Austin, Texas, is the top city for investing in real estate heading into 2020, ranking first out of 80 cities for its real estate prospects, according to the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCooper’s newly released “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020” report. Rounding out the top five are:

  • Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Boston

The highest-ranked markets for investment and development prospects are those that have positioned themselves as “interesting, lively places with ample employment opportunities and a good quality of life, even as housing affordability challenges intensify,” researchers note in the report.

Additional highlights from the report on metros to watch in the following categories included:

Major Capital Magnets: These markets comprised more than 17% of total U.S. transactions over the past three years

  • Manhattan, N.Y.
  • Chicago
  • Inland Empire, Calif.
  • Northern New Jersey
  • Houston
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • Oakland-East Bay, Calif.
  • Miami

Stalwarts, Surprises, and Determined Competitors: Analysts flagged these markets as having a credible track record of capital inflows and solid records of transaction volume:

  • Philadelphia
  • Long Island, N.Y.
  • Fairfield County, Conn.)
  • Queens-Bronx-Staten Island, N.Y.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • Kansas City, Kan.-Mo.
  • Las Vegas
  • Baltimore
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Detroit

Ripe for Discovery: The following markets have populations exceeding 1 million (the litmus test for some national investors) as well as double-digit growth rates:

  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Salt Lake City
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Cincinnati
  • Louisville, Ky.
  • Pittsburgh
  • Greenville, S.C.
  • Oklahoma City
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers-Naples, Fla.
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Spokane, Wash.
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Tacoma, Wash.
  • Jersey City, N.J.

Markets Aligning with Expectations: The following markets were flagged by analysts because they are where prospects most closely match recent investment flows:

  • Fort Lauderdale-Tallahassee-Daytona Beach-Gainesville, Fla.
  • Richmond, Va.
  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • Honolulu
  • Cleveland
  • Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Omaha, Neb.
  • Tucson, Ariz.
  • San Antonio
  • Buffalo, N.Y.

Thrifty Choices and Boutique Markets: These markets may have some identifiable weaknesses and relatively low rankings, but researchers note that they still offer selective opportunities for those willing to look for potential:

  • St. Louis
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • New Orleans
  • Providence, R.I.
  • Hartford, Conn.
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Va.
  • Milwaukee-Madison, Wis.
  • Knoxville-Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Portland, Maine