The US is the land of opportunity and the American Dream is still ingrained in national culture. With a bit of hard work, ingenuity and a spot of luck, those on the bottom of the pile can rise to the top, or so says the ethos. This doesn't just apply to people either and cities, towns and states rise and fall as the years go by. In fact, if you hear the term 'boomtown' you instantly think of the US and its fast-paced, ever changing environment.
For investors, keeping track of where's hot and where's not is vital, ensuring assets are located in thriving, up and coming areas. So just which boomtowns should you be on the lookout for in 2013?
Cleveland, Ohio is on the up. The second largest city in the state, it is known as a leading durable goods manufacturing area, creating jobs and stimulating growth. However, in recent years it has moved towards a more serviced-based economy and is attracting more and more corporations into its borders.
While in the final quarter of 2012 Cleveland experienced no property price growth, according to figures from S&P Case-Shiller, the market is stable. This means it a safe bet for investors, allowing them to take advantage of its strategic location and its position in the wider state of Ohio.
The stability of the city can be seen in its pleasing employment rate. A Cleveland and Plus Business report found unemployment in the Cleveland Plus region is lower than the national average. This is being driven by the manufacturing sector, which represents 14 per cent of total employment in north-east Ohio. Manufacturing employment increased by five per cent or 10,000 jobs between Q2 2011 and Q2 2012.
Williston, North Dakota
Williston found its way onto the radar of investors when companies found a means to tap the oil in the Bakken formation. Believed to hold as much as 24 billion barrels of oil, it is no surprise that businesses and workers have flocked to area.
Tom Rolfstad, executive director for the city's economic development department, has called the discovery a "game-changer". "We've doubled in size in three years and we will double again in the next three years," he said.
With a severe lack of housing, Williston is also a dream for developers and budding landlords. This is without considering the potential for investment in industrial space, retail units and an entertainment and leisure industry to serve the growing population.
Over recent years Austin has been the standout city in Texas, supported by the state's thriving economy. However, this hasn't always been the case and as a centre for technology, Austin was vulnerable to recession in the early 2000s.
Nonetheless, it has bounced back and has just been named the top spot for young entrepreneurs. Well placed to support business and growth, Austin offers tax abatements, enterprise zone exemptions, public utility incentives and financing programmes.
Another city to rise on the back of the oil industry, Vernal is well situated in the 11th largest oil producing state. Mayor Gary Showalter claims high energy prices have boosted the town's economy, combined with well-paying oilfield jobs, the opening of large companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger, and its large deposit of natural gas.
With so much in its favour, Vernal is going from strength to strength. Property prices also remain reasonable, meaning investors have a good chance of picking up a bargain.
Nashville's economy has proven resilient and stable in recent years. According to a local government report, this is thanks to the area's healthcare sector. With over 250 firms in the city, the industry provides Nashville with more business than any other sector.
"This sector's stability across business cycles lends enormous resilience to Nashville's economy and has garnished a reputation as a leader in innovation, talent and business acumen. Continuing growth of the U.S. health care sector positions Nashville to become an ever stronger leader in the country for this industry," the latest economic development report explained.
Over the next 25 years, the city is expected to be the focus of much opportunity, transforming the urban and regional community. However, there will still be many challenges ahead for Nashville, including addressing workforce shortages and skills gaps, improving and maintaining business infrastructure, and building upon the quality of life citizens enjoy. Adequate housing at various price points is also needed, meaning there plenty of opportunities for developers.
- Wednesday 10 April 2013