NAR Region XII Local Market Assessments: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington


Alaska's ties to the global economy date back to the late 1700s when locals engaged with Russian and Chinese fur traders. The sale of natural resource commodities to world markets has been an economic driver ever since. Today, the state's major international exports are seafood, minerals and ores, and petroleum—collectively accounting for more than 90% of the state's exports.

An action plan outlined in the Alaska Statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) five-year economic development plan for 2022-2027 seeks to improve the resilience of the state's economy and lay a foundation for future growth. Within the plan lay opportunities for global entrepreneurs and investors—and for REALTORS® who support associated commercial and residential property needs.

Infographic: Top Countries of Origin of Immigrants in Alaska


Idaho was the second-fastest growing state between 2010 and 2020, adding nearly 275,000 residents—a 17.3% increase. Many new residents come from outside the United States or identify with a specific ethnicity. The state's growth creates global real estate business opportunities across all sectors.

Idaho's low taxes, skilled and educated workforce, limited regulation and efficient and reliable infrastructure are attractive to foreign investors. Throughout its history, the state has undergone several economic transitions. Once dominated by fur trading and lumber, manufacturing, agriculture and mining drive today's economy. Over 70 million U.S. customers are within an 800-mile radius of Boise.

Infographic: Top Countries of Origin of Immigrants in Idaho


Montana is often characterized by its vast expanses of land, earning the moniker "Big Sky Country." Although it's the third-largest U.S. state, it has a relatively low population density. Rich deposits of minerals and metals drove Montana's early economy. Although Montana is still largely dependent on natural resources, the state's expanding service sector adds diversity—in both business and the profile of residents—helping attract corporations drawn to the state due to its high marks for business-friendliness.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Montana


Oregon's multi-faceted business environment creates opportunities for REALTORS® looking to add or expand a global component to their business strategy. The state's national resources—historically an economic driver—are now just one part of a diverse trade ecosystem that has transitioned to service industries and manufacturing. The counties around Portland have attracted a growing tech industry. Its high ranking for innovation and technology in CNBC's 2023 "Top States" report reflects the presence of some of the world's cutting-edge technology leaders in the state, creating new opportunities for global investment and trade.

Oregon's infrastructure—including its commercial ports—and position on the U.S. Northwest coast make the state ideal for trade with Asia.

Table: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Greater Portland, Oregon


Located in the Northwest corner of the continental U.S. on the Canadian border, Canada is equal distance between Europe and Asia, making it well-positioned to move products worldwide. Its greatest export, however, may be technology innovation. Nearly 60% of all services exported by the state are technology-related.

Washington's population grew nearly 15% between 2010 and 2020, helping drive steady annual GDP growth and making it attractive to half a million businesses, including high-profile brands such as Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, Nordstrom, REI and Starbucks. Washington is also among the top 15 states in the country whose immigrant population has grown 15% or more in recent years.

These are just a few factors that attract foreign investors and represent global business opportunities for REALTORS® in Washington.

Pie chart: Top Sources of Foreign Direct Investment in Washington

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