NAR Region XI Local Market Assessments: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming


Arizona is a beautiful and diverse land, offering tranquil desert retreats in the south and pristine forests and wide mountain ranges in the north. It may be best known as home to the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world stretching across more than 270 miles of the Colorado River.

In a state where only 18% of the land is privately owned, Arizona is brimming with global connections and opportunities, consistently ranking among the top four U.S. states for international investment.

Pie chart: Origin of Foreign Buyers in Arizona


The Colorado lifestyle is known to be equal parts laid-back, progressive, and active, which is at least part of why two Colorado cities are in the top five of the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report's Best Places to Live. Between the 2010 and 2020 Census, Colorado's population grew nearly 15%, twice the rate of the rest of the nation. Most growth occurred in urban centers and surrounding suburban areas. Agents who stay on top of the changing demographics will have a competitive edge in attracting the new business that comes with it.

The 2020 Census Diversity Index rose 6.2% from 2010. Colorado's Asian population increased by 44% during this period, and its Hispanic and Latino populations grew by nearly 22%. This diversity creates opportunities for multicultural business.

Table: Institutions in Colorado With the Highest Number of Foreign Students


What makes Nevada unique? For starters, consider its geography and climate. Nevada has more mountain ranges than any other U.S. state. While its mountains offer excellent ski options, Nevada also happens to be the driest state, with average annual rainfall under 10 inches.

Its skies may lack precipitation, but Nevada has more hot springs than any other state, with more than 300 occurring naturally. You'll also find an abundance of gold, silver and other minerals under ground. In fact, while Nevada is called the Silver State, it is actually the nation's largest producer of gold (84% of U.S. production in 2019).

Even though the federal government owns and manages roughly 85% of Nevada's land, the state's two biggest economic centers—Las Vegas and Reno/Sparks—are teeming with innovation, growth, and global opportunities.

Bar graph: Top Countries of Origin of Immigrants in Nevada in 2018

New Mexico

New Mexico brings together a proud Spanish and Native American heritage that can be felt throughout the state. It is home to one of the oldest continuously settled communities in North America, the Taos Pueblo. It is a land with nearly untouched ski areas, a place that treasures old values and traditions—and a region poised for growth.

Immigration is rising in New Mexico, but it may seem less apparent than in other states. Since 1990, the number of foreign-born residents has increased from 5.3% to 9.6%. Immigrants from Latin America make up the largest percentage at 75.1%, up from 69% in 1990. The number of arrivals from Mexico dwarfs that from any other country of origin. Because New Mexico was once part of Mexico, however, recent immigrants share the same language and cultural heritage, easily blending into existing communities. Other countries of origin include the Philippines (3%), India (2%), Germany (1%) and Cuba (1%).

In 2018, some 350 international employers had operations in New Mexico, employing 18,000 workers. Of these, 20% are in the manufacturing sector. Among all international employers, companies from the UK, Canada and Germany support the largest number of jobs in New Mexico. From 2009 to 2019, New Mexico's FDI employment increased 19%, more than double that of the state's private-sector employment.

Compared to other states, it can be more difficult to find international real estate transactions in New Mexico—but that's only if you don't know where to look. Globalization is showing its impact in several niche markets and will likely continue to grow, especially along the state's southern border. The Department of Commerce reports that 18,800 U.S. jobs were directly supported by majority foreign-owned affiliates in 2021 in New Mexico. France, Canada, Germany and Spain were the top sources of FDI in the state.

Map: Trade Activity Along New Mexico Border


Eager to attract growth, Utah has hung out an “open for business” sign to both domestic and international investors and corporations. Working together, the state government and business community have propelled Utah onto the worldeconomic stage. As a result, Utah exported over $17.7 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2020, and the state grabbed a nice share of foreign direct investment flowing into the U.S. In 2021, Seek Capital named Utah the number one state to starta business based on various factors, including that venture capitalists invested $1.16 billion in 101 Utah-based companies in 2019—the fifth-highest total among all states. For a decade, Forbes has ranked Utah among the top three best states for business, including six times in the number one spot. In 2021, U.S. News & World Report and WalletHub  ranked Utah the nation's best economy, and Forbes named it the best state for GDP growth. Such economic distinctions attract foreign investor interest. The UK, Australia, Sweden and Germany ranked as the top sources for FDI in Utah in 2021.

If you're based in Utah, you'll find that many global opportunities can be pursued in the state's internationally-involved economy. Read the full report to discover seven ways to identify and take advantage of this global activity.

Table: Sampling of Foreign-owned Companies in Utah


Wyoming is a land of rugged beauty, dominated by mountain ranges in the west and high plains in the east. The Rocky Mountains cover more than a third of the state. The government owns almost half the land, but plenty remains available to investors—largely at affordable prices.

Traditionally, Wyoming's top industry has been mineral extraction, especially coal, oil, natural gas and trona. It's the number one coal producer in the U.S., supplying 40% of the nation, and is home to the world's largest deposit of trona, supplyingabout 90% of the nation's soda ash. Looking to the future, Wyoming also ranks high in emerging and renewable energy sources, including wind.

Travel and tourism is another key industry, along with agriculture. Farm and ranch land investing is increasingly popular and can be a valuable investment. Livestock represents 86% of the state's total agricultural receipts, with 78% attributable to beef and calves. Hay is the top crop in Wyoming. Other leading crops include sugar beets, barley, dry beans and wheat.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Wyoming

Download the full report

Local Market Assessments

These state-level case studies can help you learn to identify and cultivate global business, a growing real estate specialty in the U.S.