10 Real Estate Investment Destinations


Out of college, I knew I wanted to get involved in real estate investments. Being young and ambitious, it seemed logical to move to one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. So I went to my computer and Googled something along the lines of “fastest growing U.S. cities.” I remember first on the list was Las Vegas. Although intrigued, I decided that I didn’t want to move to a city who’s economy was so focused on gaming/entertainment. Next on the list was Phoenix. Great weather, diversifying economy – long story short, I moved to Phoenix and have lived and worked there ever since.

Today, I’m sure that there are many people out there who are thinking of starting a career in real estate (or just looking to expand their current horizon of investments) and don’t know where to start. Perhaps I can give a helping hand. Recently, Forbes published a report called “10 Cities Where Americans are Relocating.” I thought it would be insightful to list these cities and give a little info on what makes these cities such an attractive destination. If anyone locally has anything to add or clarify, please do so.

1. Raleigh, NC (Raleigh-Cary MSA) – Population – 1,125,827

  • Major Industry: Banking/Financials Services, Medical, High-tech, Biotech Research
  • Major Employers: State of North Carolina, Wake County Public School System
  • Major Universities: North Carolina State University
  • Professional Sports Franchises: Carolina Hurricanes – NHL

2. Austin, TX (Austin-Round Rock MSA) – Population – 1,769,952

  • Major Industry: Semiconductors, Software, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology
  • Major Employers: State of Texas, Dell, University of Texas at Austin
  • Major Universities: University of Texas at Austin
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: Whole Foods Market, Freescale Semiconductor, Forestar Group, Dell

3. Charlotte, NC (Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord MSA) – Population – 1,745,524

  • Major Industry: Financial Services, Distribution
  • Major Employers: Carolinas Healthcare System, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Bank of America
  • Major Universities: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: Bank of America, Lowe’s, Nucor, Duke Energy, Sonic Automotive, Family Dollar, Goodrich Corporation, SPX Corporation, Domtar
  • Professional Sports Franchises: Carolina Panthers – NFL, Charlotte Bobcats – NHL

4. Phoenix, AZ (Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale MSA) – Population – 4,364,034

  • Major Industry: Manufacturing, Tourism, High-tech, Financial Services
  • Major Employers: State of Arizona, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Banner Health Systems
  • Major Universities: Arizona State University
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: Avnet, Freeport-McMoRan, US Airways Group, Republic Services, PetSmart
  • Professional Sports Franchises: Phoenix Suns – NBA, Arizona Diamondbacks – MLB, Arizona Cardinals – NFL, Phoenix Coyotes – NHL

5. Dallas, TX (Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA) – Population – 6,477,315

  • Major Industry: Defense, Financial Services, Information Technology and Data, Life Sciences, Semiconductors, Telecommunications, Transportation, Processing
  • Major Employers: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., American Airlines, Baylor Health Care System
  • Major Universities: Southern Methodist University, The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: Exxon-Mobil, AT&T, Fluor, AMR, Kimberly-Clark, J.C. Penney, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Dean Foods, Texas Instruments, Southwest Airlines, Energy Future Holdings, Tenet Healthcare, Gamestop, XTO Energy, Commercial Metals, Affiliated Computer Services, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Energy Transfer Equity, Celanese, Atmos Energy, Holly, Flowserve, Radioshack, Blockbuster
  • Professional Sports Franchises: Dallas Cowboys – NFL, Dallas Mavericks – NBA, Dallas Stars – NHL, Texas Rangers – MLB

6. San Antonio, TX (San Antonio MSA) Population – 2,090,692

  • Major Industry: Financial Services, Government, Healthcare, Tourism
  • Major Employers: Fort Sam Houston – US Army, Lackland Airforce Base, USAA
  • Major Universities: University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: Valero Energy Company, Tesoro, USAA, Clear Channel Communications, NuStar Energy
  • Professional Sports Franchises: San Antonio Spurs – NBA

7. Houston, TX (Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA) Population – 5,867,489

  • Major Industry: Energy, Biomedical Research, Aeronautics, Petrochemical
  • Major Employers: Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Continental Airlines, Inc., The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Major Universities: Rice University, University of Houston
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, Sysco, Enterprise GP Holdings, Plains All American Pipeline, Haliburton, National Oilwell Varco, Continental Airlines, KBR, Waste Management, Baker Hughes, Apache Corporation, CenterPoint Energy, Smith International, Kinder Morgan, Calpine, Enbridge Energy Partners, Cameron International, EOG Resources, Spectra Energy, El Paso Energy, Group 1 Automotive, FMC Technologies, Frontier Oil
  • Professional Sports Franchises: Houston Astros – MLB, Houston Texans – NFL, Houston Rockets – NBA

8. New Orleans, LA (New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner MSA) Population – 1,235,650

  • Major Industry: Oil/Gas, Tourism, Port and Ship/Boat Building, Aerospace Manufacturing
  • Major Employers: Ochsner Health System, Tulane University, Acme Truck Line
  • Major Universities: Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: Entergy
  • Professional Sports Franchises: New Orleans Saints – NFL, New Orleans Hornets – NBA

9. Atlanta, GA (Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta MSA) Population – 5,975,213

  • Major Industry: Services, Trade, Manufacturing, High-tech
  • Major Employers: Delta Airlines, BellSouth Corp., U.S. Postal Service
  • Major Universities: Georgia State University, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: Delta Airlines, Home Depot, U.S. Postal Service, Coca-Cola Company, Coca-C0la Enterprises, Southern Company, Suntrust Banks, Genuine Parts, AGCO, Newell-Rubbermaid, Asbury Automotive Groups
  • Professional Sports Franchises: Atlanta Falcons – NFL, Atlanta Braves – MLB, Atlanta Hawks – NBA, Atlanta Thrashers – NHL

10. Denver, CO (Denver-Aurora MSA) Population – 2,552,195

  • Major Industry: Transportation, Telecommunications, Aerospace, Manufacturing
  • Major Employers: U.S. Government, State of Colorado, University of Colorado System
  • Major Universities: University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver
  • Fortune 500 Headquarters: QWest Communications, Dish Network, Liberty Global Inc., Liberty Media Corp., Newmont Mining Corp., Ball Corp.
  • Professional Sports Franchises: Denver Broncos – NFL, Colorado Rockies – MLB, Denver Nuggets – NBA, Colorado Avalanche – NHL

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  1. Good move – I grew up in Phoenix, and what it lacks in culture it definitely makes up for in low property taxes, low business start-up costs, and abundant parking.

    Also, why just list one major university in the Raleigh area? Chapel here is right there, and UNC and Duke bring in a lot of local business/rent.

  2. MH,

    Yes, Phoenix is a pretty good place to live and work.

    As far as the other universities in the Raleigh area, I was using various different sources to pull all the info. When I looked up Raleigh, I may have only seen Universities directly in Raleigh, as opposed to the surrounding areas. But yes, Duke and UNC – Chapel Hill should be included.

    If I’ve missed anything else, please let me know.


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