Phoenix has weathered the past several years of turmoil in ways that few cities have been able to mimic, leading researchers to call it one of the most resilient cities across the globe.
Coming in as the 20th most resilient city on the planet, according to a report from Savills World Research, Phoenix has leapt in the rankings over the last several years, rising from 26th place since 2016. The metro was one of six cities to break into the top 20 since 2016.
While Phoenix placed 20th in the overall index, the metro ranked ninth in strength of its real estate market, up from No. 36 in 2016. The report said that a resilient city will have a large, liquid real estate investment market, a good mix of domestic and international investors and strong property rights.
The Savills Resilient Cities Index assesses 500 cities on their economic strength, demographics, education and the knowledge economy and environmental resilience, as well as the depth of their real estate markets. The index uses these benchmarks to rank cities on resilience.
The top spots on the list are held by cities like New York, London and Los Angeles. There has been little change in the top five spots between 2016 and 2021.
The waning of Covid-19 has caused people to begin reconnecting with cities. Savills’ Prime Residential Index showed price growth in 28 out of 30 major cities in 2021 and the highest annual rental growth since 2014.
Human preference for urban dwelling has scarcely wavered, but preferences about what type of city is most desirable are changing. Thanks to fast-growing economies and lower living costs, a number of mid-sized U.S. cities have broken into the top 20 or climbed into the top 10 since 2016, according to the report.
The other key driver of change in ranking is the technology and knowledge economy, defined as high value-add employment with venture capital funding, quality education and innovation in business. Cities that host high-tech industries are attracting people and capital.
Separately, a study focused on emerging startup ecosystems also gave Phoenix high marks.
The pandemic tested resilience in cities, and it seems the war in Ukraine is bringing new headwinds. The full implications are as yet unknown, but the war’s impact on commodity prices has further pushed up inflation, squeezing living costs. Indeed, in times of heightened uncertainty, the resilience of cities will again be tested.