NAR Region V Local Market Assessments: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands


At the center of the fastest growing region in the U.S., Alabama’s prime location in the South and on the Gulf Coast makes it an excellent hub for businesses seeking access to national and international markets—including the rapidly growing Central and South American markets. Its low cost of living makes it an attractive location for domestic and international firms.

Hundreds of international companies in Alabama employ more than 115,000 U.S. workers—roughly half in the manufacturing sector. “Automotive components” is the largest single sector associated with inbound foreign direct investment. In 2021, Alabama exported $20.9 billion in goods to foreign markets, a 22% increase compared to 2020.

These are just a few factors representing global business opportunities for REALTORS® in Alabama.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Alabama


Florida’s 14.6% population growth from 2010 to 2020 now makes it the third most populous state, surpassing New York. For many of the same reasons that Florida attracts U.S. migrants, it also attracts thousands of foreign immigrants and tens of millions of international visitors yearly. More buyers from around the globe purchase real estate in Florida than in any other U.S. state. The state is also a magnet for global businesses, including those seeking a gateway to the Latin American market.

Statewide, REALTOR® associations provide numerous resources to help members engage in the global marketplace.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Florida


Among the Southern states, Georgia is an international powerhouse. With $8.6 billion in investment from internationally owned companies creating more than 14,000 jobs in 2022, the state ranked #7 in the country for total global trade. Georgia aggressively courts foreign direct investment through 12 trade offices located around the globe. In 2022 52% of exports and 57% of total trade involved these markets.

No matter where you are in the state, you will find international trade and related business opportunities.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Georgia


Mississippi makes doing business simple. Ranked #10 by Area Development in 2022 for its annual “Top States for Doing Business,” Mississippi rose two spots from the 2021 ranking. The state’s ranking for low cost of doing business (#7), business incentive programs (#8), energy availability and cost (#5), cooperative state government (#8) and favorable regulatory environment (#10) all contributed to Mississippi’s high overall ranking. More than 400 international companies enjoy the benefits of doing business in the Magnolia State, employing thousands of Mississippi residents.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Mississippi

Puerto Rico

Located in the heart of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico (Spanish for “rich port”) provides strategic access to global markets. It offers the security and stability associated with a U.S. jurisdiction. Its favorable business environment and tax incentives make it an attractive destination for businesses of all sizes—supported by a bicultural and bilingual workforce.

Its proximity to the U.S. makes Puerto Rico an ideal place to retire, enjoy a vacation home or investment property, or even work remotely. Explore how this U.S. territory can be part of your global business plan—whether you live on the Island or the U.S. mainland.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Puerto Rico

Virgin Islands

Three main islands—Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas—comprise the core real estate market in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Tourism, trade and other services account for nearly 60% of the USVI’s GDP and abouthalf of civilian employment. The diversity of the islands, cultural history, climate and year-round recreational activities combine to make USVI a global investment destination, supported by attractive business incentives.

Within this tropical paradise are global real estate opportunities for REALTORS® who live there and those on the U.S. mainland and elsewhere.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in U.S. Territories
The U.S. Department of Commerce reports on U.S. territories as a whole, grouping the U.S. Virgin Islands with American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

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