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Raleigh-Durham: A Market on the Rise

The emergence of 18-hour cities is a hot topic, and these secondary cities are continuing to grow in their momentum. An 18-hour city is typically characterized by an above-average urban population growth, a thriving economy, and a lower cost of living, according to Investopedia. Among these cities are Austin, Nashville, and Denver. Now the Raleigh-Durham area, with its cluster of higher-ed universities and an emerging tech hub, is rising to the top of that list. Whether you’re looking to invest, move your family or company, or develop, the Raleigh-Durham area shows great promise.

Raleigh and Durham, though often combined in thought and speech by the rest of America, are two separate and distinct cities. Locals are quick to point this out. The individual cities are both growing rapidly. According to the Census Bureau’s latest report, Raleigh is now the 42nd largest city in America, while Durham is the 79th. The Raleigh metro area was the 16th fastest growing metro area in the nation and helped North Carolina’s population top 10 million last year.  In many reports, the two are combined into the Triangle region, another Carolina powerhouse. Raleigh-Durham has garnered a number of accolades, including the #2 spot on the Forbes list of Best Places for Business and Careers in 2015.

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Source: ULI Emerging Trends Report

In the PWC and ULI Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, Raleigh-Durham was included in a number of top market lists. It ranked as the  #11 U.S. Market to Watch. The report cites the market’s concentration of education facilities and growing technology sector as drivers of the economy. The Triangle area has a longstanding history in the success and importance placed on education. Universities such as North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill form the Triangle boundary. The region’s name came into existence after the development of the Research Triangle Park, one of the most prominent research parks in the United States. Founded to be a model for research, innovation, and economic development, the research park continues to foster collaboration. It also increases the economic opportunities of an educated community where nearly 1 in 5 people hold a graduate degree.

Buildings in the Research Triangle Park

Surprisingly, the 1776 Innovation That Matters report claims that the universities in the area are not the focal point of its entrepreneurial ecosystem. It does note large opportunities for the two to sync. The report recently declared Raleigh-Durham the #4 city to capitalize on the inevitable shift to a digital economy and continue its rise as a startup hub. The report states that Raleigh-Durham is a well-connected ecosystem, dense with startup activity. The region’s strong cultural foundation and deep talent pool are the ingredients Raleigh-Durham needs to compete and win.

It’s clear that Raleigh-Durham’s strong ecosystem and large pool of resources is poised to help boost the startup community. ExitEvent highlights some of the resources available to local startups in its Guide to the Triangle’s Accelerators, Incubators and Workspaces. There are other organizations, such as Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Raleigh4U, meant to help emerging business connect with the community. The Nest is just one of the co-working spaces available in the area, and you can see it on RealMassive.

raleigh-durham coworking space

Nest Coworking Space – Raleigh

As the ecosystem grows, the demand for workspace only increases. However there is currently a constraint on supply. Michael Goodmon of Capitol Broadcasting Company, creator of the impressive American Underground, notes its success in a recent article but highlights the immediate need for more office space built. “You have companies that are almost offensive in their need for space…We’ve got to be ready as a city to catch them”. We’ll continue to explore the local supply and demand and what it means, but it’s clear that Raleigh-Durham is a market to watch.


RealMassive is proud to do our part in exposing availability. We’re one resource where tenants can learn more about the market and connect with a tenant rep to help them on their search. Listing representatives can list their buildings in the RealMassive marketplace for Raleigh-Durham and reach more people. Together, we can continue to help propel Raleigh-Durham’s rise.

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