London and Silicon Valley heading up the Global Top 30 on JLL’s 2017 Investment Intensity Index? Not surprising. But Raleigh-Durham, Austin and Denver also making the list? Now that’s interesting. It’s because these smaller powerhouses are punching above their weight in proportion to their local GDP and going head-to-head with highly globalized markets that are traditionally more attractive to investors.
“Global competition continues to intensify and investors are targeting small-to-mid sized cities. It’s changing the investment landscape. New world cities in the U.S. that excel in innovation and transparency are now firmly on global investors’ radars as they look to tap into their dynamic economies,” said Jeremy Kelly, JLL Director, Global Research.
The rise of new world cities
New world cities typically excel in technology innovation, have a robust infrastructure, high quality of life and transparent business practices. Since 2006, their contribution to global investment volumes has virtually doubled to 23 percent and the group currently accounts for 70 percent of the Global Top 30 cities (complete list at left).
JLL’s Investment Intensity Index compares the volume of direct commercial real estate investment in a city over a three-year period relative to its current economic size. It builds on proprietary research from 2015 and analyzes investment trends in three categories: New World Cities, Established World Cities and Emerging World Cities.
Raleigh-Durham packs a punch on the global stage
In the U.S., large gateway markets like New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles will maintain a dominance in absolute volumes and investment intensity. However, in Raleigh-Durham investors are taking note of the city’s tech-focused tenants and millennial employee base.
 ‘New World Cities’ are small to medium-sized cities (typically 1-5 million population) that have robust infrastructure and attractive liveability platforms and deliberately focus on a limited number of global specialisms.
 ‘Established World Cities’ are the world’s most highly globalised and competitive economies with the deepest and most settled concentrations of companies, capital and talent.
 Emerging World Cities’ are the business and political capitals of large or medium-sized emerging economies that function as gateways for international firms, trade and investment.