The bright side of a tech-and-retail giant planting a shiny new headquarters in your neighborhood is that your employment opportunities may get a whole lot better. The dark side of 50,000 new jobs coming to your municipality is that all those people (allegedly making $100,000 or so per year) will suck up every apartment in sight and drive up rents.
Apartment List, a website that aggregates apartment listings to help would-be renters find what they need city-by-city, did a deep dive into what impact Amazon’s proposed second headquarters (nicknamed by Amazon as “HQ2”) would have on rents in 15 cities viewed as front runners. The full survey factors in a metro area’s current vacancy rates and workforce salaries as well as Amazon’s plan to employ 50,000 of its own people in HQ2. Amazon also said it expects HQ2 to generate an additional 62,000 local jobs wherever the new offices end up.
Boston, which has been mentioned as a front-runner in the HQ2 sweepstakes, is already known for high rents, which means it would be impacted less than some of the other metro areas surveyed. Boston area rents rose 2.8% between 2005 and 2015 on average, and Amazon would add another 0.5% to 0.8% to that.
“That is in the low range of cities surveyed, “Apartment List co-founder and chief operating officer Chris Erickson tells Fortune. “That means a median renter would pay an additional $6,600 to $10,500 in rent over ten years.”
Raleigh, N.C., one of the smaller metro areas covered, would see rents rise the most should Amazon set up shop there. While Raleigh is part of the Research Triangle Park—home to Duke University, University of North Carolina, and other institutions—it still has a relatively small workforce and would have to draw in lots of new people, according to research. Rents in Raleigh grew 3.2% between 2005 and 2015, and Amazon (AMZN) would boost that by another 1.5% to 2% per year. That means a typical renter would end up paying $11,756 to $15,356 in additional rent over a decade counting in the Amazon factor.
If Amazon HQ2 ends up in San Jose, it would add insult to injury to beleaguered renters there who already saw their costs rise a whopping 57% from 2005 to 2015. Construction permits in San Jose are hard to get, and the area already has the lowest vacancy rate of all the metro areas surveyed, so there is little wiggle room to accommodate tens of thousands of new workers in an affordable way. Amazon would add another 1% to 1.6% per year atop annual rent increases of 5.1% per year between 2005 and 2015. A San Jose household could thus see its rent rise $18,100 to $29,581 over ten years.
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Apartment List’s post did not include New York City—in part because Amazon’s request for proposals cited low cost of living as one parameter. But the researchers ran the numbers for Fortune. Because the New York metro area—including all five boroughs, not just super-expensive Manhattan—has a huge population and a relatively high vacancy rate, an influx of even 50,000 new workers wouldn’t mean much in the greater scheme of things.
New York saw 3.7% rent increase from 2005 to 2010, and Amazon would add another 0.1% to 0.2% to that. That would equate to about $1,300 to $2,100 rent increase over a decade. New Yorkers could probably take that in stride.