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Savills Ranks Seattle 13th Top Tech City in the World

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By Brittan Jenkins

With mega tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Tableau and Expedia calling the Seattle area home and more tech leaders such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and GoDaddy with some of their biggest offices outside their headquarters located in the region, one might assume that Seattle would be considered the world’s top ‘tech city’ but a new report from international real estate advisor Savills says there are a number of other cities ahead of Seattle. The report, named Savills Tech Cities 2017, identifies the top tech cities in the United States and abroad to pinpoint which cities are thriving in the tech sector. While the U.S. leads the world in top tech destinations, it’s the smaller cities that come out ahead.

Paul Tostevin, associate director with Savills World Research said, “Smaller cities tend to fare well as ‘healthy’ cities, whilst crowded megalopolises such as London, New York and Tokyo offer a rich variety of retail, nightlife and cultural experiences which will always be attractive to some workers.”

In the report, researchers analyze what makes cities the best of the best in the tech world by measuring their rank using five categories, business environment, city buzz and wellness which takes into account nightlife, entertainment and culture as well as pollution levels, healthcare, crime rates, pay equality and commuting times, tech environment, talent pool and real estate costs. Combined, these account for what makes a strong base for tech companies. Using those criteria, researchers aim to understand the factors that make good locations for the tech sector and which markets are most desirable for tech companies seeking to relocate or open offices. The report examined 22 global centers that are already thriving and growing in the industry.

Overall, the report found that the U.S. is dominating the tech market, with the top three ranked cities in the world in the States. For the top spot, Austin takes the cake. The city was dubbed the world’s foremost ‘tech city’ offering proper infrastructure, a healthy business environment, talent pool and lifestyle, according to the report. Two other U.S. cities, San Francisco and New York came in just behind Austin, ranking 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Researchers noted that while San Francisco came in just below Austin for the top rank, the Texas city beat the Bay Area due to its lower real estate costs and success in attracting tech talent.

The report noted that while the U.S. is leading the way for tech cities, the rest of the top ten consists of mostly ‘liveable’ cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Toronto. Savills equates this to the strong performance these cities have in terms of buzz and wellness which is something the group believes will become increasingly more important to the tech industry in attracting future talent. The report also found that access to venture capital and talent gives U.S. cities a lead over other global markets.

Though Seattle didn’t break the top 10, the city came in just below the mark at the 13th best city in the world for technology. Broken down on an individual criteria level, Seattle performed well in the talent pool and tech environment categories with city buzz and wellness and business environment lacking in comparison. Seattle came in 9th in the city buzz category, 11th in wellness, and 17th in cost of living.

“Cities attract young tech talent who increasingly want to live in dynamic, healthy neighborhoods within walking or cycling distance of the office,” said Nicky Wightman, director with Savills Worldwide Occupier Services. “For the first time, we’ve therefore looked to specifically identify the cities that deliver what this demographic desires. Occupiers looking to attract such talent therefore need to pay close attention to such factors when looking for new locations.”