As an entrepreneur, you’re always on the lookout for the next big thing. When it comes to choosing a location for your startup, you want a “boomtown” – a city right on the cusp of notoriety in the business sphere. Boomtowns have the makings for startup greatness but haven’t yet gotten popular enough to drive up the costs of living.
Here’s the Quick List of Top 10 Boomtowns:
- Salisbury, Maryland
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- San Jose, California
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Daytona Beach, Florida
- Lafayette, Louisiana
- Mountain’s Edge, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
A few years ago, Houston and Seattle were on the list of up-and-coming boomtowns. Today, a new stream of cities are making their mark in entrepreneurship. One of these top 10 next boomtowns could be where your startup spreads its roots.
1. Salisbury, Maryland
A 2018 Realtor.com list of “the next urban powerhouses” lists Salisbury at number one. Salisbury, Maryland is a comparably small town with a population of just 390,091. Yet it marks the largest city on Maryland’s eastern shore.
Salisbury is experiencing a chapter of growth that positions it in a top spot as the next great boomtown in the country. The median home price as of 2018 was $309,050 – a number that’s higher than the national median but attracts buyers from more expensive places along the East Coast.
Reduced tax rates, lower costs of living, and plenty of job opportunities in the area has led the population to more than double in the last five years. Part of the attraction is that Salisbury is just a 2.5-hour drive from Washington, D.C. New businesses have opened their doors in Salisbury recently, adding to the metro’s bright future. The region has almost two-dozen breweries and is a mecca for lovers of craft beer. It has all the elements of America’s next great boomtown.
2. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is the second-largest metropolitan region in Michigan. It’s a highly successful Upper Midwest city, known especially for its “Medical Mile” and furniture manufacturing. The Medical Mile is a stretch of the city dedicated to clinical research and medical educational activity. Furniture manufacturing has been an economic staple for the Grand Rapids area for decades.
Grand Rapids has a flourishing millennial demographic, thanks in part to college students. It has a thriving urban area, complete with a rich craft beer scene. In 2018, Forbes ranked Grand Rapids the number one city to raise a family in the U.S.
This ranking was based on the cost of living, the cost of housing, and income in the city. As a result of its recent popularity, however, the median home price rose 15.6% in the last year. Still, its large-city amenities and small-town vibe make it an excellent place for entrepreneurs – and a verifiable boomtown.
3. San Jose, California
It’s not a surprise that a city in California made the list, but San Jose is unique in that it has not gotten its 15 minutes of fame. All of that may change, however, thanks to its position as one of the top three metros for net business creation and wage growth, according to Inc.com.
San Jose is a top surge city thanks to its boom in the technology sector. Immigration, diversity and computer-savvy residents are giving San Jose the potential to be the next great “San” city in the state.
Many people don’t realize some of the world’s top tech startups call San Jose home. These include eBay, Cisco, and Adobe. In fact, San Jose is home to more Fortune 500 companies than anywhere else in the country, besides New York. That’s right – it even beats San Francisco.
Careerbliss named San Jose the second-happiest city to work in based on key factors such as work environment, compensation, growth opportunities, and company culture.
4. Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee is quickly transforming from small town to boomtown, based on its recent job growth and population increase. Knoxville lies at the center of a major interstate network – one that leads to most metro areas in the Southeast United States.
Its central location has helped Knoxville achieve an increase in job opportunities over the years. More jobs mean more people flocking to the city, and a resultant upswing in median home prices (an almost 10% increase from 2017 to 2018). The median price is currently $268,250.
Living and working in Knoxville can come with many benefits. One is living less than an hour’s drive to the most-visited national park in the country – the Great Smoky Mountains. Another is its bustling downtown area, with thriving small businesses, eclectic shops, and breweries.
Knoxville also has affordability going for it, with lower median home prices than nearby Nashville and Chattanooga. If you’re thinking of starting a startup in 2019, Knoxville might be the ideal town to call home. It’s predicted to boom even more in the next few years.
5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City has all the elements of the next boomtown. America’s heartland is ready to blossom into the country’s next tech hub, thanks to an increase in small business lending, low cost of living, low-income taxes, the ease of starting a business, a revitalized downtown area, and several startup accelerators. A 2014 shout out from CNN naming Oklahoma City as the number one city to launch a new business helped get the business ball rolling.
The industries of healthcare, technology, and biotech are booming in Oklahoma City. Businesses in these industries are thriving here for a number of reasons: a strong research community (with two large biomedical research institutions nearby), a diverse and talented pool of workers and entrepreneurs, an uptick in millennial residents, and improved quality of life, to name a few. The city’s rise to the top is leading to many people returning to Oklahoma City or moving here for the first time.
6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is poised to be an upcoming boomtown, primarily for its roots in deep tech. Apple announced in 2018 its plans to expand operations in Pittsburgh over the next three years. The new locations will have room for over 1,000 employees each.
Apple’s announcement said that Pittsburgh is making real strides in becoming a target of talent and business investments. Pittsburgh made Inc.com’s top 10 cities list for venture capital funding, along with cities in California, New York, and Massachusetts.
Even prior to Apple’s announcement, Pittsburgh was shaping up to join the list of top cities to live and work in, thanks to affordability, labor pool, cost of living, entrepreneurial activity, and more.
NerdWallet ranked Pittsburgh number 17 on a list of best places to start a business in 2015, along with cities such as Boulder, Colorado and Wilmington, North Carolina. NerdWallet ranked Pittsburg ahead of San Francisco and Seattle. An increase in startup investment in local tech companies has helped Pittsburgh rise to the top.
7. Daytona Beach, Florida
With a booming tourism industry, median home prices at $279,050, a population of over 600,000 people, and vast beaches, Daytona Beach has to make the list of the next great boomtowns. Although Daytona Beach has long been a hotspot for tourists, it has recently spread its wings into entrepreneurship.
The Milken Institute said the Daytona Beach area had the most improved economy in the U.S. Fast growth over the last five years, affordable housing, and irresistible ocean breezes poise Daytona Beach as a prospective boomtown in the near future. Consider a move south if you want to beat the crowd.
8. Lafayette, Louisiana
A spike in new job opportunities, newly built homes, and a unique cultural identity makes Lafayette, Louisiana a boomtown of the future. In the past five years, Lafayette has added around 60,000 new jobs in the technology sector alone. It also has new constructions available – something unique in the area.
Lafayette was building houses twice as fast as the national average after the economic downfall in 2013. New builds have continued to pop up around town even faster since then. The current median home price in Lafayette is a reasonable $210,000.
What makes Lafayette most appealing, however, is its personality. In 2014, the National Bureau of Economic Research named Lafayette the happiest city in America. It has since upheld that title, with a plethora of fun things to do in town and right outside of city limits.
Just two hours from New Orleans, Lafayette is a hotspot for people who want to enjoy everything NOLA has to offer without living right downtown. Its unique quality of life, delicious food, work opportunities, and friendly people make Lafayette a town to watch.
9. Mountain’s Edge, Las Vegas, Nevada
Just 14 miles outside of Sin City (Las Vegas, Nevada) lies a planned community that offers a taste of peaceful suburban life: Mountain’s Edge. In 2016, Realtor.com named Mountain’s Edge one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the U.S., with a projected five-year household growth of 19.4%.
Mountain’s Edge is close enough to Las Vegas to offer the conveniences and job opportunities of the city, but far enough away to provide peace, quiet, and safe neighborhoods. Mountain’s Edge has new elementary schools, plenty of open spaces, community parks, and hiking trails. Keep your eye on this Las Vegas Valley community as a potential boomtown of tomorrow!
10. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Last but certainly not least on the list of predicted boomtowns is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Beautiful Myrtle Beach is poised for a boom for many reasons: affordable housing (median listing price is $239,000), over 200 days of sunshine per year, plenty of outdoor recreational activities, and some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. USA Today’s “Best East Coast Beaches” list put Myrtle Beach at number five.
Myrtle Beach’s pleasant weather and appealing quality of life have attracted more than 150,000 new residents in the last five years, yet it is still not as crowded as Florida. Many retirees have chosen Myrtle Beach, SC instead of Florida for that very reason – contributing to the city’s population growth.
The Myrtle Beach metropolitan area has less expensive housing opportunities than Florida, although its crime rate is higher than the national average. If you want to move to an up-and-coming town where you can spend time in the sunshine, lounge on the beach, and enjoy ample job opportunities, Myrtle Beach might be for you.