storm. As more shopping has gone online, warehouses have become the new retail space. At North by Northwest, we’ve noticed the same trend supporting convenience stores over larger shopping centers. More people have stayed in their local areas. They are opting to do their shopping in local, and smaller, convenience stores, over making bigger supermarket runs. Obviously, with convenience stores this is true on a case by case basis. It is dependent on the route and what stock the stores carry. However, we will go into more detail on these points in our article focused on long term market resiliency after Covid-19.
North Carolina, one of the most sought after states in the country
Before the pandemic, the website Curbed included Charlotte and Raleigh on its top 10 list of the best cities to live in in the country. But it’s not just the cities that are experiencing growth. While the cities are seeing a surge in millennials who are moving there for work or affordable housing opportunities, some suburbs and small towns such as Leland, Southport, and Calabash are also experiencing growth trends. These areas are seeing a lot of retirees and baby boomers who want to return to their home state after years spent in the northeast or midwest. Other instances of retirees choosing North Carolina are due to the milder weather temperatures. It’s a good alternative to retiring in Florida. North Carolina enjoys warm to hot temperatures without as much humidity.
Hickory, North Carolina, the homebase of North by Northwest Consulting, has also seen a boost in the last year. Future job growth in the city is predicted to grow by 38.7%. This is higher than the US average by 5%. And with new infrastructure and public works projects like the redevelopment of the downtown area, and the citywalk project (that coincidentally NxNW has been privileged to be a part of) the area is experiencing a lot of positive transformation.
Overall, North Carolina is set to experience a lot of growth. This is particularly exciting in the commercial real estate industry. The National Association of Realtors, as recently as March identified Raleigh, NC as one of the top 10 cities in the United States expected to outperform the rest of the markets. With increasing amounts of people and businesses moving into the state, North Carolina’s is expected to bounce back from the economic downturn created by the pandemic and continue on its path of accelerated growth.