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Amazon’s HQ2 could make renters losers in winning city

April 28, 2018

Cities are in a well-publicized competition to be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2. But renters in the winning city could end up losers, according to an analysis by Zillo and reported in The New York Times. For example, without HQ2, the analysis expects median rents in Nashville to rise $146 per month by 2028; with HQ2, they could rise $581.

Ben Casselman at the Times quotes Paulette Coleman, a local affordable-housing advocate, as saying, “With the onslaught of new people, with the onslaught of higher-income earners, I just think it’s going to further exacerbate what’s already a crisis situation.”

Nashville’s with HQ2/without HQ2 median rental delta of $435 by 2028 puts it in fourth place, behind LA (delta = $740), Denver ($117), and Boston ($486). Conversely, median rents in Indianapolis are expected to fall $20 per month by 2028 with or without HQ2.

Comments Casselman, “Zillow cautions that its estimates are rough, based on a simple model that looks at how rents in each city have responded to past influxes of workers. If the cities respond differently to Amazon’s arrival—for example, by building more housing—the impact on rents could be smaller than Zillow’s model estimates.”

He quotes Jenny Schuetz, a Brookings Institution economist, as saying, win or lose, cities should be improving their transit systems and easing regulations to make it easier to build in places people want to live.

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