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What is the Great Tech Migration — and what does it mean for luxury real estate?

Monday, July 18, 2022   /   by Dave Magua

What is the Great Tech Migration — and what does it mean for luxury real estate?

The technology sector is enormous—it’s expected that $5.3 trillion will be spent on Information Technology (IT) worldwide in 2022. And when it experiences a shift, every industry feels the impact. That’s especially true in luxury real estate, where fortunes are made and staked on future-forward innovations. Each year, newly minted founders and veteran venture capitalists purchase properties in emerging technology hotspots, building and growing some of the world’s most influential businesses.

There have been a number of notable tech migrations over the last few decades, but I have never experienced a “Great Tech Migration” comparable to the one happening now in my local Atlanta market.

What’s different about this migration? The ubiquity of remote work. Today’s tech workers are free to live in more affordable locations—and technology companies, competing with each other to win the war for talent, are starting to follow them.
In the past, Great Tech Migrations have attracted professionals to urban centers such as San Francisco and its outlying Silicon Valley hubs, as well as other major metropolises like New York and Chicago. Today’s migration is unique because the best tech talent in the business is moving out of these cost-prohibitive economies.

Here are three defining characteristics that distinguish what’s happening in the present from what happened in the past.

1. A move away from conventional tech hubs

The Great Tech Migration we’re seeing now has been launched by a compelling technology boom in smaller cities and rural areas. Millennials are gravitating towards these secondary markets, not only because they offer a more affordable cost of living, but because they also tend to have better year-round weather and a tighter-knit approach to community.

Here in the U.S., a number of southern cities—such as Austin, Raleigh, Tampa, and Atlanta—have recently exploded with new tech businesses. These young entrepreneurs bring their big ideas with them, so it’s no surprise that these smaller cities have become centers of startup activity.

2. A dispersion of well-known tech companies

It’s not just new businesses that are opening offices. In Atlanta, glitzy new office buildings and technology campuses now host the likes of companies including Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, and Mailchimp. Large enterprises are part of the Great Tech Migration, pursuing the savviest minds as they leave the largest cities.

3. Concentrated and highly localized activity

As these relocations take place, their effects become transformative within smaller micro-markets. For example, most of the technology companies coming to Atlanta are congregating in Midtown, in close proximity to Georgia Tech—no surprise, as these organizations benefit from the area’s abundance of recent or soon-to-be graduates.

Article BY CHASE MIZELL for Sotheby's International Realty

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