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The chamber of commerce spirit can be counted on to get the provincial juices flowing—where does my city (metro, town) fit in the pecking order of investment choice? Locals look at the year-end surveys to see where their market ranks. And darn if it looks pretty much the same every year. One way or another the vast amount of capital flows head into the familiar 24-hour cities, which I identified nearly 20 years ago in Emerging Trends. The order may change from year to year, but institutional capital wants to be in New York, Washington, DC and San Francisco first and foremost. And Los Angeles, Boston, and Seattle will always be perennial favorites too. These are the places where the nation’s economic engines concentrate and most commerce gets done. It is where tenant demand is strongest, driving NOI growth and real estate values. In downturns, these markets tend to hold value better and recover more quickly. That’s been true again in the most recent cycle, and these places are where the smart money invests to buy and own. They are the real estate blue chips.

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