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Check out the below article by Lynn Pollack from

These 11 Secondary Markets are Poised to Thrive

Secondary markets have a greater appeal in the short run due to COVID-19, but they also address longer-term demographic trends.


Eleven secondary US counties are poised to thrive over the next decade amidst a rapidly changing real estate landscape, according to new CBRE research.

The markets include counties in the Boise, Columbus, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Greenville, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Ogden, Omaha, and Spokane metro areas.

The research highlights the growing appeal of secondary markets and the push away from large gateway cities—a trend that accelerated during the pandemic, as COVID-19 shutdowns forced many companies to recalibrate priorities of location strategies and their real estate footprints. This same trend is also showing up in many other bodies of research, most recently Yardi Matrix’s analysis of which suburbs offer the most options to renters.

“It’s important to keep in mind what this analysis shows us and what it doesn’t,” said Tedd Carrison, senior financial analyst in CBRE’s Location Incentives Group. “What this demonstrates is that you can analyze many locations against wide ranging economic, education, environment, fiscal, transportation, and health metrics. And the results don’t always point to the largest metropolitan centers.”

The CBRE report evaluated the regions on the basis of population size and density, population growth and momentum, public transit dependence, housing costs and foreclosure risks, fiscal impacts, university pipeline, major airport access, and climate.

The report noted that COVID-19 will be central to any near-term location strategy, as concerns about population density, remote work, indoor entertainment and public transportation continue to mount. It also identified a “sea change” in national demographics that could have long-lasting implications for HR departments to maintain hiring advantages: as millennials move into middle age, they are increasingly flocking to more affordable, family-friendly suburbs and smaller cities between the coasts.

While the largest American “superstar” cities—which led the economic comeback from the last recession—will always function as dynamic centers of talent, innovation, and culture, secondary markets may be “less-heralded alternatives” providing their own advantages over the coming years.

Carrison also pointed out that these metrics are not necessarily exhaustive or that the 11 counties CBRE identified are the new, preeminent job destinations.. “Site selection for companies is a highly specific and individualized process,” he said. “Dense cities and coastal hubs always will be well positioned job markets, often due to established talent bases, innovation networks, cultural amenities and other important considerations. But smaller markets may be increasingly appealing as we continue into the next decade, and they should not be overlooked as viable options for many companies and projects.”