Nov 17, 2022
By Michael Maxwell

Nashville, Lisbon’s unlikely American ‘Twin’

In America, the great ‘South-East Migration’ is often spoken about. Families, couples, and individuals from the East and West coast are moving to states such as Tennessee, the Carolinas and to an extent Texas and Florida. The reasons behind the move: Lifestyle, affordability, climate, taxes, easier access to healthcare and schooling. Essentially areas where pull factors far outweigh push factors. Sound familiar?

When speaking to investors from America about why they are looking at Portugal for investment or residence, the same reasons are highlighted and appreciated this side of the Atlantic. The American population in Portugal grew 45% in 2021. Importantly, the qualities drawing the crowd are desirable at a time of abundance or financial challenges.

Cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Raleigh, Austin and San Antonio have been benefactors, in recent years, of significant inflows which have impacted the cities’ real estate markets positively, bringing much interest from single family and multi-family developers.

However, the city many feel to be leading the charge currently is Nashville. According to a report from leading consulting firm PwC produced for Urban Land Institute Organization (ULI), Nashville secured the title of best overall prospect for real estate investors heading into next year. In fact, it is the first metropolitan area since San Francisco in 2014 to repeat the top ranking in the annual report.

ULI’s report for 2023 is based on direct interviews with more than 2,000 real estate professionals across the US, regarding the markets they consider the best overall for investment in the coming year. A third of those in the survey are private property owners or real estate developers.

Knowing that cities like Nashville are desirable for workers, it is unsurprising that the E-commerce giant,Amazon, is establishing its second office there for an operations center, aiming to employ at least 5,000 people. Over 100 families a day are moving to Nashville.

Furthermore, Austin-based software giant Oracle is building a substantial campus near downtown Nashville,looking to employ 8,000 people in high-paying tech jobs. Nashville apartment sales this year have surpassed last year’s record of $4.22 billion to more than $4.4 billion. Once again, this replicates Lisbon, where tech companies are taking advantage of the well qualified local population, as well as the fact that digital nomads happily call Lisbon ‘home’. Lisbon’s ‘start-up’ scene is up with the most exciting in Europe.

What Lisbon and Nashville of course must monitor is the rate of growth. Issues such as living costs, traffic, housing affordability and infrastructure quality are regional disadvantages that came up frequently in such booming markets. That said, at the end of the day, whether you prefer country music or Fado, these cities both offer exceptional quality, diversity, and opportunity.


Michael Maxwell, Head of Business Development at EQTY Capital