Innovation, Talent Attract CRE Capital

The world’s most tech-savvy and talent-rich cities—including San Francisco, London and San Jose—command a greater portion of real estate investment, according to a new JLL report.
San Francisco's skyline. Image via Pixabay.
San Francisco’s skyline. Image via Pixabay.

JLL’s Innovation Geographies report shows that cities with the highest innovation capabilities and high talent concentrations account for a greater portion of real estate investment volume. According to the research, these cities have outperformed economically over the last two decades and have also experienced highly robust real estate performance. This translates into the fastest and most vigorous office rental growth in the past 10 years. The report includes 109 cities across the world.

San Francisco, London and San Jose top the list of JLL’s Global Leaders cluster, leading the charge in both innovation and talent. San Francisco ranks as the most innovative city in the world and has the second-highest talent concentration. London takes the fifth spot in innovation but leads the world in talent. San Jose is the sixth most innovative city and has the fourth-highest concentration of talent. Boston, Paris, Seattle, Sydney, New York and Tokyo complete the ranking. These nine metros account for approximately 73.2 percent of global commercial real estate investment, per the report.

World's Top 20 Most Innovative Cities. Image courtesy of JLL
World’s Top 20 Most Innovative Cities. Image courtesy of JLL

Leadership in both innovation and talent, however, is not a prerequisite for outstanding real estate performance. Cities that rank high in either one of the two sectors are also experiencing positive real estate numbers. Washington, D.C., did not crack the list of the top 20 most innovative cities, but it has the third-highest concentration of talent in the world—and it has recorded a 260 percent increase in real estate investments since the global financial crisis. Germany’s Stuttgart, which logged the fourth-highest number of international patent applications in Europe between 2015 and 2017, saw real estate investment volume in the city increase nearly threefold.

Texas on the radar

The report took a close look at the Lone Star State. Dallas and Houston, deemed part of JLL’s Balanced cluster as average performers on the innovation and talent metrics, ranked in the global top 50 for the former. “With the insatiable amount of corporate relocations to the DFW market, people focus heavily on the job creation numbers versus the job creation sector. Many high-tech jobs have been generated as a result of the large growth in the region and have caused Dallas to climb the charts in terms of talent concentration and innovation,” Ali Greenwood, a senior vice president with JLL, told Commercial Property Executive. Dallas is among the top 30 generators of international patent applications in the world, and the city reeled in more than $2.7 billion of venture capital investment over the last three years, according to JLL.

As for Houston, Louie Crapitto, an executive vice president with JLL, noted that “Houston is the energy capital of the world and is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world, so we know a thing or two about talent and innovation.” Houston also recorded the eighth-largest number of patent applications in the world.

World's Top 20 Talent Hotspots. Image courtesy of JLL
World’s Top 20 Talent Hotspots. Image courtesy of JLL

Austin, buoyed by a solid concentration of startups and a growing number of leading tech companies, ranks as the 12th largest innovation and talent hotspot in the world, falling into JLL’s Talent Rich cluster. Apple is planning to increase its footprint in the city with a new $1 billion, 133-acre campus and Amazon recently announced it will expand its Austin tech hub, where it will add 800 new positions.

“With the opening and growth of the University of Texas’ Dell Medical School, I believe we will continue to grow our ‘high-tech’ talent pools alongside a diversification into more industries—we’ve already seen an uptick in medical-related tech companies trying to enter the market as a result. Moving forward, Artificial Intelligence is likely to continue this trend and blur the lines between various industries and tech,” Bre Brown, vice president at JLL, told CPE.