Editor’s Note: The interactive table in this article was revised June 1, 2018, to reflect revised rankings that no longer include environmental hazard housing risk because that risk factor was inconsistently calculated across different geographies in the previously published rankings. This change did not impact the ranking of the top-ranked city (Raleigh) or bottom-ranked city (Boston) mentioned below in the article, but it did impact the rankings of some other geographies not mentioned in the article. 

IRVINE, Calif. – May 31, 2018 — ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier multi-sourced property database, ranked the 19 U.S. finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters, known as HQ2, based on seven factors impacting housing market health and quality of life for prospective homebuyers and homeowners.

The seven factors analyzed in the rankings were median home prices, five-year home price appreciation, affordability, average school test scores, crime rate, property tax rate, and environmental hazard risk. Each of the 19 geographies were ranked for each of these seven categories, with a total score combining all seven rankings determining the final overall ranking.

Raleigh, North Carolina ranked No. 1 on the list thanks to relatively affordable homes, above-average school scores and below-average crime rates and property taxes. Meanwhile poor home affordability and below-average school scores dropped the ranking for Boston, Massachusetts to No. 19 on the list — despite a below-average crime rate and property tax rate. For a detailed home sales data analysis, click here.

“It’s striking that 16 out of the 19 markets have median home prices that are lower than the city of Seattle, which our data shows was $585,000 at the end of Q4 2017,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “The only exceptions are Boston, Los Angeles and New York, indicating that Amazon is interested in markets that have relatively affordable housing for employees. At the end of the day two of the most important factors for the decision will be finding a market with an ample supply of workers with the skills Amazon is looking for along with an ample supply of relatively affordable housing for those workers to live in. A market like Raleigh certainly has the affordable housing and it also has an ample supply of skilled workers thanks to the several top-notch universities in the vicinity.”

Median home prices are based on publicly recorded sales deed data collected and licensed by ATTOM Data Solutions. For this analysis ATTOM looked at median home prices of single family homes and condos in Q4 2017, and for the five-year home price appreciation metric that Q4 2017 median home price was compared to median home prices in Q4 2012. Affordability was calculated by dividing median household income for each geo from the U.S. Census Bureau by the median home price in Q4 2017. Average school scores are from each state’s department of education and represent the average school test scores for all schools in each geography relative to the state average, with 1.00 being the state average. Crime rates include both violent and property crime. A crime rate of 100 is on par with the national average while any rate above 100 is higher than the national average and any rate below 100 is below the national average. Average property taxes are from data collected and licensed by ATTOM from county tax assessors and are based on average property taxes for single family homes and condos. The effective property tax rate is the average property tax divided by the average home value for each geography. Environmental hazard risk is from the ATTOM Data Solutions 2016 Environmental Hazard Housing Risk Index that calculates potential risk based on four environmental hazards: superfund sites, brownfields, polluters and poor air quality.

About ATTOM Data Solutions
ATTOM Data Solutions provides premium property data to power products that improve transparency, innovation, efficiency and disruption in a data-driven economy. ATTOM multi-sources property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, and neighborhood data for more than 155 million U.S. residential and commercial properties covering 99 percent of the nation’s population. A rigorous data management process involving more than 20 steps validates, standardizes and enhances the data collected by ATTOM, assigning each property record with a persistent, unique ID — the ATTOM ID. The 9TB ATTOM Data Warehouse fuels innovation in many industries including mortgage, real estate, insurance, marketing, government and more through flexible data delivery solutions that include bulk file licenses, APIs, market trends, marketing lists, match & append and more.

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Christine Stricker
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