Expedia recently announced that it would be moving its headquarters from a Seattle suburb that it has occupied for the past 20 years to the city’s downtown area. With this announcement, Expedia joins a number of companies that are making the move from the suburbs back to the city. Companies are mainly doing this to attract and retain young, talented workers.
Today’s young workers are delaying homeownership in favor of renting, and they have a preference for walk able neighborhoods with easy access to entertainment and dining options. Property prices in walk able neighborhoods are also a reason for many companies recent move back to the city. Over the past 10 years, properties located within central business districts have appreciated 125%, while properties located in areas that are considered highly walk able rose 43%. Over this same time period, prices for suburban properties that are “somewhat walk able” or car dependent are up only 20-21%.
This new trend isn’t rendering suburban properties completely useless however. These properties are being repurposed into everything from community colleges to health clinics. Ed McMahon, a senior resident fellow for the Urban Land Institute, told the Wall Street Journal, “One of the biggest trends of the next generation is going to be the repurposing of an incredible amount of existing suburban development.” Look for more companies to follow in Expedia’s footprints and move back to the city in the near future.