Population growth: 1.3% (Raleigh); 0.9% (Durham)

Job growth: 5.3% (Raleigh); 4.6% (Durham)

Market analysis: The big push in Raleigh has been the development of kind of the tech center and more of the research and development job opportunities,” Strub said. “And really what's happening there is you're getting a lot of high-paying jobs coming into that space, so there's a lot of education centers, a lot of job growth in that specific space.”

Strub also noted that Raleigh-Durham market has been overlooked from the capital market side. “If you're looking to make an investment in Raleigh-Durham vs. Seattle, you're going to find a lot more capital in Seattle, which kind of means there's going to be an increased return for a perceived risk of investing in Raleigh. And that’s the reason that it was at the top of our list for the retail sector because there's more of an opportunity there,” he said. “When we put together our list, not only is it what are the best markets in terms of lowering your risk threshold as an investor, but it's also what is the best risk adjusted return. From that perspective, Raleigh definitely tops that list.”

Grocery market share in 2021: Of the top 10 traditional grocers in the Raleigh-Durham region, Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion had the largest share at 45.7%, with Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Lowes Food following at 27.3% and 6% share, respectively, Placer.ai found.

Sam’s Club led among the top three wholesale clubs in the region with 51.1% share, followed by Costco (33.15%) and BJ’s Wholesale Club (15.8%). Costco, according to Placer.ai, saw a market share increase of 9.5% from 2019 to 2021. Of the top two superstores, Walmart had 76.7% share and Target had 23.3% share. The trend of Walmart losing market share from 2021 to 2019 continued for the retailer in Raleigh-Durham, where its share decreased 6%.

Of the top five dollar stores, Dollar General had the highest market share at 36.9%, with Dollar Tree close behind at 34.4% and Family Dollar—which like Harris Teeter has headquarters in Matthews— rounding out the top three at 14%.