In its hometown, Seattle, Amazon benefits from a well-educated, tech-savvy pool of talent. The company is looking for another city that attracts that type of worker for its next home: Amazon HQ2.
Because talent is a driving factor in Amazon’s search, it’s worth examining which cities are most attractive to Seattleites as that could be an indicator of their HQ2 chances.
Redfin tracks migration data by looking at where residents of cities across the country are searching for homes. For the past two quarters, more Seattle residents searched for homes outside the city than people from other cities searching in Seattle, according to that data. Of the top 10 cities where Seattleites search for homes, five are on Amazon’s short list for HQ2.
Los Angeles is the top city where Seattle residents search for homes. Austin, where Amazon-owned Whole Foods is headquartered, is sixth on the list. Dallas comes in fifth. Rounding out numbers nine and 10 are New York and Chicago.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the Redfin list has five HQ2 cities, including Dallas.
Cities that residents most often seek to leave tend to have hot housing markets, according to Redfin. House hunters typically search for homes in less expensive metros when home prices in their backyards become out of reach.
Los Angeles’s top spot on the list might seem like it invalidates that theory, but Redfin says it is in line with the trend upon closer examination. Seattleites typically look at cheaper areas in the broader L.A. region, like the Inland Empire. But New York City’s spot on the top 10 list suggests housing affordability isn’t the only factor influencing Seattleites.
It’s been nearly a year since Amazon announced plans to establish a second, equal headquarters in another North American city. The company has been silent about its plans since winnowing the field to 20 cities in January. But company representatives have quietly visited each of the cities in the running to collect more information over the past few months. Amazon says it will announce the winning city this year.
When Amazon does make its selection, senior leaders in Seattle will have the option to choose the headquarters where their team will be based. New executive hires will also get to choose between the two cities.