Where job growth and affordable housing meet
THE EIGHT-YEAR economic recovery has been unevenly spread. Rising housing costs can be a drag on growth, because they deter worker mobility. And housing supply lags demand. To make sense of it all, Mark Fleming, chief economist for title insurer First American, contrasted cities’ housing costs with their employment in the five fastest-growing “advanced industry” (A.I.) sectors identified by Brookings, such as automotive or engineering services. “Think of the combination of these two things as your entrepreneurial opportunity index,” says Fleming. There are surprises. Take Nashville versus New York City. These cities are roughly equal in housing costs relative to purchasing power, but there’s a lot more growth in the A.I. sectors in Nashville, “a really interesting finding,” Fleming says. Likewise, Kansas City tops Austin, where the median list price for a home is a hefty $375,000, according to Realtor .com. “Kansas City is another sneaky market where there is a lot of growth in the STEM and tech sectors, yet housing prices haven’t caught up,” says Fleming. What could change things? Amazon’s pick for its second HQ, for one. The winning city will quickly become less affordable.